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Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:09 pm

My other half has a 2013 MacBook Air which has done good service, but has become incredibly slow and I can't figure out why.

This morning it was taking ages to do the simplest things, even though there were only three apps open: Mail, Firefox and MS Word. Activity Monitor showed the CPU running at something like 85 percent idle, and plenty of free memory. There is adequate space on the drive and it's an SSD so fragmentation shouldn't be an issue.

I have tried the usual things like resetting the parameter RAM, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

Any idea what might be up with it?
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Re: Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:19 pm

Does it behave the same after a reboot?
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Re: Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby Kwackman » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:36 pm

Long shot, it wouldn't be updating automatically in the background? Big Sur is just out?
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Re: Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:43 pm

Rebooting makes no difference, and no, I don't think it's updating in the background -- this is an issue that has been apparent for a while.
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Re: Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:54 pm

Time for Disk Warrior?
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Re: Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby desmond » Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:03 pm

Not if it’s running APFS!
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Re: Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby paddy2424 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:22 pm

Hi Sam,

You may have already tried, but I think Mac’s disk utility has a means to test the hard drive (and pretty sure it has a repair function too). Might be worth a shot.

Good luck and let us know how you get on - could be useful info for future reference.
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Re: Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby FirstTiger » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:35 am

Apparently the release of Big Sur has caused all kinds of issues with Apple's servers, which in turn causes all kinds of odd issues with Mac laptops and desktops. Might be entirely unrelated, but worth bearing in mind. What happens if you disable the network?

https://www.theregister.com/2020/11/13/ ... s_big_sur/
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Re: Diagnose a Mac problem?

Postby Matt Houghton » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:46 am

A couple of unlikely bit possible causes...

Mail once brought my old 2011 MBP to an almost-standstill. I ditched Mail and all was well again.

Another culprit on my 2013 MBP turned out to be a (known by Apple!) problem with the graphics accelerator. The one on the built in Intel chip worked fine, but the Nvidia one was not behaving. I use GFXstatus to turn it off and that helped. But some apps, notably Firefox overrode those settings and tried to use the accelerator anyway... things slowed to a crawl, fans fired up and eventually the computer started crashing often. I limped on with that system for a couple of years, but had to make sure I used apps that didn't try to access the accelerator.

Are there any other services running in the background? Eg Dropbox syncing, Adobe CC and so forth? You should be able to see in the activity monitor what processes are consuming most power/CPU/RAM etc...
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