Why is there sometimes a 1-second hesitation when I click on apps/menus? - Weird issue
This wasn't happening when I first started using my brand new Macbook Air, 3 weeks ago.
I'm clicking Dock icons to open the application. These are things like iTunes, Firefox, Reminders, Calendars, my university's email client, NeoOffice... and also my Applications folder.
Once in a while I see a similar hesitation when I'm typing, or if I click the Spotlight icon (usually the first time), or my Wi-Fi icon for the first time, or my volume icon for the first time, or sometimes a menubar item (usually also the first time, for each application).
This is distracting and it never used to be like this. I only just got this computer.
Also: Why has my Macbook sometimes been taking over 30 seconds to shut down (it just sits there with a gray screen), rather than 1 second like when I first used it?
Macbook Air 10.8.2 Summer 2012
The first thing sounds like the energy saver kicking in a little too aggressively.
It also happens sometimes when I open System Preferences from the Apple menu. But it's hard to reproduce or track.
Here are my Energy Saver preferences:
I have my computer set to sleep after 3 minutes and my display to sleep after 3 minutes.
I have "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" and "Enable Power Nap while on battery power" checked.
(I used battery power when I observed the 1-second hesitations.)
POWER ADAPTER TAB:
I have my computer set to sleep after 5 minutes and my display to sleep after 5 minutes.
I have "Put hard disks to sleep when possible," "Wake for Wi-Fi network access" and "Enable Power Nap while plugged into a power adapter" checked.
Try unchecking the "Put hard drives to sleep" button. The MBA has an SSD, so there is no point in attempting to spin anything down. If that doesn't help, I think it's the power nap setting, but disabling that will likely hurt battery life.
I unchecked the "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" and "Enable power nap" checkboxes for both Battery and Power Adapter tabs, then restarted my computer.
That didn't work.
Why would disabling Power Nap hurt battery life?
I think Power nap is Apple's name for microsleeping the CPU, which can sometimes cause such effects.
Now that I'm back home, I checked the MBA. I had both of those options on, and I didn't have problems. Not sure what's happening then.
It also happens when I second-click to get a contextual menu in Firefox. Also feels like a random bug.
Also when I go to empty the trash, the pop-up dialogue takes an extra 1 second.
Also happens sometimes when I hit Firefox's "Back" button, or sometimes when I save a file in TextWrangler. None of these used to happen weeks ago.
Also happens sometimes when I click the Firefox icon even when Firefox is already open.
Might this have to do with me installing NeoOffice or Adobe PDF reader (which I need for work)...
...or perhaps connecting to iCloud?
Anyone else know?
When computer's shutdown, they don't just stop running. The kernel that controls the hardware and manages the interactions of all your running programs with that hardware tries to tell every running program to "exit cleanly" and then the hardware to be sure all operations requested of them have completed (e.g. files written to disk).
This change in shutdown behavior could be caused by a few different things:
1) Failing hardware - some component has not yet failed, but not reliably working either. This would be more likely if your observed behavior was more erratic than you describe, but can't be ruled out. Any component involved in data transfer could be involved. To investigate this, look into running your Air's hardware diagnostics.
2) Something is confusing the kernel about the state of the RAM and/or filesystem. This could be due to disk corruption, or a faulty program, but the result is that the kernel needs much more time than normal to sort out the details and be sure your data is actually written to disk. To investigate this, first run disk utility on your boot disk. Second, look into any packages/apps you installed shortly before the problems began.
As to the investigation, things you might try:
1) Safe boot, which boots your Air without any extensions or startup items, then see if the problem exists - being careful to note if your system starts out without it, then exhibits it later after running suspicious apps.
2) for iCloud, do you have the problems if you boot and use your Air without network?
As a final comment, if you find that Adobe PDF reader is the culprit, there are other non-Preview PDF readers out there that might suit as a replacement.
BTW: I have "Reopen windows after logging back in" always unchecked.
The weird thing is that this 1-second hesitation seems to occur on a timely/regular basis, like, once every minute or two. I can't seem to reproduce this issue more than once in, like, a 30-second time period.
Sometimes I have to wait that extra second to type, i.e., in TextEdit, even in a plain raw text document no larger than this post. I also have this problem when I type Command-delete to drag an item to the Trash, though again, once per (no less than) 30 or 60 seconds. The issue also weirdly happens when I click on random links (e.g. to log myself out).
Activity Monitor shows no obvious culprit, and I don't have anything in my System Preferences accounts Login Items that would cause this.
The computer is brand new. There is a plastic shell behind the monitor and below the bottom, and the computer has its own neoprene sleeve. I can't see how a part could be failing.
I clicked on Verify Disk and received no error messages.
I performed Repair Disk Permissions and received no error messages.
iCloud (network off):
The problem still exists when I turn Wi-Fi off entirely.
