7 Replies Latest reply: Jul 29, 2010 5:27 PM by Bruce Bathurst
Sufilizard Level 1 (0 points)
I have a 17" MacBook Pro with 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo and 1 GB or RAM. I'm running 10.4.1. A couple of months ago it started freezing up several times a day. It just stops whatever's going on and the cursor doesn't move, the clock stops - everything.

I've tried all kinds of troubleshooting - including zeroing out the hard drive and reinstalling everything.

It is a little bit better now, some days it goes all day without freezing, but other days it acts up like before. What else can I do?

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.4.1), 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo - 1 GB 667 MHz RAM
  • K Shaffer Level 6 (11,890 points)
    Use the utility, Activity Monitor, to see if some problem may be due
    to a need to install more chip RAM into the computer; since it will
    often show there, in how the current level of resources are used.

    Also, the hard disk drive may be worn as it gets older, they all do.
    Could be the drive may stand to be replaced, probably with one of
    more capacity and better specs, as supported by the computer.

    If you copy/cloned most of the same files back into the computer
    that had been there prior to using disk utility from booted install
    disc to secure-erase or zero the hard disk drive, then use Partition
    map GUID, followed by reformat in HFS+, the drive capacity would
    still be compromised with what could still be too much stored on it.

    Archiving user-created works to an external partitioned drive, where
    some libraries of music and/or images may be accessed, could free
    up some of these kinds of files, if set up & maintained that way.

    How is the battery and charging health of that part of the computer?
    Some power issues can result in a freezing activity. You can usually
    see several kinds of activity in the system logs, between those located
    in System Profiler> software, and those found in Console's various
    locations, they may show something in regard to the causes of freezing.

    And, you may be able to run some tests using the included Apple Hardware
    Test, when booted into the test, that's on the original software disc.

    Narrowing down a cause of various computer freezes is a matter of trouble-
    shooting; finding a cause and effect relationship between symptoms & the
    kinds of log files generated by the computer may help. There also is another
    possibility, in that such a freezing may be related to heat. Either graphics or
    computer processing units may be running hot, for whatever reason, and if
    there is excessive heat that can't be dissipated that may cause a freeze.

    So, there a few probable causes for the symptom you refer to.
    Good luck & happy computing!
  • Sufilizard Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks K.

    It does seem to run kind of hot so I installed an app that's supposed to speed up the fan. But I still seem to have the freezes.

    I moved all of my files to an external networked hard drive to keep my onboard hard drive freed up for just the application files. And when I reinstalled software, I went right from the disk instead of from backups so I wouldn't recreate a damaged file or some kind of malware.

    I'll try the activity monitor to see if I can figure out what's happening. It doesn't seem to be caused by one particular app - I usually use Firefox and OpenOffice and some of the Adobe Creative Suite apps. But it doesn't seem to matter which app I'm using at the time of the crash.

    Thanks for the feedback.
  • Bruce Bathurst Level 2 (330 points)
    Temperature Monitor is free: it creates graphs and gives audio warnings. I use it (with an ice pack) when burning DVDs. (Normally, I place my laptop on four little blocks or, preferably, a brass, legged cup coaster from India. You can judge the temperature of a PowerBook by touching the thin steel just in front of the screen.

    Large applications, such as those you mentioned, often require a lot of juggling virtual memory (for it also must run all those little processes in activity monitor). The processor will run hot if your disk is too full or needs de-fragmenting. Try this, and see whether your processor heats when running large applications:

    Temperature Monitor

  • K Shaffer Level 6 (11,890 points)
    When using Temperature Monitor in some Apple Portables who also have
    a temperature widget installed, you may have to choose which item you
    want to represent the temperature indications, and turn off the other one.
    Same in some Apple desktop computers, in my experience with both.

    I've found the iStat Pro's temperature meter to be in conflict with some of
    my Mac computers when using the app Temperature Monitor, so I have
    turned off the iStat's temperature section. Not sure why a conflict in these
    exists, but in some of my (four) computers, this was the case. However, in
    a later OS X version (run mine in 10.4.11) or perhaps in an Intel-based Mac
    this may not be a consideration. But if that is an unknown, it's worth a check.

