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Stability Issues
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TribeLeader
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Feb 19, 2010, 04:08 PM
 
I hope this is the right spot for this (there are possible printer and/or application issues) but I seem to be having stability issues. I'm running 10.6.2 on an 8-month-old MBP.

Last week, I tried to install a new printer (an Epson Artisan 810). I haven't fully installed it but I've had trouble with the online software from Epson (Epson blamed the OS). Basically, running the installer crashes and sometimes freezes other parts of the OS.

I've also been running Google Chrome since it became available for Mac. The first beta version I used was extremely stable, but the last two betas have been very unstable (the second of which was reportedly released to fix crashes).

This morning, my MBP froze as I was working in Chrome. After turning off and on, it seems to be working okay, but I just noticed that pressing F5 and F6 to adjust the backlighting on my keyword is not working (there's no light). HOWEVER, it just reappeared as I'm writing this post! (Edited to say it disappeared again after posting.)

Since I've never really had any major OS problems since I switched to a Mac in 2003, I'm not too sure what I need to do to make sure my system is running as smoothly as it should be.

So, is there anything I should/can do to check (or fix) the health of my OS? Or, any thoughts on what I might be dealing with, based on the limited info I've given here.

Thanks!
( Last edited by TribeLeader; Feb 19, 2010 at 04:15 PM. )
     
dedalus
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Feb 19, 2010, 06:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by TribeLeader View Post
Last week, I tried to install a new printer (an Epson Artisan 810). I haven't fully installed it but I've had trouble with the online software from Epson (Epson blamed the OS). Basically, running the installer crashes and sometimes freezes other parts of the OS.
What do you mean, you haven’t fully installed it? The way you’re describing it sounds as if Epson haven’t actually tested their driver for OS X compatibility. If that’s the case, you might want to return the printer and buy one from a company who actually care about maintaining compatibility.

I've also been running Google Chrome since it became available for Mac. The first beta version I used was extremely stable, but the last two betas have been very unstable.
Have you tried going back to the first beta? They do call them ‘betas’ for a reason.

Since I've never really had any major OS problems since I switched to a Mac in 2003, I'm not too sure what I need to do to make sure my system is running as smoothly as it should be.
Don’t expect third party beta software and drivers to be up to Apple’s standards, they haven’t had the time or incentive to attain to their standard. Most of the shareware devs try their best, but for companies such as Epson and Google, OS X is not a priority.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Feb 19, 2010, 07:03 PM
 
Thanks for the reply.

By not "fully installed" I meant that I haven't fully switched printers yet. I couldn't upload the combo software from Epson's site or even the printer driver, but was able to load a driver through OS X's add printer function. I was able to finally load some of the Epson software (Easy CD and the scanner driver). At first I was able to print, then I wasn't (haven't tried scanning yet). I'm going to try to work on it some more later.

If I may ask, what's the easiest/best way to go back to the first beta, should I need to do that?
     
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Feb 19, 2010, 07:12 PM
 
the built-in OS X CUPS drivers may work just fine for printing.

The twain sane software may let you scan using OS X's Image Capture app. Download TWAIN SANE for Mac - Scanner software works with large range of scanners. MacUpdate Mac Software Downloads

This would avoid messy stability issues potentially caused by lousy third-party drivers, software, or background processes running because of that software.
     
dedalus
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Feb 19, 2010, 07:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by TribeLeader View Post
If I may ask, what's the easiest/best way to go back to the first beta, should I need to do that?
I’m not a Chrome user, but I would imagine the installer would leave some kind of log file. What I would do is re‑run the original installer (If there’s an ‘Uninstall’ option, just do it, you’re done and can ignore the rest of this post) with the logging option activated in the menu bar (in my experience, most if not all apps do have that option), then manually delete every file that got installed, before re‑installing the earlier version. It doesn’t work for every application, but that would be my first port of call.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Feb 22, 2010, 12:39 PM
 
Thanks.

Chrome has actually been pretty stable with the latest update *after* I got it going. I had a bunch of windows and a ton of tabs open when the previous version crashed. When I restarted in the new version, it hung up trying to open all my windows and tabs. Anyway, seems to be working well, now.

Now, I'm ready to jump back into the printer installation. BTW, does the TWAIN Sane software only scan images (image files)? What about OCR? Sorry, it's been a long time since I've used a scanner.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Feb 26, 2010, 07:32 PM
 
Seems to be RESOLVED.

I finally got some time (and the mental energy) to get the Epson printer working fully. I tried installing Epson's software on my wife's MBP and it worked. Before trying to install it on mine, I thought I'd repair permissions and restart (not sure if that's necessary or not, but I was at a loss). When I tried to restart, my menu bar and dock disappeared and my computer froze with the wallpaper image still visible (I remember this happening a couple weeks ago).

