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I am having a problem with my MacBook Pro “15 (A1398, Mid 2015) - during operation in normal mode, it sometimes and highly unpredictably freezes, and shuts down. When switched on, it boots but half of the time it does not boot correctly and you need to boot 2-3 times to make it to normal mode. It also shuts down when I send it to sleep. Also, I use it in clamshell mode, so have an external display. It behaves not very different out of clamshell mode too.

An important point is that it works perfectly in safe mode (boots properly, doesn’t crash, and sleeps and wakes properly). So I think we can eliminate hardware issues.

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  • Start with the low-hanging fruit. If any third-party "anti-virus" software is installed, remove it according to the developer's instructions and reboot. You should do this regardless of whether it's causing the problem, as all such software is worse than useless. Otherwise, please list the contents of the folder /Library/Extensions.
    – Linc D.
    Commented May 29 at 4:38
  • Hi @LincD., thank you for your reply. I don’t use any antivirus as I didn’t need it. Here is the /Library/Extensions contents. pastebin.com/LKMNBS6N Commented May 29 at 4:47
  • You have some third-party kernel extensions, which are to be avoided if you want a stable system. I suggest you start by removing “Intel HAXM” completely, again according to the developer’s instructions. Reboot and test.
    – Linc D.
    Commented May 29 at 5:04
  • Hi @LincD. , just removed Intel HAXM by the developers instructions. The boot failed again (keep in mind it fails as often as it works, I’m currently on my system, fearing it might crash anytime, anywhere from now to the next day). Commented May 29 at 5:16
  • By the way @LincD. thank you for your help. I am ready to comply with any other directions. Will try removing other 3rd party extensions soon. Commented May 29 at 5:17

2 Answers 2

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The simple path for your general situation (and especially from the comments: boot failed again: keep in mind it fails as often as it works, I’m currently on my system, fearing it might crash anytime) is:

  • check your backup and get an external drive or two to save time
  • Set up Time Machine on the first drive and let it run a day or two
  • Install macOS on a second external drive

Use the startup manager to boot from the clean external drive and verify the backup is good or use the clean OS to get a known complete backup of the problem installation.

Once you know you have a solid backup and confirm the clean OS works, erase the bad and restore your data.

This is likely software corruption and you can choose how much time and skill you want to spend “fixing” it once you know you don’t have to and can invest a few hours waiting to get a good result when you do an erase install.

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  • Thank you for your reply. While I appreciate your pragmatism, please bear in mind that this should always be proposed as a second option. Everyone is likely already familiar of this being the last resort. Commented May 29 at 13:16
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    I disagree and appreciate your comment. Installing clean is to be sure it’s not software. You need a backup (or you would delete things already to test) and this truly is the easiest path for most to solve without needing extra skills. Determining which software is bad is much harder and higher risk. For some it’s appropriate. When a system struggles - this is the last warning you might have if it’s about to fail hardware-wise. Best to be prepared even if you don’t have to execute the plan. It also helps isolate a failure with minimal time and modest hardware needs
    – bmike
    Commented May 29 at 18:49
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Turns out it was a failed GPU. The motherboard was replaced.

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  • I presume your Mac was one of the MBPs that had two GPUs? Safe mode only uses the integrated graphics. (The discrete GPUs were frequently prone to failure.)
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jun 12 at 12:42
  • That is true. A1398. Had an AMD Discrete GPU (and so does the replacement). I’ve deactivated the AMD GPU on this one so that nothing causates a malfunction. Commented Jun 13 at 13:45

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