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Old 01-29-2011, 09:24 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Is my iMac dying? Or?

For the past two days (or so) my Mac has been slow to respond. Today it got dramatically weird — using mouse or key made the cursor move around on the screen, but nothing moved or opened, then a bunch of movements occurred all at once. It happened several times, then icons and labels on the desktop became distorted (see attachment).

I shut down, then re-launched, and things look normal, but the computer is still a bit slow, though not dramatically so as before.

I tried to empty the trash, but that failed with an error code (-8000 something). I haven’t resorted to terminal yet.

Eudora is also having memory problems, and she was slow and odd before today. She fails to delete files in quantity, but I can do a few at a time.

Have no idea whether these things are connected, but thought I would ask for diagnosis and advice here.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:23 PM   #2
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It sounds pretty ugly...that screen shot makes me think the video card is going and the other that your harddrive is also going...

Does not bode well...

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Old 01-30-2011, 11:53 AM   #3
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Does not bode well...
So I fear. But I have a sprig of optimism alive as well.

   
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Old 01-29-2011, 06:27 PM   #4
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I am not a mac expert, but: I have seen this kind of slowdown when the disk starts failing such that it keeps re-reading a block trying to correct an error. BUT the screen display leads me to suspect the processor or associated hardware. If it is new enough to be worth repairing, take to your favorite repair shop. If not. time to go shopping. And confirm you data is backed up....
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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I am not a mac expert, but: I have seen this kind of slowdown when the disk starts failing such that it keeps re-reading a block trying to correct an error. BUT the screen display leads me to suspect the processor or associated hardware. If it is new enough to be worth repairing, take to your favorite repair shop. If not. time to go shopping. And confirm you data is backed up....
Thanks, Bob. I keep a running backup, so should be all right on that score.

I think I will invest in a service call. Shouldn’t be too expensive (or I won’t do it), and they may be able to coax another year or so out of this thing.

   
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:49 AM   #6
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Kathleen--

First thing I would do is run Disk Utility (Verify Disk) and see what that says. If it says your hard drive is OK, the next thing I'd do is run a housecleaning utility, like OnyX. It could be that you have a corrupted cache, or something else is mangled. Do you turn your machine off every night? If so, maybe some of the OSX maintenance routines need to run. You can do this with OnyX. Backup first (before running OnyX). If nothing improves after that, I'd be suspecting a hardware issue, perhaps RAM (a badly seated card?) or the graphics board, or even the mother board. If you get to the hardware stage, I know that some iMacs have a reset button hidden inside, behind a panel. I believe it resets everything (including PRAM, etc., which could also be corrupt). Your owner's manual (or Apple's Knowledge Base support pages) should give you an idea where (or if) it's hidden in your model.

Good luck!

   
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:52 AM   #7
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Thanks. I did verify the disk, and it said in its customary off-handed way that the disk appears normal.

Thanks for mentioning Onyx; I downloaded it, and see there are many options. I am reluctant to wade into it, so I guess I will take the computer to the authorized Mac support place, which is just about three miles away. They can probably tell me more, faster, for not much money.

I do have a sinking feeling. I have owned a lot of Macs since 1984; most retired peacefully, but a couple failed, one of them spectacularly, and this reminds me of that.

Not a bad record, really, as computers go — 7 Macs, 27 years (and I usually had two or three running at the same time; the average lifetime was probably closer to 6 years than 4).

Who knows? Maybe they can straighten this iMac out, give it more life.

I have what appears to be a good Time Machine backup.

Sigh. I am not looking forward to a shiny screen. Maybe this can be fixed.

   
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
For the past two days (or so) my Mac has been slow to respond. Today it got dramatically weird — using mouse or key made the cursor move around on the screen, but nothing moved or opened, then a bunch of movements occurred all at once.

I shut down, then re-launched, and things look normal, but the computer is still a bit slow, though not dramatically so as before.
Sounds rather like what happened to Audrey's Mac just before Christmas, though that had other issues as well and completely died a few days later.

Does sound as if you might need to go shopping but, after trying the other suggestions, I'd have a go at replacing the battery, wiping the hard drive and reinstalling OSX. (Don't forget, the batteries frequently only last a few years and even though the clock keeps going, a failing battery can create weird effects.)

If you have a copy of Apple's hardware test software (comes free with AppleCare) that should give a good test of the RAM etc. However, doesn't the iMac share video and RAM? If so, the corrupt icons could point to a corrupt Finder...

   
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:01 PM   #9
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Battery, huh? That should be easy enough. This machine has been in use just about 4 years — is that a lot for the battery? (It stays on around the clock.)

I have a new external drive; I could set up a system on that, wipe the internal, and see how it goes. Sounds like a lot of work, but might be illuminating.

This isn’t a great time for this, but I couldn’t live without a computer, so have to do something.

Thanks, Mike, everyone.

   
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:13 PM   #10
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Video cards going south can cause scary weirdness as well. Ask me how I know.... My desktop is sporting a brand new video card as of December. It was an easy and relatively inexpensive fix compared to the alternatives! Once we got the old one out it was clear what had happened. Its little personal fan had completely frozen up.

   
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