Back up your documents and everything else important to you, not that there is any reason to believe your hard disk may be failing, but the symptoms you describe may presage an impending disk failure, and you should have backups anyway.
Boot OS X Recovery by holding ⌘ and r (two fingers) while you start your Mac. At the Mac OS X Utilities screen, select Disk Utility. Select your startup volume (usually named "Macintosh HD") and click the Repair Disk button. Describe any errors it reports in red. If Disk Utility reports "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK" in green then you can be reasonably (though not completely) assured your hard disk or SSD is in good working order.
How can I check:
what apps are running
what is in my start up
To answer those questions and help determine the possible causes of this behaviour read the following. None of what follows is intended to fix anything, but it will provide the additional information required to advance troubleshooting:
Apple Support Communities contributor etresoft wrote a very useful app to quickly gather certain system information that may help point to a cause of this problem. Read about it here. It contains a link to download EtreCheck. Don't download it from anywhere else (such as may be found by following the results of an Internet search).
Click Open - etresoft contributes to this forum frequently and can be considered a trustworthy developer.
It will take a moment to run as it collects its data.
Copy and paste its output in a reply.
Do not be concerned about anything that says "Problem" or “failed” or anything else that may appear in red.
EtreCheck was designed to remove any personal information (such as your computer's name and serial numbers) but if you see anything that looks like an email address or any other personal information that should not be divulged to others, please delete or obscure that information when you post the reply.
When you are finished with EtreCheck, quit the program. It occupies very little space, and you can keep it or drag it to the Trash as you wish.
After completing the above please determine if the problems also occur in "Safe Mode":
- Safe Mode or "Safe Boot" is a troubleshooting mode that bypasses all third party system extensions and loads only required system components. Read about it: Starting up in Safe Mode
- You must disable FileVault before you can start your Mac in Safe Mode.
- Starting your Mac in Safe Mode will take longer than usual, graphics will not render smoothly, audio is disabled on some Macs, and some programs (iTunes for example) may not work at all.
- Merely starting your Mac in Safe Mode is not intended to resolve the problem, it's to observe its performance without certain additional components.
- To end Safe Mode restart your Mac normally. Shutdown will take longer as well.
System performance problems for reasons that cannot be isolated to any other cause justify an SMC reset. Be sure to read the procedure carefully and follow all the steps exactly as written, even if they seem inapplicable or trivial.
was thinking of
a) using cleanmymac
Don't do that unless you want bigger problems. Never install such junk on a Mac.
Moving photos to another volume is a good idea from a backup perspective but it is not likely to be contributing to the problems you describe.
First trying the Etresoft suggestion as it seemed like anything obvious wuold be revealed there....see anything interesting?
iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2010)
iMac - model: iMac11,2
1 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3 CPU: 2 cores
4 GB RAM
ATI Radeon HD 4670 - VRAM: 256 MB
Mac OS X 10.7.5 (11G63) - Uptime: 5 days 21:30:59
WDC WD5000AAKS-40V6A0 disk0 : (500.11 GB)
disk0s1 (disk0s1) <not mounted>: 209.7 MB
Macintosh HD (disk0s2) / [Startup]: 499.25 GB (369.89 GB free)
Recovery HD (disk0s3) <not mounted>: 650 MB
Apple Inc. BRCM2046 Hub
Apple Inc. Bluetooth USB Host Controller
Apple Internal Memory Card Reader
Apple Inc. Built-in iSight
Apple Computer, Inc. IR Receiver
[System] com.adobe.fpsaud.plist 3rd-Party support link
[System] com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper.plist 3rd-Party support link
[System] com.barnesandnoble.nookconnect.plist 3rd-Party support link
[System] com.citrix.AuthManager_Mac.plist 3rd-Party support link
[System] com.citrix.ServiceRecords.plist 3rd-Party support link
[System] com.kodak.BonjourAgent.plist 3rd-Party support link
User Launch Agents:
[not loaded] com.adobe.ARM.[...].plist 3rd-Party support link
[not loaded] com.kodak.KODAK AiO Firmware Updater.plist 3rd-Party support link
[not loaded] com.kodak.KODAK AiO Software Updater.plist 3rd-Party support link
[not loaded] com.macpaw.CleanMyMac.helperTool.plist 3rd-Party support link
[not loaded] com.macpaw.CleanMyMac.trashSizeWatcher.plist 3rd-Party support link
[not loaded] com.macpaw.CleanMyMac.volumeWatcher.plist 3rd-Party support link
User Login Items:
Flip4Mac WMV Plugin: Version: 18.104.22.168 3rd-Party support link
FlashPlayer-10.6: Version: 22.214.171.124 - SDK 10.6 3rd-Party support link
JavaAppletPlugin: Version: 14.9.0 - SDK 10.7 Outdated! Update
AdobePDFViewerNPAPI: Version: 10.1.9 3rd-Party support link
AdobePDFViewer: Version: 10.1.9 3rd-Party support link
Flash Player: Version: 126.96.36.199 - SDK 10.6 3rd-Party support link
QuickTime Plugin: Version: 7.7.1
CitrixICAClientPlugIn: Version: 11.5.0 - SDK 10.6 3rd-Party support link
SharePointBrowserPlugin: Version: 14.2.2 - SDK 10.6 3rd-Party support link
iPhotoPhotocast: Version: 7.0 - SDK 10.8
iSightAudio: Version: 7.7.1 - SDK 10.7
Quartz Composer Visualizer: Version: 1.3 - SDK 10.7
User Internet Plug-ins:
Unity Web Player: Version: UnityPlayer version 2.6.1f3 3rd-Party support link
3rd Party Preference Panes:
Flash Player 3rd-Party support link
Flip4Mac WMV 3rd-Party support link
FUSE for OS X (OSXFUSE) 3rd-Party support link
Time Machine not configured!