Then, I thought I'd try installing the combo update of 10.6.2 (I had updated via Software Update) ... and then I was able to install the software (and print). Hopefully, that's take care of the other stuff, too.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 14, 2010, 05:04 PM
 
UPDATE:

Printing with the Epson is working. Browsing with Chrome, not so much.

For the time being, I'm going back to Safari to see if I have any problems, but it might be a week or two before I feel safe knowing that it was Chrome.

Usually, when I realize there's a problem, really weird things begin happening -- pressing Cmd+Tab to switch apps works but the icons are invisible, Restarting doesn't work and I have to power off manually, etc.).

Can a browser (even a beta) have that much impact on the stability of the OS?

If it's not the browser, I'm not sure what it is.
     
dedalus
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Mar 15, 2010, 08:17 AM
 
If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say those crashing installers, OS freezes, and manual reboots have caused directory damage.

Does Disk Utility find any problems?
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 15, 2010, 11:06 AM
 
Thanks. I'll take a look.

... Just checked (Verify Disk) and got the following ...

----

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Performing live verification.
Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
Checking extents overflow file.
Checking catalog file.
Checking multi-linked files.
Checking catalog hierarchy.
Checking extended attributes file.
Incorrect number of extended attributes
(It should be 226893 instead of 226892)
Checking volume bitmap.
Volume bitmap needs minor repair
Checking volume information.
Invalid volume free block count
(It should be 105180454 instead of 105180450)
The volume Macintosh HD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired.
Error: This disk needs to be repaired. Start up your computer with another disk (such as your Mac OS X installation disc), and then use Disk Utility to repair this disk.

----

So, what's the best way to do this? Insert installation disk or I've also read about DiskWarrior, but is it necessary or worth the money?

Thanks.
( Last edited by TribeLeader; Mar 15, 2010 at 11:18 AM. )
     
P
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Mar 15, 2010, 01:29 PM
 
Try booting from the installation disk first. If that won't work, Diskwarrior.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 15, 2010, 02:43 PM
 
Probably a dumb question, but how do I do this ... insert disc, then restart? or ...?

Thanks!
     
Simon
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Mar 15, 2010, 03:23 PM
 
1.) insert installation disk
2.) reboot and hold c
3.) once the installer has launched go to the Utilities menu and chose Disk Utility, then select disk and hit Repair Disk
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 15, 2010, 10:34 PM
 
Success! I restarted with the installation disc and repaired the disk with Disk Utility.

Thanks so much!
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 16, 2010, 12:13 AM
 
Good grief.

I thought maybe the problem was NOT Chrome after all, so I used it for about an hour or so after repairing my disk when weird things started happening again (Chrome became unresponsive, blank pages, etc.). Even after force quitting Chrome, whole system acted weird -- my Finder windows were all empty (home folder, applications, documents, downloads, etc. even though the file icons showed up in the dock icons).

Had to manually reboot the computer again. Ran Disk Utility and it didn't report any disk errors. Fortunately, my files reappeared in the folder windows after restarting.

I'm going to STOP using Chrome and see how it runs. I should've known, I guess -- *every* time I've had problems, I was using Chrome. I must be a slow learner.
     
Big Mac
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Mar 16, 2010, 03:35 PM
 
No application software should cause you stability problems. I think the cause of your problem is to be found elsewhere.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Mar 16, 2010, 04:25 PM
 
Do you have the system discs that came with your computer? Insert the Install DVD, then restart and hold down the D key. This will bring up the Hardware Test utility. Go ahead and scan your computer.
"…I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
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you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 16, 2010, 11:24 PM
 
Thanks for the replies.

I inserted the original installation disc and ran the hardware test -- both the basic hardware test and the hour-plus extended test -- neither found any problems.

One of the common/recurring problems, though, is that when I click Restart, the Dock and menu bar go away but then the system freezes. That happened when I tried restarting after inserting the installation disc this time and the time above. (And I wasn't using Chrome this time.)

Guess I'm still searching for solutions!
( Last edited by TribeLeader; Mar 17, 2010 at 02:47 AM. )
     
AKcrab
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Mar 16, 2010, 11:52 PM
 
Bad RAM.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 17, 2010, 12:56 AM
 
The RAM passed the Apple Hardware Test, but I read that that's not always reliable. So I downloaded and ran the more extensive RAM tester, Rember, and it passed all tests.

Thanks for all the help so far!
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 17, 2010, 08:03 AM
 
Hopefully, this will help give more clues ...

After a little sleep, I realized that I haven't seen my automatic backups to Time Capsule in a while. Again, I must be a slow learner -- I just checked and my last backup was Feb 10, 2010 (original post was 2/19 so 2/10 would've been around the time I had trouble installing the Epson software).

