Canadian Mac Forums at ehMac banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

First-time poster, just joined today. Looks like a nice, active forum though. Grateful to be here. Here are my specs, first off:

• 17" MacBook Pro (Model ID 1,2)
• 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo
• 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM (max possible, I'm told)
• OS: 10.6.8
• 250 GB hard drive (upgraded ~2 yrs ago) with 42 GB free space

In the past few months, I've noticed some significant degradation in performance with this machine that I can't attribute to any new apps or 3rd-party utilities that I've recently added (i.e. I haven't added any recently). There are often up to 60+ seconds of delay while opening or closing apps, switching windows or browser tabs in Chrome, entering or editing text with the keyboard, scrolling through windows or documents, and so on. Even while typing this message, the text I'm typing is taking several seconds to appear on the screen.

I've tried a number of the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article such as running the UNIX maintenance scripts (which were already run today, this week and this month automatically anyway), repairing permissions, and watching my CPU and RAM loads with the Activity Monitor, but there are no errant processes that I can easily identify which are tapping more than 1-2% of the CPU's resources at any given time. On the advice of my local Mac store guy in Dartmouth, I also booted in Safe Mode which he suggested might kill some of the legacy files and such that could be bogging down performance. But none of the aforementioned really helped.

There are basically two things I'd appreciate more expert opinion about:

1.) Back when I used to use a PC, I used to format my hard drive and reinstall the OS every 4-6 months or so, and this would significantly improve my performance. I know that such a thing is sort of drastic and not typically needed on Macs, but given the age of this machine and how long I've been using it, do you think that might help? Related to this, would it be of any benefit to delete the swap files, which have probably been growing ad nauseam for several years? I wonder if that's contributing to this somehow.

2.) Have I just gotten the most I can expect from this machine, and should I maybe just think of replacing it? Certainly it doesn't owe me anything; I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it. I can't upgrade the RAM any more than it currently is, unfortunately.

Many thanks in advance for any advice or guidance you might be able to provide.

Dustin LindenSmith
Dartmouth, NS.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,899 Posts
Sudden drastic slow downs across all operations and especially Finder based operations, is often a sign of a dying hard drive.

Back up your data, NOW. Operate on the assumption that the machine may not start the next time it is rebooted or turned on.

Then proceed to other troubleshooting steps. If you have TechTool Pro or DiskWarrior or another utility, you can test the hard drive.

If you have the availability of an external hard drive, either clone your existing drive to it, or install OSX, boot from that drive, and dismount the internal. Is your performance back to normal?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for that reminder. I should have mentioned that I'm running Time Machine, so I do have an effective backup.

I'll check out those disk utilities you mentioned though, to see if that narrows down my problem.
 

·
Seriously?
Joined
·
4,442 Posts
Thanks for that reminder. I should have mentioned that I'm running Time Machine, so I do have an effective backup.

I'll check out those disk utilities you mentioned though, to see if that narrows down my problem.
It is only effective from the last time you checked that your backup is good. Don't be caught when your backup is no good. Multiple backups are better. You can clone your drive to another drive and maybe even do another Time Machine backup to another drive. Better to be safe than sorry.
 

·
Resident Curmudgeon
Joined
·
86,940 Posts
My system is cloned twice daily to two separate drives and also run Time Machine daily on a third HD. All my iTunes data and video are kept on a separate HD, not the internal HD and backed up by cloning to yet another drive whenever I add to my iTunes library. I learned the hard way and leave nothing to chance now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Holy cow, you guys are hard core!

How do I test if my Time Machine backup is effective? It looks totally fine when I browse through it; I can't tell if there's anything corrupted about it.

And so far as cloning the hard drive... I've never done that before but it's a task best accomplished with the Disk Utility, right? I have room on my Time Machine drive to fit a clone of this hard drive; can I clone it without partitioning the destination drive?

I'm also curious as to how to permanently set the location of your iTunes library to a separate drive. I currently share my MBP's iTunes library with our main family iMac's iTunes library and vice-versa, but I'd love to consolidate both libraries onto one separate networked hard drive and then have both computers have access to the same music at the same time, all the time, as their native library.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,336 Posts
And so far as cloning the hard drive... I've never done that before but it's a task best accomplished with the Disk Utility, right? I have room on my Time Machine drive to fit a clone of this hard drive; can I clone it without partitioning the destination drive?
best bet would be to make a new partition on your external and then clone into it. you can use DU or you can use something like carbon copy cloner or super duper.

I'm also curious as to how to permanently set the location of your iTunes library to a separate drive. I currently share my MBP's iTunes library with our main family iMac's iTunes library and vice-versa, but I'd love to consolidate both libraries onto one separate networked hard drive and then have both computers have access to the same music at the same time, all the time, as their native library.
move the iTunes folder to whatever volume you want, then when you open iTunes hold option and browse to where you moved the iTunes folder.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,841 Posts
Do not count on TimeMachine. A dying HD can corrupt the TM back-up. there are other possible causes than a dying HD but I would first try to protect my data as the Dying HD is quite likely.

First I would do a straight drag and drop copy of any really important files to an external drive. Depending on overall size you might even be able to use a flash drive for this step.

Then try a clone. You may want a second external drive to run the clone. First try to get a good clone of your HD. Super Duper and CCC are utilities that make this really easy. Be sure the drive is properly formatted. The out of the box Windoze formatting will not allow the clone to be bootable. Once you have a good clone, boot from it and run awhile as if you were booted from the main HD. If your issues have disappeared you can be sure that your HD is probably on its way out the door and that you have caught it in time to get a reliable back-up. That said; The time to be creating reliable clones is before the main HD starts to fail.

It is entirely possible that the HD is already in bad enough shape that a clean clone is not possible. A good indicator would be difficulty at the first stage basic back-up.

CCC is donation ware and SuperDuper is shareware. Both will allow basic clones without paying. You will need to register SuperDuper to take advantage of some of its advanced features.
Carbon Copy Cloner - Home
SuperDuper!

Good Luck and be sure to ask if directions seem unclear. You may only have one try at protecting your data.
 

·
Resident Curmudgeon
Joined
·
86,940 Posts
Holy cow, you guys are hard core!

How do I test if my Time Machine backup is effective? It looks totally fine when I browse through it; I can't tell if there's anything corrupted about it.

And so far as cloning the hard drive... I've never done that before but it's a task best accomplished with the Disk Utility, right? I have room on my Time Machine drive to fit a clone of this hard drive; can I clone it without partitioning the destination drive?

I'm also curious as to how to permanently set the location of your iTunes library to a separate drive. I currently share my MBP's iTunes library with our main family iMac's iTunes library and vice-versa, but I'd love to consolidate both libraries onto one separate networked hard drive and then have both computers have access to the same music at the same time, all the time, as their native library.
I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make the clone, a free program that does it all for you.

You can find out how using this thread that shows how I moved all my movies to a separate HD:

http://www.ehmac.ca/all-ios-iphone-...8812-managing-movies-create-space-itunes.html
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top