The random problem seemed to occur only 2 minutes in.
I did a test using only Finder and TextEdit (and without using Firefox or Wi-Fi). Same results only 2-3 minutes after a reboot.
I unplugged my external keyboard and mouse, and the problem still exists.
Safe mode is incredibly slow! But I have verified that the problem still exists in Safe Mode, with wireless turned off, and without launching any non-Apple applications. Shutting the computer down then took 56 seconds, but I had it booted for only 4 minutes and used one TextEdit document (plain text document the size of this post, no special formats).
Adobe PDF Reader:
 How do I completely uninstall it?
 What other PDF readers would you recommend that properly display edited papers? Preview does not seem to do it properly, and our IT department recommended Adobe.
 Since I did not actually launch Adobe PDF Reader when performing these tests, I do not understand how this *might* be the culprit still.
It may be nearly new, but all your troubles now point, IMHO, to only two possible explanations:
1) more likely - hardware failure - look at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1509 for running the hardware diagnostics,
2) less likely - the faulty program is part of the base OS and the result of file corruption. A reinstall of your OS on top of the present system may fix this.
I suggest running the hardware diagnostics and then, whatever the result, schedule an appointment at the nearest Apple Genius Bar regarding your Air. Since the problem is so easily reproducible, they will be very able to investigate. Before going, to be as safe as possible, make a backup of your data. Be prepared to tell them at your appointment the results of the hardware diagnostics, as well as the results of the above tests.
If a Genius Bar visit is not an option, then see http://www.apple.com/support/contact/ for other options. Whatever method used to contact Apple, I heartily recommend using them at this point. My interactions with Apple have all been helpful, tho' not necessarily was a perfect resolution achieved on the first visit for an issue (I needed two visits to resolve the problem with my Nano, but that was fine 'cause in the first visit they said "if this doesn't work, come back and we'll replace it" - and a Safari issue I had involved about an hour of a genius' time, investigating, and I left with sufficient information to resolve the issue on my own the next day).
If the result of contacting Apple, by whatever means, is a working Air without your data *and* it wasn't a hardware problem, then I suggest the following:
1) When you restore your data, be sure to restore as little as possible, just in case,
2) when you reinstall your needed apps, do so one at a time from fresh downloads, then use the Air for a day or two to be sure the problem doesn't reappear before installing the next.
It's possible the problem may not reappear even when you have reinstalled all your apps and files - this would be consistent with case #2 at the top of this msg.
As to a replacement for the aged Adobe Reader, it doesn't appear like replacing it is necessary, but feel free to mention your concern when talking with Apple. If you wish to replace it anyway, open the App Store and go to Categories section, then in the search field, enter "adobe pdf" - when the list pops up, sort by Customer Rating. The first two apps listed look promising to my eye, and cheap. The problem tho' with edited PDFs is that there doesn't seem to be a well-defined standard for the file format of an edited PDF and the display of those edits can vary. This is my impression based on my own use of various PDF editors (I graded homework submitted as PDF files). Which means that Adobe PDF Reader may be the only program that displays the edited PDFs as you expect. What program is used to do the editing may be relevant.
How much memory do you have any how many programs are running/consuming that memory? Post a screenshot of Activity Monitor's Memory tab for us to review if you'd like. Thanks.
Well I've already done the full erase/reinstall... I've brought back NeoOffice 3.3, Firefox 15, my email client, R, LaTeX, and even Adobe Flash player ( :thumbsdow )
So far, the problem has not yet surfaced.
My best guess is that the Java runtime environment got screwed up somehow, since I had Java SE 6 installed previously (to use Cyberduck), and I have switched to FireFTP (in Firefox).
So far, no problems.
I'll update you folks if it happens again. But this time, I'll hold off on installing the Java runtime environment.
UPDATE: The problem came back!
You asked me to do hardware diagnostics. The directions that I found said to boot the computer and hold down the D key. I did that, but then it gave me a screen to do internet recovery. Then it asked for my wireless. It didn't show up in the pull-down list. So, I had to click on the "..." option to enter my own. This presented me with a screen for me to enter my wireless name and password. I did that... but when I entered that information in, and clicked the Checkmark icon, a spinning icon appeared to the right of the textfield for entering my password...
...and it just sat there, not downloading or processing anything.
So, I can't even run hardware diagnostics, because the screen that asks me for my wireless info just sits there. What's going on with this????
The other thing I noticed, from Day 1 with this machine, is that when I boot up my Macbook Air with my Macally mouse plugged directly into the USB port on the right side of my computer, my Air would recognize it only 50% of the time, so I would just simply unplug and replug it in, like it's no big deal. Since I've noticed this, I've switched over to a USB 2.0 hub, and I have connected my external keyboard and mouse to it, and this worked 100% of the time.
