So literally out of the blue, my MB Pro is giving me the rainbow for minutes at time for 99% of the things I try to do.

I maxed out the memory to 8GB last year, and that made a huge improvement, but like I said, this afternoon it went from being a really productive machine to acting like a 10-year old computer.

I'm thinking my hard drive is about to die considering I plugged in for a time machine backup and it says 14 hours for a 210GB backup. Is that right?

A solution would be great, but just knowing what could possibly be going on would be a relief as well.

  • So a 210 GB time machine backup is running at the same time all the time? Do I get that right? – leymannx Mar 20 '15 at 19:18
  • Its wonky, the time machine backup is running at a 1kb/minute (if that) rate now. – bschaeffer Mar 20 '15 at 19:19

There are quite a few causes for the SBOD (spinning beach ball of death), but you'll have to narrow them down to figure out what you need to do.

Possible Reasons:

  • You are maxing out your CPU
  • You are maxing out your RAM
  • Your hard drive is full
  • You have malware

Now, with what you put in the question, I think the most likely answer is that your hard drive is full. To check, you can do the following:

Go to "About This Mac"

About This Mac

Then click on the Storage tab:

Click on the Storage tab
If you have less than 2 GB free, it's likely that's the problem. If you have plenty of space, then the most likely cause is the CPU. But if it is the CPU, there is probably another underlying problem because it wouldn't start so abruptly. Try to think of anything you might have downloaded around the time it started to slow down.

To figure out what's plaguing the CPU:

  • Launch Activity Monitor (/Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor.app)
  • Sort by "% CPU"

Then you can google around for the specific process screwing up.

| improve this answer | |
  • Should have included it in the question, but I've got a 500GB HDD at 50% usage. – bschaeffer Mar 20 '15 at 18:31
  • Also, when I hit top -o CPU, top is actually the most resource intensive process at 3%. Let's say I have the terminal open running top and another window open, I go to close the window and my computer just freaks. For a brief second I can see Terminal.app at around 80% right after the window closes, then it goes back to square one immediately. – bschaeffer Mar 20 '15 at 18:37
  • Are you sure it's the hard drive then? Because the only thing I can think of that the hard drive could do to slow down your computer is filling up. And it's nowhere near that. – kilometers Mar 20 '15 at 19:33
  • How often are you getting the beach ball? Is it almost all the time? Or is it just when you try to do a certain thing? – kilometers Mar 20 '15 at 19:34
  • All the time. Not almost. All the time. – bschaeffer Mar 20 '15 at 21:37

If you're content with your current computer, upgrade to a SSD. I did this with my 2011 MBP and it's like I've got a new computer. I was always encountering a beachball doing anything and now I never do unless Yosemite acts up.

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  • Do you think it's the HD? – bschaeffer Mar 20 '15 at 3:11

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