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Dragon6

Switcher with iMac OS X Issue

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I switched to Mac after being so impressed with my video ipod's performance and stability in Feb 07 when my old HP finally died. I have a 20" intel Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz with 2.5 GB of ram running 10.4.10 and all software updates. I have added a few apps like quicksilver, cocktail, etc and have two WD My Book external USB hard disks for back up. I have noticed a significant decrease in performance in the last month or so. In particular, iTunes and iPhoto performance was slow and I had to force quite regularly but other programs like safari, finder, etc are crashing also (not getting kernal panic - just beach ball forever). I moved both th eiTunes and iPhoto libraries to the internal hard disk and that appears to have helped for those programs. I have also noticed that photo transfers from my Sony DSC-N1 have slowed considerably and that my external hard disk performance has been unpredictable.

 

I have verified and repaired permissions, reset PRAM, and run Apple hardware utility on boot - hardware and, in particular, memory checks out ok. Could it be a USB problem? Anyone have any other ideas?

 

By the way, I am planning on pulling the hard disks from my WD My Book external drives because I think the chipsets are causing some of my external hard drive performance issues. I am thinking about putting them into newer tech external cases. Any one done this before?

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Welcome to the forum. Someone here will probably be able to help.

 

Do you have any more robust drive utilities, like Tech Tool Pro, Drive Genius or Disk Warrior? Another thing you might want to try is a reinstallation of the OS. You really shouldn't need to Force Quit applications, especially iLife components, on any kind of regular basis,

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Welcome to the forum. Someone here will probably be able to help.

 

Do you have any more robust drive utilities, like Tech Tool Pro, Drive Genius or Disk Warrior? Another thing you might want to try is a reinstallation of the OS. You really shouldn't need to Force Quit applications, especially iLife components, on any kind of regular basis,

 

 

I did a reinstall using archive and reinstall but that did not seem to solve the problem. I am hesitant to do a full reinstall because I am so new to Mac OS and don't want to make a mistake and loose any preferences, settings, data, etc.

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Am I correct in my deduction that you got to 2.5 Gb of RAM by putting a 2Gb stick in the extra slot? You might want to try pulling the 512Mb card out. I'm not sure about these Intel Macs (mine is a little older than yours) but Macs tend to like matched pairs of RAM if you have more than one stick.

 

Another thing you could try is to create a new user and run in that profile for a bit to see if it's the machine or your user that's having the problem.

 

When it slows down, have you checked the Activity Monitor (it's like the Task Manager in Windows) to see what's sucking your cycles?

 

I'm kind of rambling but there are lots of possibilities.

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Did you start having problems after upgrading to 10.4.10? If so, you might want to try rolling back to 10.4.9 and see if you have the same trouble. It might just be this update causing you problems. There are plenty of instructions around this forum on how to rollback to a previous version, so I might try that if you noticed the problems started around the time you updated. Just a thought.

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Am I correct in my deduction that you got to 2.5 Gb of RAM by putting a 2Gb stick in the extra slot? You might want to try pulling the 512Mb card out. I'm not sure about these Intel Macs (mine is a little older than yours) but Macs tend to like matched pairs of RAM if you have more than one stick.

 

Another thing you could try is to create a new user and run in that profile for a bit to see if it's the machine or your user that's having the problem.

 

When it slows down, have you checked the Activity Monitor (it's like the Task Manager in Windows) to see what's sucking your cycles?

 

I'm kind of rambling but there are lots of possibilities.

 

 

I am having the same problem with all user accounts. The newer iMac supports up to 3 GB of ram, 2GB in one and 1 GB in the other. Research indicated that the newer iMac did not need pairs. I really do not want to waste 1GB by putting another 2GB stick in. I have checked the activity monitor a number of times. No problems with ram but write to hard disk is sometimes a problem. I also noted that when programs sometimes stop working they are not listed as a process. I have to force quit from the menu or dock.

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Did you start having problems after upgrading to 10.4.10? If so, you might want to try rolling back to 10.4.9 and see if you have the same trouble. It might just be this update causing you problems. There are plenty of instructions around this forum on how to rollback to a previous version, so I might try that if you noticed the problems started around the time you updated. Just a thought.

 

I did an archive reinstall to rollback to 10.4.9 but that did not seem to make a difference. I waited a while and then tried 10.4.10 again hoping Apple may have resolved a problem in first update that I was not aware of.

