7 Replies Latest reply: Nov 9, 2011 5:51 AM by jdtoyou
jdtoyou Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

A several times a week my screen just freezes and requires me to hold down the power button to shut it off and power it back on.  I could be typing, watching a webinar or the screensaver might be going and the computer just freezes.  I've had the machine for about 2.5 years.  I was hoping it might be software related maybe from the Lion upgrade or maybe a remnant of an app I had deleted a while back.  I wiped my hard drive and did a clean install of Lion.  I manually added back all apps and didn't use anything from Time Machine.  The drive isn't making any noises and isn't running hot.  Not sure what is could be?



MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.2)
  • TheSmokeMonster Level 4 Level 4 (3,230 points)

    try an SMC reset but first try these:

    Before Resetting the SMC

    Try each of the following steps in this order before you reset the SMC.  Test the issue after completing each troubleshooting step to determine if the issue still occurs.

    1. Press Command + Option + Escape to force quit any application that is not responding.
    2. Put your Mac to sleep by choosing the Apple () menu from the upper-left menu bar and then choosing Sleep. Wake the computer after it has gone to sleep.
    3. Restart your Mac by by choosing the Apple () menu from the upper-left menu bar and then choosingRestart.
    4. Shut down your Mac by by choosing the Apple () menu from the upper-left menu bar and then choosing Shut Down.

    If your Mac appears to be running normally but isn't responding, force the computer to shut down by pressing and holding the power button for 10 seconds. Note: You will lose any unsaved work in any open applications.For Mac portables experiencing issues related to the MagSafe power adapter and/or battery, try:

    1. Unplug the MagSafe power adapter from the Mac and the wall power socket for several seconds.
    2. Shutdown the Mac. Physically remove and re-insert the battery (if it's removable) and startup the Mac.

    If the issue is still not resolved after following the troubleshooting items above, an SMC reset may be necessary.




    if you told us the model number of your machine I would be able to tell you which SMC reset to do. assuming you have one with a battery door that you can remove without unscrewing anything, then do this one:


    Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC)

    Resetting the SMC on Mac portables with a battery you can remove

    Note: Learn about removing the battery on MacBook and MacBook Pro.

    1. Shut down the computer.
    2. Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer, if it's connected.
    3. Remove the battery.
    4. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
    5. Release the power button.
    6. Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.
    7. Press the power button to turn on the computer.

    source: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3964

  • jdtoyou Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I tried that before I went to the trouble of re-formatting the HD and doing a fresh install of Lion and all my apps.  It didn't work when I tried it then.  I doubt it would work now?

  • TheSmokeMonster Level 4 Level 4 (3,230 points)

    then it must be one of the apps if you really did a clean install of Lion and have also done an SMC reset.


    have you also tried a PRAM reset?


    PRAM http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1379

  • jdtoyou Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I really did do a clean install of Lion.  I did the SMC reset before I did the clean install, hoping that would solve the problem.  It didn't so I went ahead with a clean install of Lion.  I'll try the PRAM reset now.  Would an SMC reset after a clean install do anything?


    I don't think it's one of the apps, I don't even have that many.  I bought my Macbook pro in Jan/Feb of 2009 and it has been trouble free with until the intial upgrade to Lion.  Maybe about a week later, I started having the problem.

  • TheSmokeMonster Level 4 Level 4 (3,230 points)

    Let us know how the PRAM reset works out for you. Both the SMC and PRAM resets are generally harmless and will just reset everything that they are a part of, basically back to factory settings. This would mean, any changes to power handling or anything like that you did when you started using it will need to be checcked out and just changed to how you wanted it.


    For instance, and I don't think this could purtain to you, but I have my Energy Saver settings to better performance instead of better battery life. The SMC reset will reset this setting back to better battery life.


    But again, let us know how it goes.

  • jdtoyou Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I tried the PRAM reset and will follow up in a week or so to give an update.  Thanks for the tip, I hope it works and I'm freeze free

  • jdtoyou Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    BTW, I JUST saw this when reading about the GFXCardstsus app (I don't have this installed yet). I had my power settings at better battery life previously and now have it switched to higher performance.


