I purchased a new 13" MacBook Pro about a month ago. I'm pretty happy with it for the most part, but I've been having a few issues which I find very worrisome. I'm a computer science student, but my Mac experience is limited, so I'm not sure where to begin in diagnosing them.

Twice since I purchased the computer, I've had Finder and several other apps crash simultaneously. After this happens, Finder restarts, but the left side of the menu bar is completely unresponsive and apps are sluggish in general. Oddly, the right side of the menu bar works. System-wide keyboard shortcuts seem to work for the most part, but apps do not seem to be able to receive keyboard input at all. Additionally, the menu bar intermittently disappears and then reappears. The only way I've found to fix this is to kill WindowServer to log myself out; restarting Finder/Dock/etc does not work.

Here are a couple screenshots (click for large versions) which illustrate the problem. (Ignore the Snow Leopard background in the first one; I am using Lion.) In the first screenshot, notice that Adium is not the active application, but it is shown as active by the menu bar. In the second screenshot, notice that the menu bar is missing altogether.

First crash screenshot Second crash screenshot

Additionally, I've had a couple other odd problems. I plug my MacBook into a USB keyboard and mouse when I'm at home, and once when I unplugged it and took it out with me, the built-in keyboard did not seem to work when it woke up, so I was unable to log in. I had to restart it using the power button to fix that. Finally, once when I was using it it suddenly made a loud screeching noise for no discernable reason. It didn't sound like any noise I've ever heard a hard disk make before, but I can't think of what else it could have been.

I'm not too worried about potential data loss as I have multiple redundant back-ups on both my network-attached storage unit and on other servers I have access to. My questions are:

  • Has anyone experienced problems similar to these before, and if so, do they indicate potential hardware problems? I was unable to find anything useful on Google.
  • Is there anything I can do to figure out if the crash issues could be caused by some third-party software? Any logs I can look at? [Edit: found some logs which may be relevant. kernel.log and system.log from around the time of the crash.]
  • In general... what should I do about this? I'm using the computer for school right now, and with six courses this term I really can't afford to wait several days for Apple to look at it. (I suspect they'd tell me there's nothing wrong, anyway.)
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  • Is your OS X install the "stock" install that came with your MBP? And did you restore (using Migration Assistant) a Time Machine backup from an older OS X? My 1 year-old MBP crashes often recently so I feel your pain. – Global nomad Nov 27 '11 at 11:32
  • @Globalnomad: Yeah, stock install. Didn't restore anything. – Mitch Lindgren Nov 27 '11 at 20:19

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