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I had to do a couple of hard resets (holding power button until it shuts off) because MacOS became unresponsive.
Now it's happenning every time, when opening a pdf with preview, or apps that used to work fine, now hang up with the beach ball and never come back, and some times the whole finder hangs.
It looks like something got corrupted because I made some clean restarts and it keeps happening, other than reinstalling MacOS, is there something that I can do to try and fix this?

Specs:
MacBook with intel core duo, 2GB memory
MacOS 10.6.7 still using the original factory install (plus updates) from about a year and a half

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Any helpful error messages in the Console? (/Applications/Utilities/Console.app) –  Austin May 9 '11 at 20:02
    
wooooooooooow, you just introduced me to a new world :D I'll take a lool at it and let you know. Thanks! –  Petruza May 9 '11 at 21:14
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You're welcome! You should also try repairing permissions (/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.app, select your hard drive, and under the First Aid tab click "Repair Disk Permissions") on the off chance that helps with your problem. –  Austin May 9 '11 at 21:22
    
Damn it's repairing tons of file's permissions. Is this normal? do permissions get corrupted often? –  Petruza May 10 '11 at 15:15
    
I wouldn't say that they become corrupted "often", but it's certainly not uncommon. I'm not at all surprised that you have a lot of corrupted permissions if you haven't repaired them in a year and a half. Did it help with your problem? If not, was there anything helpful in the Console? And how much free space do you have on your hard drive? –  Austin May 10 '11 at 15:39
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2 Answers 2

I gotta say, this sure sounds like failing hardware. Namely your Hard Drive. Another tool I would suggest you add to your swiss army knife is S.M.A.R.T Reporter. It runs as a small icon in your menubar, and alerts you (turns red, specifically) if any of the SMART Self-Tests fail.

S.M.A.R.T is a self-test mechanism that has existed on pretty much every hard drive for years now. It measures things like drive temperature, number of cold starts, spin ups, spin downs, and the number of sectors marked explicitly bad. The S.M.A.R.T article on Wikipedia is a good read if you're interested in more detail.

I will also continue to emphasize one detail in Harv's answer.

BACKUP YOUR DATA!

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don't worry, Time machine takes care of that every hour to an external drive. –  Petruza May 18 '11 at 18:02
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Run disk utility on your hard-drive. Inspect the disk for problems, repair if necessary, and re-run a verify to make sure it passes. It may give you a hint about needing to boot into single-user mode - if that's the case follow the instructions carefully.

Backup your data.

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Emphasis on: Backup your data. Backup your data. BACKUP YOUR DATA! –  Jason Salaz May 16 '11 at 20:08
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