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I have never owned an Apple product, and I got a MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) with OS X El Capitan ver. 10.11, about 5 months ago, for work purposes. It's not using SSD yet.

Suddenly, one day, it slowed down. Like when you're opening too much applications, your cursor would show loading icon anytime you're clicking on something (but it can still move around freely and smoothly). To the point the song iTunes was playing is lagging. The I restarted it. After some hours, it happened again, and I restarted it again. This time, it stuck on OS loading screen (where there's a gray apple with loading bar below). Restart 2-3 times it using ON/OFF button, failed, stuck on the same screen.

Then I tried to go into safe mode, and succeed going into desktop. After that, I restarted it again and successfully got to the desktop normally. But now, it would slowed down (cursor turns to loading icon every time you click on something) very often, around every 5 mins. Even more, some apps I frequently used (that I used when symptoms appear) cannot be opened, such as Chrome and Eclipse. I haven't even run IDE and emulator and it's like that already.

All this time, usually after I was done with my work for the day, I would just close the lid and didn't shut it down. Some people has said that "It's not SSD, so you should not do that often", while someone that I know, a user of MacBook too, said "Ah, I got no problem doing that with my Mac, which wasn't using SSD". Is that really the problem?

I've upgrade the OS to 10.11.5, but same thing happened. Also, I didn't found Apple Diagnostics or Apple Hardware Test. I've run Disk Utility's First Aid too, and it only said "Operation successful", "volume seems to be OK".

The lag happened so suddenly, where yesterday it really did just fine and suddenly today it broke down. Does anyone have any idea about what was really happened and what should I do?

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If you noticed a sudden slowdown then that points to an event of some sort that is likely pointed to an issue with the HDD (IMHO). Mac OS is very sensitive to issues with the speed of the disk, which is why it benefits so much from upgrading to an SSD. My recommendations?

  1. Back up your vital data now.
  2. Boot the system into recovery mode, run disk utility to repair the internal drive.

I'm betting that there has been some kind of disk error. The question remains whether or not it is a recoverable disk error. Unfortunately Disk Utility is not a comprehensive disk repair tool. There are others out there (my go to is DiskWarrior, but there are others) that can fix things that Disk Utility can't. If disk utility cant repair it you can try another utility or just replace the drive.

  • Hola, thank you very much for your reply! I've tried 2, but same, it says "seems OK" :( Also, when I was copying things from a folder I currently actively using, I always encountered this: The Finder can't complete the operation because some data in "filename.extension" can't be read or written"... is that further confirming it's an HDD-related problem? :'( – Konayuki May 27 '16 at 2:48
  • Even more so. That is a disk (or filesystem) related issue. Disk utility usually finds those, odd. You could try DiskWarrior (or other 3rd party tool) or you could backup, reformat and restore. The reformat will likely fix any file system errors, but if the trouble is lower down (disk error) then you need a new drive. – Steve Chambers May 27 '16 at 13:34
  • Wenggg I've re-install the OS and the problem persisted... OK OK thank you very much for your help! – Konayuki May 29 '16 at 15:01

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