Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: May 16, 2012 8:06 PM by toadc
Snowy511 Level 1 (0 points)



I have recently been having a problem with my laptop: while I am using it, it randomly logs me out. This means it quits all applications, which is getting pretty irritating as I am working on a big project!


Here are the specs:

MacBook Pro 15" 2.2 GHz

Intel Core 2 Duo

6 GB memory

320 GB capacity HD (with 30 GB of that free)

4 years old (bought in January 2008)


Please note: the system preferences are *NOT* set to log me out after any period of inactivity — and anyway, it happens while I am working, typing, etc.


I thought it perhaps could be due to the RAM upgrade I did, but I did that about 6 months ago, and this problem just started happening over the last month or so. Now it is happening several times a day.


Any ideas what the problem could be??



MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • R C-R Level 6 (17,375 points)

    If you are logged out, you should be returned to the log in screen. If this isn't happening, you probably aren't being logged out. If all of your open apps quit unexpectedly, you should be getting notices about that.


    Please describe more completely what is happening so we can help you find the cause of your problem.

  • Snowy511 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry, I should clarify — it *does* return me to the log in screen. I was just saying that it quits all applications because I wanted to highlight the fact that I've lost unsaved work (and that it's not just going to sleep). Thanks!

  • Rick Wall Level 1 (5 points)

    Wow.  I literally just had the same thing happen to me on basically the same computer.  Only difference is mine was bought in February 2008 and it has 4 GB RAM not 6 GB.  Would love to get an answer on this!


    I was just Googling it and have found one person who suggested the computer was low HDD space and was trying to write to virtual memory and ran out of space.  Not sure if that really makes sense, but I have been thinking my HDD is dangerously full. 


    Are you working on anything that's pretty intense?  I was working on video editing.

  • sanjampet Level 5 (7,760 points)

    sounds like you might have memory problem, as video consumes tons. You might want consider an external drive. All the video guuys use them

  • Rick Wall Level 1 (5 points)

    I think I need to just get a bigger internal drive.  I'm only using iMovie which I don't think is built for working on external drives, but I could use  a new one.


    If Snowy is having the same problem as me, then right in the middle of something the screen will flash light blue and then show the startup space background before displaying the full login menu.  When you log back in, it's just like restarting and none of the programs or documents you were working on are open.


    Does that sound right Snowy?  Were you working on video or using a program that might have been using a lot of computer power?

  • Snowy511 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, Rick, the exact same thing happens for me!


    It's been happening sometimes when I'm running just a browser (albeit with many tabs open), a word processor and maybe one other program ... I work mostly with text, so no big loads of video or anything. The programs I'm often running are:

    - Chrome

    - Nisus Writer Pro

    - Mendeley

    - DevonThink Pro

    - Scrivener

    ... but sometimes it happens when only a couple of those are running.


    I upgraded my internal hard drive a while ago to 320 GB, and I only have 30 GB free now, so not sure if that could be part of the problem?  Or is it possible that I upgraded my RAM or my hard drive "too much" and my processor is having a hard time handling it? I have no idea if that's possible...

  • Rick Wall Level 1 (5 points)

    I don't know what it is.  I'm pretty sure our Macbooks are allowed to go to 6 GB though so I doubt that's the problem.  I'm also not sure about the HDD either.  I've  had my computer filled  to only 2 GB left before instead of the 30 GB free now and nothing happened so I don't know how the HDD could really be the problem either.  I will try importing files into iMovie again and see if I get logged out like before.


    How many times has this happened to you and when did it start?

  • sanjampet Level 5 (7,760 points)

    go to disc utilities, repair permissions.

    Then verify disc, if after the disc verification there is a message in red, click repair disc. If there is a red messageafterdisc verification and repair disc is geryed out...bad drive

  • Snowy511 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi sanjampet,


    I repaired permissions, and then verified disk and it told me the volume "appears to be OK"... so I guess it's not the drive then.


    Rick, I can't remember exactly when it started happening, but it's only been happening with frequency over the past 3 weeks or so... it might have happened once or twice before then, but I didn't really notice it as a recurring problem until the past few weeks. And this week it has been even worse, logging me out a few times a day...

  • sanjampet Level 5 (7,760 points)

    There could be a bug in the software.


    do you still have your original install disc that came with your Mac?



    If you do power off the Mac put the disc in the slot power up the Mac push in the disc and hold down the "C" key as soon as you hear the chime. Keep holding the C key till the gear stops spinning.


    This will reinstall the OS leaving all your data in place. You will then have to do a software update.


    Some of your preferenes migh have to be reset.If the problem still persist, I would look at third party software.

  • Snowy511 Level 1 (0 points)

    I do have the original install disc, so I will try reinstalling the OS tomorrow... but I don't have the Snow Leopard disc with me here, so will I be able to upgrade back to 10.6 without it?


    Thanks for your help, Sanjampet!

  • sanjampet Level 5 (7,760 points)

    you have to have the original install disc that came with the computer then update everything

  • Rick Wall Level 1 (5 points)

    Try resetting your PRAM before all of this. I believe you hold down control-option-p-r while right after you turn on your computer. One of my friends said that solved the problem for him.


    Also, I believe if you reinstall from your original disk with OS 10.5 then you will definitely need the Snow Leopard 10.6 disk to upgrade afterwards if that's what your asking about. Unless I'm misunderstanding something, there's no way you'd be able to update to 10.6 via free update download after reinstalling 10.5. You need the Snow Leopard disk too I think.

  • Snowy511 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Rick — I will try that. Did you try, and if so, does it seem to have worked?


    Yes, that's what I suspected re: the Snow Leopard disc... well I will try resetting PRAM first. Thanks!

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