5 Replies Latest reply: Apr 10, 2011 5:20 PM by CTS
CTS Level 2 Level 2 (200 points)
I've noticed increasing instability on my iMac. Most applications work fine, but when I shut down, often many applications will refuse to--and I'm prompted to "force quit" them, one by one. This happens with Word, Seesmic, iTunes, Address book, browsers--across the board.

Word seems to be the most unstable. It actually works fine, for the most part, but even during ordinary use I will often get the message that the application is not responding when I click on the icon. Usually I can use drop-down menus to keep on working--creating new files, and so on. But still it must be force-quit at the end.

Often when I have a number of windows open, the system will take a long time to respond to requests, delaying a "close window" command by 30 seconds, for example (with spinning ball).

I've repaired permissions, including booting from the OS X disk. I've also run repairs using diskwarrior, and inspected the hardware.

How can I troubleshoot and fix this cross-application instability?

iMac Alum 20", Core 2 Duo, 2GHz, 3 GB / Macbook (2010), Mac OS X (10.6)
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,790 points)
    Use SuperDuper along with what you do now.
    Add a Test user account on new clone of your system.

    It does sound like corrupt prefs and cache files though as well as the chance of still having a directory or bad sectors.

    I am a strong proponent of the SuperDuper plus Disk Warrior for system maintenance.

    As for Word/Office, possible but I'll leave that to others.

    And of course if you could really have two internal drives, system alone and 2nd for data or full user account so much the better. Newer iMacs can have an SSD and MacSales will add SATA or eSATA controller now ($169, in house) for iMacs.

    But if you have FW800 that could do the trick perhaps.
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (164,325 points)
    Sometimes such problems can be solved by booting in safe mode (shift key down at startup), then rebooting as usual. This causes some system caches to be rebuilt that can slow things down if they become corrupted.
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,790 points)
    MacFixit had an article comparing Safe Mode vs fsck/SUM vs running DU (and DU does get updated to the point that a DVD is not always current or ideal). The results? fsck was more effective in repairing system directory than safe was.
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (164,325 points)
    +fsck was more effective in repairing system directory than safe was.+

    That would be very strange, because the safe-boot procedure includes fsck.
  • CTS Level 2 Level 2 (200 points)
    I've tried the safe-mode reboot. It will take a day of real work to see if things are smoother in general, though the problem with Word persists.

    How would Super Duper help? It seems to create backups. I already use Carbon Copy in addition to Time Machine, so I'm not sure what that would add. Does Super Duper have disk-repair functions as well?