MacBook problem

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bill black
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MacBook problem

Post by bill black » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:22 am

My granddaughter's MacBook is having significant startup difficulties, that is, as much as 40 minutes. The computer is about 20 months old and operating on OS 10.6.8.

I have done the following (not all at one time, of course):
Repaired disk permissions
Zapped the PRAM
Run Disk Warrior
Run TechTool Pro

After each of the above operations the startup times were reduced to as little as 90 seconds. However, at each subsequent startup the time increased by minutes. By the way, the battery is fully charged and during all the checks I have been using ac power.

Are we toast?

Bill

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Jay Cline
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by Jay Cline » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:59 am

First thing I would do is completely backup the hard drive.

If the computer were mine I would initialize the drive and install a new system. After a few days of testing with the new system and normal startup times I would then migrate old files back.

What did diskwarrior say about the condition of the hard drive?

To me it sounds like the HD will be failing soon. Does your granddaughter have AppleCare?
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Stephen Hart
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by Stephen Hart » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:51 am

I'll echo Jay's comment. I'd be suspicious of the hard drive. It kind of sounds like the OS can't read a necessary file. At what stage does it hang up?
And, does the DiskWarrior report say anything like progress is slow because of problems reading from the disk?

If you have an external drive, try starting up with that drive. The startup time might be a tad slower with an external than an internal, but should never be anywhere near as long as you report. If the MacBook consistently starts normally with the external drive, that'd point a finger at the health of the internal drive.

If the external does work well, I'd follow Jay's advice and clone, then try a reinstall of the OS followed by Migration Assistant to reinstall the user from a clone.

But I'd worry that the drive is beginning to fail mechanically. Luckily, replacing the hard drive is one of the cheapest and easiest fixes for hardware problems. As the MacBook isn't that old, I'd also suggest maxing out the RAM, also easy to do. If you go that route, I'd install the OS from scratch, then use Migration assistant.
Last edited by Stephen Hart on Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JerryFreilich
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by JerryFreilich » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:49 pm

And another, always VERY USEFUL trick, is to create a dummy log-in.... i.e., a blank, new user account .... and see if the problem exists in that new login. Many times it does NOT which tells you that the problem is something in your configuration, rather than the hard drive itself.

bill black
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by bill black » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:47 am

Thanks for all the suggestions. I have tried all of them but I still have a slow startup that becomes longer with each attempt.
Disk Warrior does not indicate a hard drive problem and the preferences were repaired. In fact, neither Disk Warrior nor TechTool did anything but a little indecipherable cleanup.
Nothing specific differed when I used the dummy log-in. Right at this moment the gray Apple logo has changed to a circle with a diagonal slash, i.e., like a "do not enter" symbol. Haven't seen that one before. The little wheel is spinning nicely.
Since David no longer handles internal hardware, I think I will take the unit to PT Computers to see what they have to say. Hopefully it is only the HD.
Thanks again for the suggestions.
Bill

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Jay Cline
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by Jay Cline » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:23 am

If that circle with the slash through it shows and you try to insert the OS installer DVD and it gets spit back out you likely have logic board issues. If the computer will still boot from the OS installer DVD the problem is likely the hard drive.

Call PT computer first to see if they have the time to work on it.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by Stephen Hart » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:48 pm

Wait. 20-months old? Is the MacBook still under AppleCare?
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Richard Serkes
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by Richard Serkes » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:25 pm

The OP didn't say anything about having AppleCare. The standard warranty is one year so that's expired. These repairs are going to be out of his pocket I'm afraid.
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8string
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by 8string » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:08 pm

I'd take it to PT Computers if you can afford to.

Some additional thoughts:
Are you running an anti-virus program?
I assume you already ran Disk First Aid?
Hopefully the OP bought at least a 2 year Applecare. It's worth the money.
If you were able to run the computer successfully off an external drive, then the internal drive is failing.
First try reformatting the drive after backing up all your data.
Given the timing, this could be the Trojan everyone is talking about.
You can check to see if your machine is infected, see the post I made on this about it and go to the F-secure web site to run the terminal based lines to see if you are infected.
If you are, make sure to suspect that your backup is corrupted.

Good luck.

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Stephen Hart
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Re: MacBook problem

Post by Stephen Hart » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:09 pm

Did this problem get solved? Inquiring minds want to know!
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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