3634 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 11, 2006 2:37 PM by llaxton
My two month old MacBook Pro decided yesterday to
become very slow in opening applications, and as of
today it is stalling during the start-up phase. I
had re-installed operating software before stalling
began. My primary concern is the new sound coming
from the left side of the keyboard. It sounds like
the hard drive is hung up. The indicator (under the
Apple) shows that it's trying to boot, but without
moving beyond this point. Any assistance will be
I have als done the extended hardware test several times with "no trouble found."
Assuming there isn't something more troublesome, maintenance may be indicated as suggested by Hatter.
Kappy's Personal Suggestions for OS X Maintenance
For disk repairs the best third-party utility is Disk Warrior. DW only fixes problems with the disk directory, but most disk problems are caused by directory corruption. However, DW is not yet compatible with Intel Macs. TechTool Pro provides additional repair options including file repair and recovery, system diagnostics, and disk defragmentation. TechTool Pro 4.5.1 is Intel Mac compatible.
OS X performs certain maintenance functions that are scheduled to occur on a daily, weekly, or monthly period. The maintenance scripts run in the early AM only if the computer is turned on 24/7 (no sleep.) If this isn't the case, then an excellent solution is to download and install a shareware utility called Macaroni that will automate the maintenance activity regardless of whether the computer is turned off or asleep.
OS X automatically defrags files less than 20 MBs in size, so unless you have a disk full of very large files there's little need for defragmenting the hard drive. As for virus protection there are few if any such animals affecting OS X. You can protect the computer easily using the freeware Open Source virus protection software ClamXAV. Personally I would avoid most commercial anti-virus software because of their potential for causing problems.
I would also recommend downloading the shareware utility TinkerTool System that you can use for periodic maintenance such as removing old logfiles and archives, clearing caches, etc.
For emergency repairs install the freeware utility Applejack. If you cannot start up in OS X, you may be able to start in single-user mode from which you can run Applejack to do a whole set of repair and maintenance routines from the commandline.
When you install any new system software or updates be sure to repair the hard drive and permissions beforehand. I also recommend booting into safe mode before doing system software updates.
Get an external Firewire drive at least equal in size to the internal hard drive and make (and maintain) a bootable clone/backup. You can make a bootable clone using the Restore option of Disk Utility. You can also make and maintain clones with good backup software. My personal recommendations are (order is significant):
1. Retrospect Desktop (Commercial - not yet universal binary)
2. Synchronize! Pro X (Commercial)
3. Synk (Backup, Standard, or Pro)
4. Deja Vu (Shareware)
5. Carbon Copy Cloner (Freeware - not universal binary.)
6. LaCie SilverKeeper (Freeware - not universal binary)
7. RsynchX 2.1 and PsyncX 2.2.1 (Freeware)
You can perform full backups (only) using the Restore option of Disk Utility.
Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQs on maintenance, optimization, virus protection, and backup and restore.
Additional suggestions will be found in Mac Maintenance Quick Assist.
Referenced software can be found at www.versiontracker.com and www.macupdate.com.
In the future please post questions about MacBook Pros in the MacBook Pro forum. This is the Mac Pro forum (different hardware.)
Do the following:
Repairing the Hard Drive and Permissions
Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. Then select Disk Utility from the Installer menu (Utilities menu for Tiger.) After DU loads select your OS X volume from the list on the left, click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer. Now shutdown the computer for a couple of minutes and then restart normally.
If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior (3.0.3 for Tiger) and/or TechTool Pro (4.5.1 for Tiger) to repair the drive. If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X. Note that Disk Warrior will not work on Intel Macs.
A seriously corrupt directory can prevent booting even from CD/DVD. Sounds like time to "put on ice" and be sure to backup first, and hopefully get to a point where you can just ERASE WITH ZEROS and then proceed to a fresh clean install and restore/merge of your files.
My first line of defense, outside of backups; an emergency boot drive; a copy of Drive Genius and/or TechTool Pro... would be to boot with Command + s which is also called Single User Mode, and at the prompt, follow the on-screen instructions to run "/sbin/fsck -fy" and see if it can repair the drive.
Install OS X on an external FW drive if possible.
You may need to pull the internal drive if it really is in serious trouble, even to repair or erase it. Make sure it has airflow and is elevated and takes steps to allow it to run cooler.
There are 2.5" FW drive cases, and there is a universal adapter for $30 to allow at least a USB2 connection to a "bare" drive.
I have relatively the same problem...the system not booting up and that low level "trying to start" sound from what I suppose is the hard disk. But if I use the Option key, the sound keeps going but I get the bootable disk choice for Mac or Windows and everthing boots OK after that. It just won't boot all the way without the intervening Option key route.