Time Machine in the menu bar is in perpetual motion, saying, "Preparing for Backup." I click to stop backup, now it's continually saying "Stopping Backup."

But my wife's MBP is performing regular backups.
( Last edited by TribeLeader; Mar 17, 2010 at 08:11 AM. )
     
Big Mac
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Mar 17, 2010, 10:05 AM
 
If you've reinstalled your OS and you're still having stability issues, it's most often going to be a hard drive or RAM problem. The Time Capsule issue could indicate a problem with your source drive. Did you repair your drive yet?

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 17, 2010, 11:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
If you've reinstalled your OS and you're still having stability issues, it's most often going to be a hard drive or RAM problem. The Time Capsule issue could indicate a problem with your source drive. Did you repair your drive yet?
"Repair Disk," right? Yes, I did that.

I don't doubt that it's the RAM of the drive ... I just wish the hardware tests would've revealed that. What's the best/easiest (and cheapest ) way to determine for sure?
     
Big Mac
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Mar 17, 2010, 11:54 AM
 
Both are relatively easy to test with certainty - using different (or reduced) RAM, and using a different startup drive. You can pull your third party RAM and just use the original Apple RAM for a while. If the problem is resolved then it's a problem with one or more of the modules you pulled. With your hard drive, you can clone it to a new drive and run off of that, or run off of some other drive you have (like a backup drive) to see if the problem is to be found there.

Perhaps you mentioned it before, but have you tried reinstalling the OS yet?

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 17, 2010, 12:05 PM
 
Thanks. I reinstalled the latest combo update (10.6.2), mainly because I had done so via Software Update last time (is that what you mean?). I was able to install the Epson software after that.

And in case it helps, my MBP is less than a year old and includes the original "4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB" that came with my Mac.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 17, 2010, 03:45 PM
 
BTW, just to summarize some of the above things that have happened, this is how I remember, and view it, in hindsight ...

1. Attempt to install Epson software but the installers kept freezing.
2. Sometimes system would become unresponsive (or do really weird things) especially in Chrome but I couldn't open other apps. Had to manually restart a few times.
3. Reinstalled 10.6.2 combo update and then was able to install Epson software with no problems.
4. Some days later (?) instability returned -- mainly in or while using Chrome (but then again, I use a browser a lot so it may or may not matter what app I was using).
5. Ran Verify Disk and found errors. With Mac OS X disc, I ran Repair Disk.
6. Still experiencing problems (Restarting almost never works when I need to restart), so I ran the basic and extended Apple Hardware Tests (no problems found). Also downloaded/ran Rember to test the RAM. Again, no problems found.
7. Noticed problem with Time Machine (last backup on 2/10). Apparently, my icon has been whirling continuously until I force quit it (Time Machine is working on my wife's MBP to shared Time Capsule). Not sure it matters, but the new printer is plugged in to the Time Capsule for network printing. Could there be a connection/problem there? I am unable to Stop Backup or Enter Time Machine.

I think that's it. Is there anything else I can do/try on the OS side before further manually testing hardware manually?

Thanks!
     
Big Mac
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Mar 17, 2010, 04:11 PM
 
Reinstall the OS, not just the combo update. The Epson installer may have partially installed and could be causing you problems even if you think it isn't installed.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 17, 2010, 04:31 PM
 
Okay. I've never reinstalled the OS before. How do I do it?

Actually, I'm reading this page: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.h...6/en/8177.html.

One thing I'm not clear on is the statement - "You can reinstall Mac OS X while keeping your files and user settings intact." Is there anything I need to know or do to keep my files/settings intact?
( Last edited by TribeLeader; Mar 17, 2010 at 05:12 PM. )
     
Big Mac
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Mar 17, 2010, 05:52 PM
 
I don't think there's anything you need to know. Snow Leopard supposedly makes this even easier. In Leopard and below to effect a proper reinstallation you had to choose an "Archive and Install" and click an option to preserve your users and settings. But in Snow Leopard you just choose to reinstall. I haven't had to do it so I don't know if there's anything special to it, but I don't think there is.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 17, 2010, 08:30 PM
 
Thanks for all your help. I'll give it a shot later tonight (after a movie).

But a question (out of curiosity): What's the difference between reinstalling OSX from my Snow Leopard disc (10.6) and reinstalling the combo update (10.6.2)? I'm sure there must be a difference, I'd just like to know.

Also, after reinstalling Snow Leopard, I'll still need to update it to 10.6.2, right?

Thanks again!
     
Big Mac
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Mar 17, 2010, 09:22 PM
 
The combo update is an update that installs new versions of select files that got changed in that release. A reinstall of the OS itself reinstalls the whole OS.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
AKcrab
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Mar 17, 2010, 09:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by TribeLeader View Post
Also, after reinstalling Snow Leopard, I'll still need to update it to 10.6.2, right?
Correct.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 18, 2010, 02:05 AM
 
Well, I successfully reinstalled 10.6 and updated to 10.6.2 (and ran Software Update).