I just tried booting the computer without the USB hub plugged in, and the problem still exists. But for the first week that I had my computer, I don't think that I ever actually noticed this.
So, perhaps this issue * might * have been caused, for whatever ridiculous reason, by using the MacAlly mouse and eventually my Macbook Air just didn't like cooperating with it as much. Disconnecting the hardware doesn't make the problem go away, and neither does booting without it plugged in.
But that doesn't make sense. Why would an external mouse cause this? I never had this problem before with an external keyboard or mouse, or the hub.
*frustrated sigh* - this is a nightmare
So, we've ruled out Java, R, and LaTeX (not the culprit). I can't imagine Firefox causing this. Still not sure if NeoOffice is causing this.
I'll go reinstall all my software (including OS X) all over again and see what happens.
Update 2: The problem still seems to exist... even after wiping the disc clean and before I install any software. In other words, I did another 10.8 reinstall, waited for Spotlight to finish, kept all of my peripherals disconnected the whole entire time (except the power adapter), reinstalled, waited for Spotlight to finish, restarted, tested out TextEdit, and I'm still getting random intermittent 1-second hesitations.
So now I've ruled out all 3rd party software, Java SE, and even my external keyboard and mouse (I think).
My suspicion is that the Macbook Air EFI firmware update in mid-September caused this, because before then, I don't think that I was noticing this problem, but again I'm going from memory, and it may not have been a big deal or was just very rare at the time and I figured that, meh, it'll go away, or whatever.
If that is the case, then I expect Apple to come up with a bug fix for this.
There's no local Apple store where I am. How would I submit this as a bug report if hardware diagnostics says no problems?
Somehow I may have wrote down the wrong password for hardware diagnostics. So, I'll give the "boot holding down d" another try and I'll see what happens.
Another update coming.
Note: Haven't done the diagnostics yet, but I'm reinstalling a lot of my software, and everything seems lightning fast. Maybe the problem isn't noticeable to me anymore but I can just rapidly go through stuff. This is a relief!
When I ran the basic (3-minute) hardware diagnostic check, the console showed the following problem:
"Alert!" - and then it gave me this code after the test was complete:
I'm seeing this quite a bit online, indicating a defective hard drive. (But I never hurt this computer.) I've kept a case and sleeve on it at all times... in fact, ever since I got this computer, I've been using an external keyboard/mouse 95% of the time so that I don't put any pressure on the Air.
But this code tells me the hard drive is still defective?!
I guess I'll call AppleCare :\ I have to figure this out since I also purchased another warranty plan and need to see if it'll transfer.
Don't waste your time for a long drive to an apple store if they try to push that on you. Have them send a prepaid return box, unless they want you to go to the nearest UPS store to mail it out. Back up everything you care about. (I also wipe anything I return to anyone.) Apple should mail you a new or repaired MBA.
Check out that apple support link I posted in my last message. Apple will be able to advise you as to your warranty status when you give them your Air's serial number - unless that warranty plan is from an outside provider, but if you have Applecare, it's unlikely to improve upon what Applecare can do anyway. In any case, Apple's 1 year warranty covers full replacement and your Air can't be older than that based on what you've said.
Cold Warrior's advice is valid as long as being without the computer while shipping happens is a viable option. Be sure to investigate the details while talking with Apple.
Well Apple replaced the hard drive and shipped my Macbook back to me. I'll let you know if the problem crops up again.
If there is a delay, it's like 0.1 seconds, compared to 1 second from before. Weird. I never noticed this with my pro Macbook.
Shut-down times are still long (25 seconds compared to 1 second), though, I suspect this one is software, something about sandboxing:
And yes I'm using 10.8.2 (plus Supplemental update) and yes I'm also using the Macbook Air... so how is this problem fixed, and why are so many others having it?
Naturally I already did the full erase/install and the problem still exists. This sounds like a bug in the OS.
(Glad to know I don't need another service appointment!!)
Alright Apple just release a MacBook Air update.
I installed it, and shut-down times still take 25 seconds.
The update didn't do anything.
Also: My USB mouse is still sometimes not recognized when I plug it in directly.
I just installed Mac OS X 10.8.2 Supplemental Update 2, and the problem still exists.
I just installed the latest Macbook Air firmware update, and the shutdown problem still exists.
If it's that your computer is lagging or slow, I just spent the weekend trying to figure this out. a) I had an old version of McAfee antivirus that was hogging CPU, b) I was nearly out of hard disk space, and c) spotlight was continually indexing. I know your computer is new, so not likely to have old software or be full, but the apple forums are full of people with 10.7 constantly indexing.
I just updated to 10.8.3, and the shutdown delay problem still exists.
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