6 Replies Latest reply: Feb 24, 2013 9:41 AM by Mike Sombrio
reb276 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

My son has 2009 Macbook white version and recently (last week or so) freezing all the time, cannot log on to internet, and shuts down every 10-15 minutes. Is there a download (free hopefully to clean it up for any spyware or maleware). He is a student and very busy in University and cannot be without the computer?

  • Mike Sombrio Level 6 Level 6 (13,645 points)

    The problem is not spyware or malware. Have your son run Disk Utility, it in Applications - Utilities, and check the SMART status of the hard drive. Does your son have his computer backed up? Does he have the original install discs that shipped with the MacBook?

  • reb276 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I will talk to him today...he lives out of town...will for sure get him to do a backup...how do you do this??? He likely knows...and what if he does not have the original discs as it was 4 years ago any substitutes.

  • Mike Sombrio Level 6 Level 6 (13,645 points)

    He will need something to back up onto like an external hard drive. The disks are necessary if the hard drive needs to be repaired, you can't repair the boot volume so you need to start up from an install disc and run Disk Utility from there. When you talk to him have him resettle SMC and pram, sometimes unexpected shutdowns can be corrected that way. The freezing is another issue, I'm concerned with the health of his hard drive. Another thing to ask when you talk to him is how much total space and how much free space does his hard drive have?

    To reset the SMC


    MacBook and MacBook Pro 

    Laptops with a battery you can remove 

    Shut down the computer.

    Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the computer, if it's connected.

    Remove the battery.

    Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.

    Release the power button.

    Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.

    Press the power button to turn on the computer.


    Newer Mac portables with a battery you don't remove

    Shut down the computer.

    Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

    On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

    Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

    Press the power button to turn on the computer.  

    Note: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.


    Resetting NVRAM / PRAM

    Shut down your Mac.

    Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.

    Turn on the computer.

    Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.

    Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.

    Release the keys.

  • reb276 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey Mike thanks so much for all the info......his girlfriend said it started to work better yesturday...he was running some kind of cleaning program I think...he also made mention that he had alot of downloads on it...movies and TV programs that he needed to get rid of....apparently over 600....so I think he was going to do that which obviously would give him more space....like most 20-somethings they use their laptops for everything....I will let him know what you said about resetting the SMC and the PRAM...may be back in touch....thanks!!  Does he need to do a back up before he resets these....does he need something like Time Capsule or can he just back up onto memory sticks.....

  • Mike Sombrio Level 6 Level 6 (13,645 points)

    The are several different backup strategies, he has to pick the one that's best for him and one that he'll follow. Backing up using Time Machine either to a Time Capsule or an external disk drive is an ideal situation because you don't need to remember to do it, it works on it's own once it's set up. In addition to that I also keep an external drive handy that I can make a bootable clone of my entire hard drive on. Backing up to flash drives would be cumbersome in my mind but if there's no other way at least he could have a backup of at least his important files doing it that way.

    As far as resetting the SMC and pram his files wil be safe, he doesn't need to back up first. Something for him to remember is that OS X needs about 20% of the total hard drive space to be free, when you start exceeding 80% of your total hard drive capacity you asking for trouble. Maybe that was the root of his current problems.

  • Mike Sombrio Level 6 Level 6 (13,645 points)

    Anther thing....the cleaning program.....OS X doesn't require such a thing, some people still insist on using them because they sound like a good idea, but in reality not so much. If the cleaning program he used is MacKeeper he has more trouble than he bargained for. MacKeeper is useless, invasive and generally bad news, besides that it's a bear to get uninstalled. If that's what he used let me know and I'll point you to instructions of how to get rid of it.