Top Processes by CPU:
Top Processes by Memory:
229 MB Safari
193 MB iTunes
123 MB Mail
94 MB mds
70 MB WindowServer
Virtual Memory Information:
1.65 GB Free RAM
1.26 GB Active RAM
577 MB Inactive RAM
539 MB Wired RAM
496 MB Page-ins
0 B Page-outs
Completely uninstall CleanMyMac per these instructions.
You need to update all of your third party software if there are OS X Mavericks updates that can be applied.
You may need to go the third party developers' websites if there are no updates through the Mac App Store.
Update all of your Web browser Internet plugins, extensions and add-ons, also.
Especially, update the Telestream Flip4Mac video plug-in to the most recent version available.
After all this is complete, restart your Mac.
I was under the impression that you were contemplating installing CleanMyMac, not that you already installed it. Following the developer's instructions linked above will result in one or more CleanMyMac components remaining installed, despite what its developer claims.
One of the consequences of installing such garbage is that its uninstallation instructions are ineffective at completely removing all its components. Reinstalling OS X will accomplish that, nor will it undo the effects of having used it.
In an abundance of caution I recommend erasing your Mac completely and rebuilding it from the ground up, or restoring it from a backup created prior to installing CleanMyMac. To do that read OS X Lion: Erase and reinstall OS X.
Do not reinstall the junk.
I had used CleanMyMac years ago and remnants remain. And when I run my log, I see it still active.
So. Never having done the erase and build from scratch before, just wondering if there is a best practices guideline for this. For example:
Preferred backup and what to backup i.e. Photos, music, docs but no programs?
I see the instructions on how to rebuild
Distinguishing junk from not-junk - I don't recognize some of the plug-ins listed
Any optimization since I'm starting from scratch like rebalancing (yes probably the wrong word) partition and space
Lastly, do you or any other experts make house calls? (I'm scared)
Thanks for your patience and diligence with this level of question
Preferred backup and what to backup i.e. Photos, music, docs but no programs?
The Apple Support documents I linked above contain all the relevant details, but for your own satisfaction ask yourself what you would do if all the information on your Mac suddenly became irretrievably lost. If you can answer that, then you're OK. If not, then use Time Machine to back up its entire contents. Time Machine is part of OS X so you already have it. It works unobtrusively and is best suited for those who don't have the time or inclination to decide what to back up and when to do it. Time Machine backs up your entire Mac's contents by default.
The following Support document explains how it works and how to restore your essential files from a Time Machine backup: Mac Basics: Time Machine backs up your Mac
The minimum you need to obtain is an external backup hard disk drive of sufficient capacity. A 1 TB USB hard disk drive can be purchased for as little as $70. Once Time Machine has completed a backup, you will be in position to erase and reinstall OS X according to the above instructions.
Note that many users prefer to have more than one backup option to recover from the unfortunate and rare event in which their one and only backup becomes unreliable, or they simply make an error in restoring from that backup, unintentionally erasing both copies of something important. So consider buying two backup disk drives, but the extent to which you value what's on your Mac is yours to decide.
On that subject I wouldn't trust anyone to do the work for you, in the same sense that I wouldn't trust any so-called "cleaning" utilities to decide what files, programs, or components of programs can be safely deleted. Your Mac is a very personal device. Like your purse, only you should decide what to put in it, and what you can safely throw out. No one should make those decisions for you. It's easier if you're careful about what to put in it to begin with.
Thanks John - Got the 1TB USB hard drive. Started Time Machine yesterday 4:10PM. Estimated time 7 days. This morning, it's completed 17.81 Gb of 126.11 GB now estimates 4 days. Allow it to continue i.e. is this normal or should I abort and attempt an alternate route? Thanks in advance for your help.
The initial Time Machine backup can take a long time, however only 17.81 GB in over twelve hours is unusual for a directly connected drive. If you were backing up to a Time Capsule over wireless, 7 days might be possible, but you're using USB, so I agree something is not right.
Post the Console log entries you believe may be relevant. They are likely to hold a clue. Your internal hard disk may have errors, which would explain the problem you initially indicated. If it is, the system.log entries will show repeated instances of "disk0s2: I/O error". The "0s2" part may be different.
The need to back up your system becomes even more critical if its disk is on its way out. Nevertheless, I suggest you let Time Machine continue its task. The time estimates can be wildly inaccurate. It began with 7 days, but the next morning it was down to 4, and it may complete in less than a day. Still, it should not take that long though, and even if it finishes the backup may not be reliable.