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My mac had turned slow and buggy - I did a reinstall.

After a couple of attempts I succeeded with a "blank" install. I thought it was working fine but now the problems from before keeps popping up:

  • Finder not responding and not showing any files
  • Disk utility not responding
  • Dock freezes after I've tried to use one of the first two applications

Please provide assistance on how to get my Mac to run properly again. I've done a few permission repairs but even if verifying permissions shows up with faulty permissions and I do a repair afterwards, I still have problems with finder etc. Where do I go from here?


Exerpt from system.log:

Jan 11 06:34:59 new-host-3 [0x0-0x67067].com.apple.systempreferences[575]: launchctl remove error: No such process
Jan 11 06:34:59 new-host-3 [0x0-0x67067].com.apple.systempreferences[575]: launchctl remove error: No such process
Jan 11 06:34:59 new-host-3 [0x0-0x67067].com.apple.systempreferences[575]: tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors.
Jan 11 06:35:27 new-host-3 AddressBookSourceSync[617]: Error, could not create MachMessagePort for com.apple.AddressBook.abd
Jan 11 06:35:38 new-host-3 AddressBookSourceSync[617]: Error, could not create MachMessagePort for com.apple.AddressBook.abd
Jan 11 07:04:18 Jane-Noesgaard-Larsens-MacBook-Pro applepushserviced[623]: <APSCourier: 0x7fdf9ba0d640>: Stream error occurred for <APSTCPStream: 0x7fdf99d221a0>: The operation couldn’t be completed. Socket is not connected
Jan 11 07:04:18 Jane-Noesgaard-Larsens-MacBook-Pro applepushserviced[623]: <APSCourier: 0x7fdf9ba0d640>: Stream error occurred for <APSTCPStream: 0x7fdf9b815400>: The operation couldn’t be completed. (kCFErrorDomainCFNetwork error 2.)
Jan 11 07:09:22 new-host-3 mds[34]: (/.Spotlight-V100/Store-V2/4F667D9F-8447-4427-B05A-E9E886D0043D)(Error) IndexPath in openReverseStore:Successfully recovered from shadow with state d00d0dd0
Jan 11 07:09:23 new-host-3 fseventsd[42]: failed to make the directory /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/.fseventsd (5/Input/output error)
Jan 11 07:09:23 new-host-3 mds[34]: (Error) Volume: sysctl_queryfs failed: Invalid argument
Jan 11 07:09:24 new-host-3 mds[34]: (/)(Error) IndexSDB in page_cache_deserialize_entries:Unexpected EOF in page cache preload; got 0 bytes at offset 0
Jan 11 07:09:30 new-host-3 UserEventAgent[11]: [11] error in getAndLockContext: open returned -1 (errno=2)  file was /private/var/servermgrd//servermgr_certs.lock
Jan 11 07:09:36 new-host-3 applepushserviced[52]: Unable to bootstrap_lookup connection port for 'com.apple.safaridavclient.push': unknown error code
Jan 11 07:09:36 new-host-3 applepushserviced[52]: Unable to bootstrap_lookup connection port for 'com.apple.iCalPush': unknown error code
Jan 11 07:09:50 new-host-3 WindowServer[99]: kCGErrorFailure: Set a breakpoint @ CGErrorBreakpoint() to catch errors as they are logged.

As I wrote I've just reinstalled the machine - of cause I made a backup first.

I just ran the hardware test utility on my application DVD. No trouble reported. I'll take a look at the system log (located above).


Update: Problems are less evident when running Snow Leopard, Finder doesn't show external hard drives (USB) though disk utility does.

The laptop will be picked up for service today and in about 10 working days I'll know if they found any hardware related errors - will post here when I know anything new

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Run /Applications/Utilities/Console.app and check system.log.

Look especially for entries that say something like disk4s3: I/O error. If you see that, then your hard drive is failing.

Since you did a re-install, I assume you have everything backed up. If not, try to cool the computer down as best you can, either by raising the fan speeds or even putting a cold pack under it, and perform a backup.

The following article has detailed instructions for how to limp the drive along or possibly restore it: Hard Drive Recovery. But if you already did a clean install and are still seeing I/O errors in the logs, it is most likely not recoverable.

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Looking at the syslog excerpt above, I don't see any drive I/O errors, but that's a very small excerpt. You'll want to look at all the entries around the time you last noticed the problems and look for ones with "kernel", "disk", and "I/O error". Also note that most hardware test utilities are based on S.M.A.R.T. diagnostics which, in my experience, always claim the drive is fine. I've had SMART return "okay" on a drive that had it is cover off and I could see the platter was not even spinning. –  Seth Noble Jan 11 '12 at 20:17
    
I searched for the word "error" - no I/O errors werepresent as far as I could see –  noesgard Jan 11 '12 at 20:43
    
The next suspect with be a bad connection somewhere, hopefully a cable and not on the motherboard. Unplug everything you can. Has anything changed on the system recently? New RAM or hard-drive? What type of system is it? How old? –  Seth Noble Jan 11 '12 at 21:32
    
Laptop 14 months old - no new components. Everything except power and a USB dongle for a mouse has been unplugged –  noesgard Jan 12 '12 at 5:27
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This potentially sounds like you could have a faulty hard-drive. Without being near the machine it's difficult to diagnose, but if Finder, Disk Utility and Dock are freezing it's probably when your machine is trying to access a file on the hard disk and failing. Try a Verify from the Disk Utility 'First Aid' screen. If you can hear a clicking sound coming from your hard drive it could be an indication of a hardware fault. If you have an alternative hard drive you could try using, see if you get the same symptoms.

One last thing - make sure you have an up-to date backup! If the drive does fail you'll want a backup handy. I'll assume you have a backup because you said you just did a blank install.

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Couple of questions - when your computer freezes, are you still able to move the mouse but everything else is frozen? Also, what model Mac do you have?

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Macbook Pro 15" - and yes mouse moves fine - ofter the busy icon is shown and I can't shut down unless I use the power button fysically –  noesgard Jan 12 '12 at 5:28
    
Definitely sounds like a disk issue. Depending on the generation of your machine, it could also be related to the SATA cable that connects your machine's hard drive to the logic board. It's relatively common for Mid 2009-Mid 2010 models to exhibit the same symptoms of failing hard drive and for it to be the cable. I would recommend getting a backup of your data as soon as possible and taking a trip to the Apple Store for a diagnosis. They'll be able to pop a new cable in there to see if that resolves the issue without charging you. –  Matt Love Jan 12 '12 at 13:33
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