I'll wait to proclaim victory, but it was nice to be able to actually Restart a couple times after the updates -- Restart hasn't worked in a while!
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 18, 2010, 07:30 PM
 
My Mac has been stable today (after reinstalling 10.6 last night).

But, I just tried setting up Time Machine and it's not working, doing the same thing as before. I re-setup Time Capsule and Time Machine got stuck on either "Making Backup Disk Available." I had to force quit System Preferences after it stopped responding. When I click on "Stop Backing Up," it hangs on "Stopping Backup."

By way of review, my problems all started around the time of having trouble installing Epson software; that's when my last Time Machine backup was, as well. I eventually got the Epson installed (after reinstalling combo update of 10.6.2). But I continued having other problems that led to reinstalling the whole OS.

I just tried to open Disk Utility, but it freezes immediately. Everything seemed to be working until I tried setting up Time Machine.

Re: System Preferences, I can open it and go into any area *except" Time Machine. As soon as I do, spinning beach ball.

Any ideas/suggestions?

Thanks!
( Last edited by TribeLeader; Mar 18, 2010 at 08:31 PM. )
     
Simon
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Mar 19, 2010, 03:26 AM
 
If you have a second disk available, I'd suggest you set up a new TM backup on a formatted disk. See if it backs up to that new disk. Try to find out if it's your old TM backup that's causing the hanging or TM itself.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 19, 2010, 11:06 AM
 
Cool. That sounds like a plan.

I have an extra external hard drive that I used for backups before I got Time Capsule. I think it still has old (manual, not Time Machine) backups on it. You mentioned formatting, do I simply need to erase the extra/external hard drive?

Thanks!
     
Simon
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Mar 19, 2010, 11:48 AM
 
You can try setting up TM on another disk w/o formatting the disk, but I figured if you can format, it'll be one less source of error you'd have to rule out.

To format a disk, open Disk Utility, select the disk, and erase it.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 20, 2010, 09:27 PM
 
Thanks, Simon.

Posting from my wife's MBP, my MBP is backing up to the external hard drive as I type!

It'll take a while but it'll be good to have a current/recent backup since my one was on Feb 10, until I can get my Time Capsule straightened out.

Now, what exactly does this mean, and what do I do about it? If it's a problem with my backup, is it simply a matter of erasing it on Time Capsule (assuming I can do it without it freezing on me)?

Thanks again for *all* of the help so far!
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 20, 2010, 10:51 PM
 
After the backup, I played around a bit (not really knowing what I'm doing) with Time Machine.

One problem: when I go into Time Machine in the menu bar and click on "Enter Time Machine," at first I was getting "Time Capsule cannot be found." The last time, it tried connecting, but froze. System Preferences stopped responding. As soon as System Preferences freezes, then Disk Utility freezes as well.

Time to (manually) restart. This time, I'll wait for guidance! :-)
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 23, 2010, 08:18 PM
 
I'm hoping to work on this again in the next couple days. I'm planning to delete the backup file on Time Capsule, is that right? Is there anything else I need to do?

Thanks!
     
Big Mac
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Mar 24, 2010, 03:06 PM
 
Rarely a stalled process dealing with disk activity can cause all disk activity to grind to a halt, which manifests as a beach ball in applications trying to access the disk. That should be a very rare occurrence. It really sounds like your startup drive could be dying, especially if you continue to see that symptom.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 29, 2010, 07:20 PM
 
Yeah, I don't doubt it.

Not sure why I wouldn't have any problems backing up to an external disk, though. Problems seem to be limited to the backing up to the Time Capsule.

I haven't had a chance to work on it again yet, but I haven't had any problems in the last week with Time Machine turned off, for whatever that's worth.

My plan is to delete the backup on Time Capsule and then try turning on Time Machine again. We'll see.
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Mar 29, 2010, 10:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by TribeLeader View Post
Yeah, I don't doubt it.

My plan is to delete the backup on Time Capsule and then try turning on Time Machine again. We'll see.
BTW, I'm okay to delete this backup/file (ending ".sparsebundle"), right? I have a more recent backup on an external hard drive.

Just making sure. Thanks!
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Apr 3, 2010, 01:42 PM
 
Okay, I think this is really RESOLVED this time.

A few days ago, I deleted the backup file from Time Capsule and then did a new backup. It worked. And the hourly backups have been working as well. My guess is the backup was corrupted when I had trouble installing the Epson software (which kept crashing).

As I said in the OP, this was my first major troubleshooting issue since switching to Mac in 2003, so it's been a real learning experience.

Thanks for all the help/suggestions along the way!
     
   
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