    Apple’s recent MacBook Pro models boast battery life that’s so much better than their predecessors’ that casual users may not worry about finding ways to conserve energy. With three or four hours of real-world use between charges, plenty of juice is available for visits to a coffeeshop, many domestic airline flights, or untethered work away from a desk.

    However, if you plan to be away from power for longer stretches, or if your battery indicator dips into the low double-digit percentages, battery conservation becomes much more top-of-mind. You can extend your MacBook Pro’s battery life by taking advantage of the system’s capability to switch between its integrated and discrete graphics processing units (GPUs). More specifically, you can use Cody Krieger’s free gfxCardStatus to force your laptop to use its battery-sipping integrated GPU.

    Some quick background: All 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models from 2010 and later, as well as 2008 and 2009 models outfitted with an Nvidia GeForce 9400M/9600M GT, dynamically switch between a low-power (and lower-performance) integrated Intel graphics chip and a power-hungrier (and better-performance) discrete Nvidia or AMD graphics card, based on the needs of running applications. The problem is, some applications you wouldn't think need a lot of graphics power actually rely on features such as OS X’s Core Animation that require the discrete graphics card. So even if you’re working from battery power and trying to minimize battery usage (by turning down screen brightness, for example), you may still be using discrete-graphics-card cycles—and, thus, more energy.

    The only way to make sure you’re using the integrated GPU is to quit applications that rely on the discrete GPU, since OS X doesn’t let you choose to stick to the latter. The Energy Saver pane of System Preferences lets you disable the Automatic Graphics Switching option, but doing so actually forces the computer to use the discrete GPU, an option that drains the battery even faster.



    The solution is gfxCardStatus, which runs as a systemwide menu. The menu’s icon reveals, at a glance, which GPU is in use: i for integrated or d for discrete. You can also configure gfxCardStatus to display aGrowl notification whenever the GPU changes.

    By watching for these changes, you can get a better idea of which tasks cause your MacBook Pro to use the power-hungry GPU. But the most valuable part of gfxCardStatus to me is that its menu lists which specific running apps are dependencies, or using discrete graphics, so I can quit them when I need to eke out more time from the battery’s charge.

    If you’re especially worried about battery life, gfxCardStatus lets you force the issue by choosing Discrete Only or Integrated Only from the utility’s menu. The former is simply a shortcut for disabling the aforementioned Automatic Graphics Switching setting; the latter actually forces apps to use limited resources, as if the apps were running on a Mac, such as the 13-inch MacBook Pro, with only an integrated GPU.

    Before using the Integrated Only option, though, make sure you quit all applications listed under Dependencies, as some programs don’t take kindly to having the expected GPU pulled out from under them. In my testing, BusyCal 1.6, for example, wouldn’t advance the month correctly, and Twitterrific froze my machine. Restarting BusyCal fixed the problem, and it turns out the program offers an optional setting to not use Core Animation. I had to reboot my Mac following the Twitterrific stall, but otherwise nothing else was harmed.

    (It would be nice if gfxCardStatus popped up an optional alert warning that using only the integrated GPU can cause problems, so folks not paying attention—or writers deliberately playing with fire in the name of science—don’t get burned.)

    If you’re regularly off the power cord, you can also have gfxCardStatus automatically choose integrated, discrete, or dynamic GPU modes based on whether your MacBook Pro is running from battery or AC power. However, I admit to being leery of this feature, since, for example, a dependent application could be using discrete graphics when your MacBook Pro goes to sleep, but be limited to integrated graphics when the computer wakes up. I prefer to see which applications I should temporarily quit (or for which I should find alternatives that support dynamic switching).

    The battery gains from using only integrated graphics depend on which applications you use, but I estimate I get about 20 percent longer battery life on my MacBook Pro by closing dependent apps when working off battery power. And it’s sort of fun to watch OS X’s menubar battery indicator increase its charge and time estimates when my MacBook Pro settles into integrated graphics.