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All, I may just bite the bullet and try a fresh install of Mac OS X again. Before I do that I want to make sure I backup correctly and restore so I so not loose user email, preferences, etc. I use Data Backup 3.0 and have cloned the internal disk, backed up all user libraries, and backed up all "non-system" files. Can I install and then restore from user libraries and get user preferences, safari and firefox bookmarks, email accounts, and old email back up for all users? I am not as concerned about software I have loaded. I have install disks / files for all my programs.

 

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. One thing I noticed is that there is usually less documentation for Mac software than for Windows so I have to pick things up through forums, tech support, or by trial and error.

 

Thanks for the help.

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Just thought of something else that I probably should have asked a long time ago.

 

Your drive is anywhere near full, is it?

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its no doubt old cache files and probably huge swap files, running Onyx or Cocktail to clean up some of that mess might be useful.

Next try to repair the permissions using diskutility.

If that doesn't help out here is a very fast and quick tip to reinstall the system again:

delete the folder named "System" from your main hard disk and restart from the system DVD.

reinstall everything agan.

A very clean way would be using copy cloner and backup the hard disk to an external.

Erase the disk and start all over, then re-import the cloned disk.

 

HTH

 

Rob

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Just thought of something else that I probably should have asked a long time ago.

 

Your drive is anywhere near full, is it?

 

No where close to full. Maybe 25% of capacity used.

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I hate to say it because it's not something I have EVER done, but I think you should visit the Genius Bar at the Apple Store in Village Pointe. I know it's a jaunt from Bellevue because I looked at the map (only because Village Point didn't exist when I grew in Nebraska) but they should be able to shed light on the problems. I've never had to actually take a machine in, but I'm a real geek and have been lucky enough to be able to solve all my problems with some forum help here and there. The symptoms you describe and actions you've thoughtfully taken seem correct. I think having somebody really interacting with the machine would be the best course of action, especially for a switcher. As much as I love my Macs, it is a different paradigm than Windows machines.

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No where close to full. Maybe 25% of capacity used.

 

25% free should be enough, standard UNIX implementation asks 2-3 * the physical amount of RAM for the swap partition size. 10-15% the absolute minimum for os x.

So you really have something else going on, if I were you I would see if your RAM is still working ok. Have you ever tried replacing it by other RAM (e.g. from a friends machine just to test)?

what does systemprofiler say about the RAM condition?

 

Rob

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25% free should be enough, standard UNIX implementation asks 2-3 * the physical amount of RAM for the swap partition size. 10-15% the absolute minimum for os x.

So you really have something else going on, if I were you I would see if your RAM is still working ok. Have you ever tried replacing it by other RAM (e.g. from a friends machine just to test)?

what does systemprofiler say about the RAM condition?

 

Rob

He doesn't have 25% free he has 75% free, no problem there. Start by running http://www.titanium.free.fr/pgs2/english/maintenance.html and see if that doesn't fix things up. At that point if you don't mind doing a full install it certainly will not hurt. If you are going to do that superduper is an excellent backup app. It will clone your hard drive then you can do a clean install and use migration assistant to bring back your user account. A word of warning though superduper will want to erase your external drive.

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I hate to say it because it's not something I have EVER done, but I think you should visit the Genius Bar at the Apple Store in Village Pointe. I know it's a jaunt from Bellevue because I looked at the map (only because Village Point didn't exist when I grew in Nebraska) but they should be able to shed light on the problems. I've never had to actually take a machine in, but I'm a real geek and have been lucky enough to be able to solve all my problems with some forum help here and there. The symptoms you describe and actions you've thoughtfully taken seem correct. I think having somebody really interacting with the machine would be the best course of action, especially for a switcher. As much as I love my Macs, it is a different paradigm than Windows machines.

 

I also thought about driving up to Village Pointe it is a very nice store but I wanted to try and solve this on my own if possible. I consider myself to be a fairly competent and seasoned PC user but haven't used Unix since graduate school and I have never used a Mac before.

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its no doubt old cache files and probably huge swap files, running Onyx or Cocktail to clean up some of that mess might be useful.

Next try to repair the permissions using diskutility.

If that doesn't help out here is a very fast and quick tip to reinstall the system again:

delete the folder named "System" from your main hard disk and restart from the system DVD.

reinstall everything agan.

A very clean way would be using copy cloner and backup the hard disk to an external.

Erase the disk and start all over, then re-import the cloned disk.

 

HTH

 

Rob

 

I use cocktail to run maintenance regularly and I have already used disk utility.

