I have a four year old MacBook Pro with 8 GB of memory. Two years ago I upgraded the hard drive to an SSD. It has been working very reliably, only needing a restart every few months.
Then I updated to Mac OS 10.9.5, and I immediately started having problems with applications hanging, usually while launching. Some app icons will bounce in the Dock for a few minutes, then stop bouncing and they will show "Application Not Responding" when I right-click the icon. Other apps will launch and run for a while, then suddenly hang when I am using them, showing the spinning beach ball icon indefinitely. Other applications are totally unaffected and work with no problems.
Nothing is written to the system log when the applications hang. When I force-quit an application that hung before it finished launching, I don't get a crash report, and a line like this is written to the system log:
Failed to write crash history to file:///Users/arlo/Library/Application%20Support/CrashReporter/_8D064DB0-1D30-5A2E-AFBD-1EF47EA4FA1C.plist.`
When I force-quit an application that hung after it finished launching, I get a crash report like this, from Super Duper. Note that the "duration" shown in the crash report is 4.44 seconds, but the application was actually showing the spinning beach ball for about 10 minutes before I quit it:
Date/Time: 2014-10-06 21:05:47 -0700 OS Version: 10.9.5 (Build 13F34) Architecture: x86_64 Report Version: 18 Command: SuperDuper! Path: /Applications/SuperDuper!.app/Contents/MacOS/SuperDuper! Version: 2.7.2 (92) Build Version: 3 Project Name: SuperDuper! Source Version: 01167 Parent: launchd  PID: 4218 Event: hang Duration: 4.44s Steps: 43 (100ms sampling interval) Hardware model: MacBookPro6,2 Active cpus: 4 Fan speed: 5117 rpm Free pages: 114577 pages (+531) Pageins: 1689 pages Pageouts: 0 pages Swapins: 0 pages Swapouts: 0 pages Process: SuperDuper!  Path: /Applications/SuperDuper!.app/Contents/MacOS/SuperDuper! Architecture: i386 Parent: launchd  UID: 503 Task size: 4029 pages Thread 0x177893 priority 46 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 7461) [0x2d25] 43 NSApplicationMain + 1165 (AppKit) [0x987c2ff8] 43 -[NSApplication run] + 727 (AppKit) [0x987da15c] 43 -[NSApplication nextEventMatchingMask:untilDate:inMode:dequeue:] + 119 (AppKit) [0x987e7870] 43 _DPSNextEvent + 1602 (AppKit) [0x987e8349] 43 _BlockUntilNextEventMatchingListInModeWithFilter + 92 (HIToolbox) [0x9a4586bd] 43 ReceiveNextEventCommon + 163 (HIToolbox) [0x9a458777] 43 RunCurrentEventLoopInMode + 259 (HIToolbox) [0x9a458b5d] 43 CFRunLoopRunInMode + 123 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6984b] 43 CFRunLoopRunSpecific + 394 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c699ea] 43 __CFRunLoopRun + 1779 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6a353] 43 __CFRunLoopDoTimers + 349 (CoreFoundation) [0x92d2d06d] 43 __CFRunLoopDoTimer + 1395 (CoreFoundation) [0x92cb2863] 43 __CFRUNLOOP_IS_CALLING_OUT_TO_A_TIMER_CALLBACK_FUNCTION__ + 22 (CoreFoundation) [0x92cb2ea6] 43 __NSFireDelayedPerform + 422 (Foundation) [0x9399e53c] 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 63867) [0x1097b] 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 64409) [0x10b99] 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 64950) [0x10db6] 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 73294) [0x12e4e] 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 20352) [0x5f80] 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 19484) [0x5c1c] 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 21599) [0x645f] 43 ??? (SuperDuper! + 31578) [0x8b5a] 43 FSPathMakeRef + 47 (CarbonCore) [0x984c572f] 43 FSPathMakeRefInternal(unsigned char const*, unsigned long, unsigned long, FSRef*, unsigned char*) + 130 (CarbonCore) [0x985306cf] 43 PathGetObjectInfo(char const*, unsigned long, unsigned long, short*, unsigned long*, unsigned long*, char*, unsigned long*, unsigned char*, unsigned long*) + 203 (CarbonCore) [0x9851e067] 43 __getattrlist + 10 (libsystem_kernel.dylib) [0x92e71042] *43 hndl_unix_scall + 216 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80002f3e68] *43 unix_syscall + 471 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80006409a7] *43 getattrlist + 191 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80003c3baf] *43 ??? (mach_kernel + 1835607) [0xffffff80003c0257] *43 vnode_getattr + 119 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80003fc6f7] *43 afpfs_vnop_getattr + 92 (afpfs) [0xffffff7f8274ea99] *43 afpfs_lock + 89 (afpfs) [0xffffff7f82742ba0] *43 lck_rw_lock_shared_gen + 118 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80002d5766] *43 thread_block_reason + 204 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff8000235d5c] *43 ??? (mach_kernel + 223579) [0xffffff800023695b] *43 machine_switch_context + 354 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80002d8452] Thread 0x1778a6 DispatchQueue 2702260908 priority 48 43 _dispatch_mgr_thread + 52 (libdispatch.dylib) [0x971e6532] 43 kevent64 + 10 (libsystem_kernel.dylib) [0x92e72992] *43 ??? (mach_kernel + 3960080) [0xffffff80005c6d10] Thread 0x1778d9 priority 63 43 thread_start + 34 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x9064ecf2] 43 _pthread_start + 130 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x90649485] 43 _pthread_body + 144 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x906495fb] 43 __NSThread__main__ + 1426 (Foundation) [0x939a1126] 43 -[NSThread main] + 45 (Foundation) [0x939a11ce] 43 +[NSURLConnection(Loader) _resourceLoadLoop:] + 381 (Foundation) [0x939a1355] 43 CFRunLoopRunInMode + 123 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6984b] 43 CFRunLoopRunSpecific + 394 