    Thanks for the input...
    Good luck & happy computing!
  • Bruce Bathurst Level 2 (330 points)
    K. Shaffer,

    Thanks! I always disable my Dashboard, so I didn't know that. (When I turn on Temperature Monitor, I have it display temperatures in the dock, and keep a graph.)

  • K Shaffer Level 6 (11,890 points)
    The use of a widget by the name DashQuit can stop the Dashboard
    and its family of active widgets from using any system resources if
    they are quit this way; and one can simply re-launch Dashboard to
    use the widgets there, again. Some methods of disabling widgets
    are a bit of trouble for those who may not wish access terminal or
    another means of minimizing the impact on system resources the
    Dashboard and its widgets may add. I use DashQuit to disable it.

    Contributing factors which can generate heat due to excessive or
    intensive use of the computer's software, and hardware components
    have to be monitored; and when someone is pushing the device to
    a limit or thinks they may, it can be handy to be ready ahead of time.
    I've found as a computer gets older, things run slower; so I have a
    clone of the entire computer contents and can restore the Mac from
    a bootable external FW HDD enclosure; and then use appropriate
    tools to make best use of the free space and wiping out old data on
    the drive. Plus, making the clone gives me a bootable backup.

    Since rationing or carefully considering system resources can be
    important when they are either lacking from the outset, or may be
    pressed into a near-failure state due to overtaxing reserves, short
    of handicapping the system, in some cases a tool can be helpful.

    Dashquit: (appears this will work for OS X 10.4 - to 10.5.8)

    Developer site shows separate Tiger & Leopard version links:

    While not directly related to the main issue as presented, most of
    the items in a computer can indirectly relate to overall performance.

    Good luck & happy computing!
  • Bruce Bathurst Level 2 (330 points)
    Spiffy! I'll take it!

    The Dashboard had some nice uses at times, just not enough times to keep running.

    Mine's a budget system. If I don't burn discs with my Quicksilver, it takes two ice packs to burn a double-layered DVD with the PowerBook.

    I should probably 'max out' the RAM on the PowerBook, but the additional heat worries me. I normally run it extremely conservatively (Better Energy Savings), with an inch of ventilation beneath it.

    Backup & archive

    I've two terms I use frequently: backup & archive. Often I wish I, too, had taken a snapshot of my system just after building it. However, now I use a backup program to daily copy passwords & bookmarks (&c) to a LaCie key. Photos, Movies, Music, I archive to optical media and pop these in when needed. Finished projects go to DVD-RWs for a while, then the important parts are archived to DVD-Rs (with a LightScribe label).


    If I need just a file from last week or month, it's in the Trash or a DVD-RW project holder. If I need a catastrophic restore, that requires just a new clean install and backup restore. (Now that 10.4 applications are disappearing, I'm archiving the app.dmg to DVD-RWs or DVD-Rs, which removes one more log file from the backup.) Small is beautiful.


    In contrast to many, I believe in good maintenance; which includes using iDefrag to minimize movement of the disk head. (I would use a file-by-file backup & restore, if I made one.) I also use anachron, and 'Onyx' monthly, when I'm not using the computer.

    (I used to enjoy tuning automotive engines, so I guess this makes up for that.) In any case, keeping computing resources optimized, so as not to stress the computer is, I think we both feel, like preventative medicine. There are many ways of keeping one's computer unstressed.


    I like the concept of owning a desktop and a laptop. The stressful tasks are left to the desktop, and the laptop moves about. Finished projects are copied to the desktop when done.

    I'm also toying with the idea of assigning all security & mailboxes to the Desktop, stripping these stressful tasks from the family's laptops. 'Firefox' has sufficient security for browsing when away from one's LAN. Web mail exists.

    The point we're both making is that there are many ways of reducing the stress on your (high quality) hardware; and that can reduce health problems in the future.

    Just some thoughts,