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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Very slow start up . . .

Very slow start up . . .
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mcvinnie
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Apr 2007
Status: Offline
Apr 15, 2007, 05:02 PM
 
Hello everyone,

New user on this forum. Hoping someone here might be able to help me.

My G4 Power Book has recently been taking a long time to start up, and then when it has started up programs like mail & safari take ages to start up and run slowly for a few minutes.

Until recenlty, my Power Book started up very quickly but now it sits with the grey apple logo and the grey spinny thing for about 4 or 5 minutes, then I get a blue screen for about a minute before the progress bar appears and very slowly fills up, where it used to just zip along in a few seconds. Once the progress bar is full I get my desktop image, then the top menu bar appears. After a while I get the dock. Then the spinning rainbow wheel (of doom) spins for a while before my files on my desktop appear. Some time after this, the other icons on the top menu bar appear, like the battery, volume, wi fi and clock. This all takes about 10 minutes when I used to be up and running less than 2 minutes. Only then can I open my email and even then it runs like a slug for another 3 or 4 minutes.

Spec: PowerBook G4, 1.5 GHz PowerPC, 1Gb ram, 80 Gb hard disk (54 Gb free), running OS X (10.4.9)

I have recently downloaded a couple of programs, like a 30 day trial of a xml editor and a program for ripping DVDs on to my video iPod, but I'm sure my machine booted up fine for a couple of days after installing these programs.

Can anyone suggest any measures that I could take to try and improve the performance of my PowerBook? It would be great if you could.

Cheers for now,

Ross

     
seanc
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cambridge, UK
Status: Offline
Apr 15, 2007, 05:19 PM
 
BACKUP ALL OF YOUR IMPORTANT DATA RIGHT NOW!
These are the classic symptoms of hard drive failure. Do NOT use your PowerBook for anything other than backing up your work, using it more will only make it more likely to fail quicker.

If you don't have backups, GET IT ALL OFF NOW, then we'll cover repair later in this thread.
     
Big Mac
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Apr 15, 2007, 05:35 PM
 
It could be a bad drive, or it could be bad RAM.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
seanc
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Location: Cambridge, UK
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Apr 15, 2007, 05:39 PM
 
Big Mac, true about the RAM, but thinking worst case scenario being the hard drive and data loss, better to do that first.
     
Big Mac
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Apr 15, 2007, 05:47 PM
 
I do agree. One should have a current backup regardless.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
romeosc
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Memphis, Tn. USA
Status: Offline
Apr 15, 2007, 05:53 PM
 
If you have connected to a network and it is nolonger available, your PB will continue looking for it for several minutes.... since you said mail and Safari are extra slow starting up, I would check network preferences!
     
mfbernstein
Senior User
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: San Jose
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Apr 15, 2007, 08:05 PM
 
After backing up, take a look at the Console app (in Utilities) right after starting up. See if there are any errors, complaints, etc. For testing RAM, memtest is the best, although typically bad RAM leads to random crashes, not merely slowdowns. Also, you've checked that all your RAM is being recognized (in About this Mac), right?
     
Klipse
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Apr 15, 2007, 08:47 PM
 
backup your hard drive, replace it and do a complete reinstall. your problem should be solved.
     
Javizun
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Apr 15, 2007, 10:09 PM
 
Like others mentioned -back up your hard drive. I recall back 2 years ago with a powerbook i had the same problem disregarded it and then one day i recall the computer did not want to turn on no more hence i lost all my information. And i could not recoever it.

;( Sad memories-since then i backup all my info every week just to make sure.
A.I.R (ART IS RESISTANCE)
     
tocrawfo
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Virginia
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Apr 15, 2007, 10:43 PM
 
I would have to agree, it sounds like a possible hard drive failure. On the powerbook restore cd's, the first disc contains the Apple Hardware Test. Put the first recovery cd, and hold down the option key and a AHT CD icon should show up, it has a basic hardware test for ram, memory, logic board etc.. Run the extended test, that should tell you if the hard drive is bad or not.
A+, ACDT, ACPT
     
mcvinnie  (op)
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Apr 18, 2007, 05:00 AM
 
Alright people,

Thanks for that. I am in the process of backing up now.

Any thoughts on what to do next regarding repair?

     
Simon
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Location: in front of my Mac
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Apr 18, 2007, 05:20 AM
 
After the backup is complete...

• Check the HDD: /Applications/Utilities/DiskUtility -> does the SMART status verify? What happens when you hit "Verify Disk"? Are permissions ok (although I doubt that's causing your issues)?
• Run Apple Hardware Test (boot from the install DVD and press d to launch it) -> does it report any errors?

If you find no hardware errors at all, you could try an A&I of OS X (boot from the Install DVD, install OS X over the existing installation with the Archive & Install option). That should replace all the system files with a fresh copy. See if that helps.
     
mcvinnie  (op)
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Apr 18, 2007, 06:45 PM
 
Hello again,

I had a look at the disk utility and asked it to verify the disk as you suggested. Here is the message that I got:

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Checking HFS Plus volume.
Checking Extents Overflow file.
Checking Catalog file.
Invalid key length
The volume Macintosh HD needs to be repaired.

Error: The underlying task reported failure on exit


1 HFS volume checked
Volume needs repair

I am just sourcing the start up disks, mine are in storage about 350 miles away so I am going to use a friends disks tomorrow, and see what repairs I can do.

Other than that, I have been given a price of around £100 to install a new hard drive, if turns out that is what is required.

Thanks again,

Ross
     
Simon
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Location: in front of my Mac
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Apr 19, 2007, 03:48 AM
 
OK, so obviously your partition needs repair. Boot from the install DVD. When the installer is ready, go to the menu and select DiskUtility. Run "Repair Disk" on the partition causing problems. Run it until it displays no errors. Then reboot from your HD.

Of course the volume corruption could come from hadrware issues with the HDD. Did you check he SMART status of the drive (in DiskUtility, select the drive [the entire drive, not just the partition!] and check the bottom of the window where it says SMART status)? Did it verify?
     
mcvinnie  (op)
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Apr 19, 2007, 04:45 AM
 
Yes,

At the bottom of the disk utility window it reads

S.M.A.R.T Status : Verified

I take it this is a good thing?
     
Simon
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Apr 19, 2007, 09:19 AM
 
That's good, but sometimes disks fail even though the SMART status never failed. It's not very reliable.

Try booting form the installer DVD and repairing the disk. If that doesn't solve the issues, check what AHT reports.
     
mcvinnie  (op)
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Apr 23, 2007, 08:27 AM
 
I have now run the disk repair from the start up DVD and it seemed to go ok. It checked the disk and reported 2 bad names, or illegal names, I can't remember. It then ran through the repair process and that seemed to be fine. Only thing is, the problem is just as bad as ever.

You metioned checking what AHT reports. How would I do that?

(sorry for being dumb)

Ross
     
Simon
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Apr 23, 2007, 10:48 AM
 
I already wrote how above:

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
• Run Apple Hardware Test (boot from the install DVD and press d to launch it) -> does it report any errors?
     
Appleman
Mac Elite
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: France
Status: Offline
Apr 4, 2008, 02:20 AM
 
Does anybody have experience with SMART Utility It says that one of my two disks have problems, while DiskWarrior, Disk Utility and Hardware Check (Apple) do not indicate problems.
I have backups via Time Machine, so I would think that's ok, or should I worry like hell, and quickly buy a new disk?
Thanks.
     
Cold Warrior
Moderator
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Location: Polwaristan
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Apr 4, 2008, 02:28 AM
 
Zombie thread. Make a new thread and link to this old one.
     
   
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