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c699ea] 43 __CFRunLoopRun + 1393 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6a1d1] 43 __CFRunLoopServiceMachPort + 169 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6abf9] 43 mach_msg_trap + 10 (libsystem_kernel.dylib) [0x92e6cf7a] *43 ipc_mqueue_receive_continue + 0 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80002167d0] Thread 0x1778db priority 46 43 thread_start + 34 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x9064ecf2] 43 _pthread_start + 130 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x90649485] 43 _pthread_body + 144 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x906495fb] 43 _NSEventThread + 283 (AppKit) [0x98991b88] 43 CFRunLoopRunInMode + 123 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6984b] 43 CFRunLoopRunSpecific + 394 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c699ea] 42 __CFRunLoopRun + 1393 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6a1d1] 42 __CFRunLoopServiceMachPort + 169 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6abf9] 42 mach_msg_trap + 10 (libsystem_kernel.dylib) [0x92e6cf7a] *42 ipc_mqueue_receive_continue + 0 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80002167d0] 1 __CFRunLoopRun + 2130 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c6a4b2] 1 __CFRunLoopDoSource1 + 523 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c79d7b] 1 __CFRUNLOOP_IS_CALLING_OUT_TO_A_SOURCE1_PERFORM_FUNCTION__ + 53 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c79e15] 1 __CFMachPortPerform + 440 (CoreFoundation) [0x92c79fe8] 1 MessageHandler(__CFMachPort*, void*, long, void*) + 52 (HIToolbox) [0x9a461726] 1 PullEventsFromWindowServerOnConnection(unsigned int, unsigned char, __CFMachPortBoost*) + 99 (HIToolbox) [0x9a4617bd] 1 CGEventCreateNextEvent + 39 (CoreGraphics) [0x901697cb] 1 CGSGetNextEventRecordInternal + 84 (CoreGraphics) [0x90169864] 1 CGSSnarfAndDispatchDatagrams + 167 (CoreGraphics) [0x90169a25] 1 _CGSGetPortStreamInline + 127 (CoreGraphics) [0x90169c6c] 1 mach_msg_trap + 10 (libsystem_kernel.dylib) [0x92e6cf7a] *1 ipc_mqueue_receive_continue + 0 (mach_kernel) [0xffffff80002167d0] Thread 0x1778fa priority 46 43 thread_start + 34 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x9064ecf2] 43 _pthread_start + 130 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x90649485] 43 _pthread_body + 144 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x906495fb] 43 __select + 10 (libsystem_kernel.dylib) [0x92e71ace] *43 ??? (mach_kernel + 4080224) [0xffffff80005e4260] Thread 0x17e852 priority 0-46 43 start_wqthread + 30 (libsystem_pthread.dylib) [0x9064ecce] 43 __workq_kernreturn + 10 (libsystem_kernel.dylib) [0x92e72046] *43 wq_unpark_continue + 0 (pthread) [0xffffff7f80bcb6ae] (cut)
Once an app hangs and I force-quit it, I can never launch that app again until I restart the computer.
I booted to the Mac OS restore screen (Command-R) and reinstalled the OS, but I'm still having the same problems.
Can anyone suggest some next steps for resolving this?
Examples of affected apps: Finder, iTunes, Time Machine (status shows "Preparing Backups" indefinitely, and Time Machine control panel hangs when launching), Photoshop CS6, Transmit, Super Duper
Examples of unaffected apps: Mail, Safari, BBEdit, Dreamweaver CS6, Xcode 5-6, Android Studio
Update 1: Here's what else I've tried: rebooted from the system CD and ran the extended hardware test, verify disk and verify/repair disk permissions; created a new user account and ran some apps there, which led to the same problems; booted into safe mode, where the same problems appeared; booted with Command-R and reinstalled OS 10.9.5 again. If the problem is not the hardware, not something in my user account and not something in the operating system, what else could it be?
Update 2: I managed to get most of my computer backed up to an external drive, then booted a different computer from that drive. I was able to run through all the affected apps and tasks with no problems. So that makes it seem like a hardware problem, although something that only became apparent after installing OS 10.9.5. I've made a Genius Bar appointment for next week to see if they can diagnose it. If a new hard drive or memory chip would solve my problems, I'd be happy.
Update 3: I took my computer to the Apple Store, and the Mac Genius thought the problem was either with the memory chips or the memory slots. She offered to run a more thorough memory test, but I'd have to leave my computer for 24 hours for the test and another 3-5 days if the problem was with the slots. I had some different memory chips at home, so instead, I took the computer home and swapped the memory. The problems continued. I think the next step is to leave it with the Genius Bar for a likely hardware repair.
Update 4: My computer passed the memory test at the Apple Store, but failed the hard drive test. That's actually one of the first things I thought of when the problem started, because I have often seen hard drive failures after about two years of use, but I read a little about SSDs and got the impression that when they failed, they failed suddenly and totally. I'll order a new hard drive and will post a final response if that fixes the problem.
Update 5: Strangely, since the diagnosis of a failed SSD, I haven't seen the problem again. To get a second opinion, I bought a hard drive test application and it said the hard drive was fine and not far into its expected lifespan. I don't want to replace the SSD if I don't have to, and this is no longer my main computer because I ended up buying a new one to avoid the downtime this problem was causing me. So I guess I'll just leave it as is. What a mystery.