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ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

The ball keeps appearing, upto a few times daily with rarely time to close applications and allow more resources to whichever may need them before the system apparently locks up.


This started several weeks ago and I'm not using more memory intensive or processor intensive applications than I usually do and I appear to have sufficient memory and disk space.


The problem occurs systemwide and even hours of inactivity is an insufficient cure. Eventually "pulling the plug" is the only solution.


I always use the Disk Utiltity after such shutdowns and frequently use the "MacJanitor" application.


There are many threads posted re this problem, but circumstances certainly dictate different solutions.


Thanks in advance for suggestions.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.4.9), 4GB RAM
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (120,935 points)

    Very Important, how much Free Space is on your Hard Drive first of all? Click on the Macintosh HD on the Desktop, then do a Get Info on it.


    One way to test is to Safe Boot from the HD, (holding Shift key down at bootup), run Disk Utility in Applications>Utilities, then highlight your drive, click on Repair Permissions, Test for action in Safe Mode...


    PS. Safe boot may stay on the gray radian for a long time, let it go, it's trying to repair the Hard Drive


    Reboot, test again.


    If it only does it in Regular Boot, then it could be some hardware problem like Video card, (Quartz is turned off in Safe Mode), or Airport in 10.4 & below, or 3rd party add-on, Check System Preferences>Accounts>Login Items window to see if it or something relevant is listed.


    Check the System Preferences>Other Row, for 3rd party Pref Panes.


    Also look in these if they exist, some are invisible...







  • ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks, BDAqua.


    Before I start with your list: 465 GB and 221GB free.


    BTW, you suggest looking for something relevant... what should I be looking for?



  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (120,935 points)

    Well first, let's see  if it beachballs in Safe Mode or not.

  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (46,965 points)

    Useful article here on the causes of the Spinning Beach Ball and how to troubleshoot it:


  • ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    So far no beachballs in safe mode.


    I have removed these from 3rd party preference panes:

    Mac-SwapperDemon - appears to be a phone application. I don't know what it's for, but maybe left over from when      I tried a 3-G USB stick a few years ago when travelling (always crashed) the Mac - literally!

    Deja Vu

         A backup utility which I don't use.


    I have not found anything else that is obvious to me.



  • ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I don't want to speak too soon, but today has been a beach ball free day running in normal mode.


    It might be a combination of removing the unnecessary tools & being aware of the root problem. WIth the Activity Monitor now running constantly, I'm amazed to see how taxed the system is just working on normal tasks.


    I'm going to tackle my propensity / working style of having 50-60 browser tabs open at any one time.


    Thanks all around  

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (120,935 points)

    Great to hear, good work so far!

  • ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Ok, today, Monday was a normal day again and no problems in normal mode.


    I left for maybe 3 hours. When I returned Mail has received many emails but when I tried to delete one everything locked. Strangely though the activity monitor seemed to be working at only 20-25% CPU usage.



  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (120,935 points)

    See if the Disk is issuing any S.M.A.R.T errors in Disk Utility...


  • ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    No errors. Smart verification is OK.

  • ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I was travelling, so little laptop had less use.


    Now back to business and this problem raises its head once more. If the laptop is left switched on and unused for a longer period of time it locks up (beachball spinning).


    SMART disc still working well.


    Any futher ideas where I should be looking next please?

  • ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Please help. Problem still not solved and system crashing several times daily.


    I have discovered the following apps running when I check the Activity Monitor. All of them show "PowerPC" in the "kind" column, however I'm running an Intel:


    In standard start mode:





    In secured start mode:



    Are these a cause for concern?



  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (120,935 points)

    You might try removing QuickBack, but have you opened Console in Applications>Utilities & looked for messages when it's lleft to beachball?

  • ontravel Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks, BDAqua.


    Strangely I cannot find QuickBackBackgro or "QuickBack" anywhere on my system. It is loaded though and is currently using 424k real memory and 105MB of virtual memory.


    Can you point me in the right direction please?

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