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MAC Book Air & Pinwheel

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:09 am
by Gary Velie
My Macbook Air is having a delay problem. Every time that I initiate any action, i.e. scroll up or down, click, try to close an open application, etc. I get a pinwheel for about 5 seconds before the action takes place. It is very frustrating because it is like working in slow motion. HELP

Re: MAC Book Air & Pinwheel

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:35 pm
by Stephen Hart
Have you tried restarting?

Does it behave the same way when plugged in or on battery?

How full is your hard drive? (Open Applications > Utilities >Disk Utility and check there.)

Re: MAC Book Air & Pinwheel

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:21 pm
by Gary Velie
Yes, I have tried restarting. Yes it behaves the same whether plugged in or on the battery. There are 52 GB used and 67 GB available.

Re: MAC Book Air & Pinwheel

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:41 am
by Stephen Hart
Try this:
Start up Activity Monitor (yourharddrive > Applications > Utilities)

Make sure App Processes is chosen in the drop-down on the upper right.
Click %CPU to sort processes. Each click switches the sort order. You want the most CPU-hungry at the top.

If you see any big numbers in that column, especially when the Mac is essentially idle (no huge Excel spreadsheets calculating, no Photoshop filters working), not what the process name is.

Don't be surprised if you don't recognize some of the process names. Those are parts of the operating system.

If nothing is using up a huge percentage of CPU, then I'd turn to the hard drive.

The first step would be to use Disk Utility to verify the drive. If that turns up anything, then you'll have to start up with an external drive to repair the directory.

If Disk Utility doesn't show anything, you'll need third-party apps.
DiskWarrior can replace the directory, fixing some errors that Disk Utility can't.
SMART Utility will show you if the drive has been mapping out bad sectors, an indication that the drive is in "pre-fail" mode.

Re: MAC Book Air & Pinwheel

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:28 am
by JerryFreilich
Gary. Stephen's approach is very sound and I would follow his logic. A brief explanation is that the goal is to find out if there are background processes (i.e., ANYTHING going on in the background and invisible to you) that could be taking the computer's attention away from you. There are actually many of these background tasks that most people are unaware of and tracking them down can be tricky. In the case of the Air (which I don't know much about) could it be related to the fact that it's "looking" for some external disk, disk drive, or other machine which it cannot access? The Air uses wireless connections to this and that and so shutting off all of those things or eliminating them would be another good detective step.

Here's another idea that I frequently suggest to people with issues like this. Do you have another user login on this computer? If so, does this slow-down occur in that other login? Very often it will not! Which points conclusively to something in your own user configuration. If you don't have an extra or "dummy" login, you should create one and try it. (Go to System Prefs --> Users & Groups. There is a column of "User Accounts" on the left in a box. Click the + sign below that column to Add a new user account). The extra or dummy user account is a very valuable troubleshooting concept because many computer issues turn out to be related to the specific configuration a user has set up.... or events that are underway in your user account that you were unaware of. Let us know how it shakes out.