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Has anyone received any confirmation of this defect from Apple?
I must confess that I haven't raised it as a defect simply because it's so uncategorisable - I figured I'd follow this discussion for a while and see what common elements there were before making a defect report. We're months on now and there are no common elements!
I still suspect that accessing certain parts of certain disks causes driver spinlocks. This supposition was strengthened when I just bought an iPad and my first sync tried to sync ALL my applications to the iPad. This included an application I no longer sync to anything and whose data on disk would never ever be seeked otherwise any more. Guess what - the beachball showed up for minutes at a time explicitly when iTunes was trying to sync that one specific file. I stopped that app syncing to anything and the hangup has gone.
Following on from my supposition that the defect is in accessing certain parts of my hard drive, I decided to test this theory.
splat:~ neil$ strings ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Music/Mobile\ Applications/Bobby\ Carrot\ Forever.ipa
<lots of output>
HANG! With exactly the same symptoms as the beachball - i.e. every other process started to beachball when asked to access disk.
The weird thing is that /bin/strings crashed, which means that there is a driver error causing the user-side apps to error / fail.
The best thing about this is that I hope I've isolated this in one file which I can make sure is never seeked, so it doesn't affect my use of this machine.
Writing up a defect report now, with a REPRODUCEABLE use case in it.
Allan Eckert wrote:
Apple does NOT check these forums for problems. These forums are user to user. If you wish to let Apple know about a problem used feedback.
Message was edited by: Allan Eckert
No, Allan, I believe it's incorrect to say that Apple does not check these forums for problems. According to Apple's own description, there are Apple employees who focus on passing along information obtained from these forums to the appropriate technical departments within Apple.
Here's a portion of the description of the forums from Apple, describing the forum personnel:
"Apple Hosts — Hosts are Apple Employees who focus on gathering technical feedback that will be forwarded to the appropriate Apple group. They also help identify possible content for Apple's Knowledge Base and, when possible, they correct erroneous information in the forums. Hosts will also attempt to maintain proper decorum in the discussion forums. Due to post volume and other factors, Hosts may not respond promptly, or at all, to these discussions."
However, while Apple does seem to pay attention to these forums, which seems like a smart business approach, it's not very likely that an Apple employee will respond by posting here.
"Following on from my supposition that the defect is in accessing certain parts of my hard drive, I decided to test this theory."
So, you have a faulty harddrive, faulty filesystem or just a one corrupted file? How this helps the rest of us? =)
It's unbelievable how poorly OS X 10.6.3 performs with 2GB of memory (or 1.75GB actually, 9400M takes the 256MB) in just a normal everyday use with Safari and etc. "Free Memory" runs down very fast with just surfing around, and after that starts heavy swapping/paging - the memory pager does it's job very poorly. iFreeMem helps a little bit, but it's not a solution. And I don't think changing to 4GB isn't either, there will be time when 4GB isn't enough and after that there's still this poor and slow memory managment/paging left... =(
Message was edited by: thobie
Mach/Darwin uses up free memory as fast as it can - it's designed to. If it didn't you would have a very slow machine indeed.
Your cynicism is somewhat deserved and I should explain:
I believe a defect exists where an incompatibility between Apple's hard disk drivers and certain physical drives causes the driver code to erroneously be unable to read certain parts of the physical drive and to hang the disk bus. This causes all processes to hang in disk wait until the bus is reset, causing the beachball for several minutes that is common to the defect this thread describes.
I have a similar problem. When I click a sub-menu it freezes. For ex. when I click on the airport drop down to change networks it freezes and I can't change networks. Also most of my applications like system preferences and preview will close automatically and I will have to 'reopen' several times. Thanks for any help!
P.S. I tried to download 6.1 and it said that my system didn't have the right configurations
Hard drive hang on specific file
I have also seen this for mounted drives. I think it must be a re-try forever loop in the driver and it can occur on mounted drives too. It can eventually cause a cascade of other processes hanging.
The problem is previously undetected media errors. I have encountered it on USB hard disks and on freebie USB flash drives (example: a conference giveaway 1GB flash USB with a logo printed on it; since I had 2 fail on me in the past year, I stopped using free ones altogether.)
As drives capacities keep increasing, this kind of problem will happen more often. I think it is a serious bug that the driver retries forever. On a mounted drive, disconnecting the device does not break the loop (I saw that in OSX 10.6.3) and a hard shutdown is needed.
Apple was planning on adding ZFS from Sun to address this problem, but it was not included in Snow Leopard for unknown reasons. ZFS is open sourced and 5-6 years old now; it has "RAIDz" and error detection for all files, and if I list everything it has, this would sound like a commercial, so I won't... (I'm just a happy user with 10TB Opensolaris box that can handle 2 drive failures without loss.))
How to determine which file was causing the hang:
* If Finder hangs during a copy, then using Activity Monitor to inspect Finder for Open Files and Ports can help narrow it down.
* Try copying suspected files with command line "tar cvf - /path > /dev/null" (where /path is the path to the directory which has a problem file, possibly in a subdirectory). This will list files as they are read, so if a hang occurs, the problem file is the last one it outputs.
If the problem is in an OSX file, rebooting to single user mode and using the above tar command might work.
Have any of you tried the following? That's what I would do.
Try using Disk Utility to do a Disk Repair, as shown in this link, while booted up on your install disk.
You could have some directory corruption. Let us know what errors Disk Utility reports and if DU was able to repair them.
Then Repair Permissions.
It's like an expert's answer, I learned a lot from what you said.
I've been getting the freeze mainly with Mail. I shut it down, and wham, everything starts failing but I can't force quit anything, it all just stops and I have to hold the power button for five seconds to turn off the mac.
After that, I get this grey screen with a loading bar that has to finish doing something first before the os actually boots up.