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He doesn't have 25% free he has 75% free, no problem there. Start by running http://www.titanium.free.fr/pgs2/english/maintenance.html and see if that doesn't fix things up. At that point if you don't mind doing a full install it certainly will not hurt. If you are going to do that superduper is an excellent backup app. It will clone your hard drive then you can do a clean install and use migration assistant to bring back your user account. A word of warning though superduper will want to erase your external drive.

 

Thanks. I just downloaded a trial version of Superduper. I have not been impressed with performance of Prosoft's Data Backup. I did not realize it would erase my external hard drive and I did not think of using migration assistant.

 

Will migration assistant migrate all user accounts, preferences, email accounts, downloaded email, safari and firefox bookmarks, applications, etc?

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SuperDuper is great. It will make a bootable clone of your drive, which will be good for future use. In this case, you'll probably want to dump that copy once you have migrated everything back. Migration Assistant will copy all those things back to your internal, but I believe you'll need to invoke it separately for each user account.

 

Speaking of other user accounts, do you get the same symptoms operating as a different user than your main account (did I ask that already)?

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SuperDuper is great. It will make a bootable clone of your drive, which will be good for future use. In this case, you'll probably want to dump that copy once you have migrated everything back. Migration Assistant will copy all those things back to your internal, but I believe you'll need to invoke it separately for each user account.

 

Speaking of other user accounts, do you get the same symptoms operating as a different user than your main account (did I ask that already)?

 

I understand that migration assistant requires either a bootable copy on an external hard disk or on an internal partition. Is that correct? My external drives are USB 2.0. I heard that you can boot off those with the new intel macs although I have not tried it. Has anyone done that?

 

And yes, someone already asked that in this forum. I have issues on all user accounts.

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I understand that migration assistant requires either a bootable copy on an external hard disk or on an internal partition. Is that correct? My external drives are USB 2.0. I heard that you can boot off those with the new intel macs although I have not tried it. Has anyone done that?

 

And yes, someone already asked that in this forum. I have issues on all user accounts.

correct,

 

I always install a second disk with the same users and accounts (using MA is easy)

for another machine you need reboot in Target mode, for local machines its even simpler: the disk you copy from must be bootable.

 

 

HTH

 

Rob

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I have a couple USB 2 externals but they also have Firewire ports so that's how I have them connected. I haven't tried to boot from them using USB but Intel Macs are supposed to support that.

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I have a couple USB 2 externals but they also have Firewire ports so that's how I have them connected. I haven't tried to boot from them using USB but Intel Macs are supposed to support that.

yup, Mactels can boot from USB 2 - which should come as no surprise since the speed of USB 2 ? Firewire 400. You only need to invoke a GUID partition scheme on the disk before trying to install the system. Standard MAC partition schemes will not allow you to make ANY disk bootable.

(To create a GUID partitioned disk use Disk Utility, erase the disk (safe any data beforehand) then partition the disk using options to get to the GUID scheme.)

Under the GUID scheme the installed filesystem can be HFS+ (journaled, not-journaled, case-(in)sensitive) unix and fat32.

 

HTH

 

Rob

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ACK! I think we just hit a stumbling block in our process.

 

While Intel iMacs can boot from an external USB drive (I haven't done it but I believe Apple), the Migration Assistant will only work with Firewire connections.

 

I'm not certain but you might be able to replace a user file on your main machine with the information from a user file on the backup. I know I've recovered mailboxes that way but never an entire user account.

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ACK! I think we just hit a stumbling block in our process.

 

While Intel iMacs can boot from an external USB drive (I haven't done it but I believe Apple), the Migration Assistant will only work with Firewire connections.

 

I'm not certain but you might be able to replace a user file on your main machine with the information from a user file on the backup. I know I've recovered mailboxes that way but never an entire user account.

 

One remark you made seems senseless: why would M.A. not allow filetransfer (accounts etc) from a bootable disk that is NOT firewire? The crux is it must be a bootable disk.

mac os x doesn't discriminate the underlying connection.

 

HTH

 

Rob

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I understand that migration assistant requires either a bootable copy on an external hard disk or on an internal partition. Is that correct? My external drives are USB 2.0. I heard that you can boot off those with the new intel macs although I have not tried it. Has anyone done that?

 

And yes, someone already asked that in this forum. I have issues on all user accounts.

 

 

I can confirm that booting off an USB 2.0 drive indeed works on the new intel macs. I do it all the time with my Macbook Pro (I think I have 2 backups at the moment) and all works well. I just hold down the alt/option key on bootup and it comes up with a selection to boot from assuming I have the hard drives plugged in. And I use SuperDuper! as well for my backup needs and it works great for that sort of thing. Definitely recommend it.

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