MacBook: It's all pinwheels

My MacBook has gotten really slow. Anytime I want to do anything I get a pinwheel. What can I do about this?

Have you tried to Repair Permissions? It’s located under Disk Utilities.

Edit: Disk Utilities

Keep the Activity Monitor open. Are you running out of memory? Is a particular process using lots of CPU? Try sorting it by CPU or memory descending.

Look in the Console, All Messages. Are there any errors or warnings just prior to the problem?

Both are in Applications/Utilities.

The SPOD is almost always related to low memory, forcing the system to page to disk. As others have mentioned, launch Activity Monitor and see how much free RAM is available. Also, look to see if some process has started hogging the CPU.

A bad hard drive will cause this, too.

Have you upgraded to Lion? My iMac was snailing horribly on it; I boosted the memory from 2gb to 4, and it got better.


Delete both folders. Delete the trash. Likely it will say a few files are in use. That’s ok, empty it again after the next time you restart.

Utilities > Disk Utilities > Repair Permissions
If this takes a long time, it was severerly f’d up and very much slowing your computer.

Check available drive space.

Upgrade your RAM. As you upgrade your OS, it’s memory requirements go up.

Reset Safari, clearing it’s cache.

One of the things that bugs me about OS X is it’s cache management.


Delete both folders. Delete the trash. Likely it will say a few files are in use. That’s ok, empty it again after the next time you restart.
Where are these located?

Back everything up. This is how my hard drive failed.

Thanks for all the suggestions. This is my progress:

Done. It didn’t take very long – about 10 minutes each to locate and then repair permissions.

System doesn’t seem to be using much, 5-10 percent.

I’m not sure how to monitor this, because it seems like the pinwheel comes up every time I try to do something, especially in Itunes. FYI, my Itunes library is on an external drive, because my internal one isn’t big enough.

Version 10.6.8. Is that Lion?

Can’t find them.

Over 118 GB available.

Current memory is 2 GB, 667 MHz, DDR2, SDRAM

How do you do that?

Seriously? :dubious:

Open your Finder window. That is the square blue and grey smiling face at the left end of your dock, assuming that you still have it on the bottom of your computer.

Click on the Mac HD or Macintosh HD.
Now see those four buttons in a row along the top of the finder window? The first one being four squares arranged in a square? Click on the third one. That makes it easier to drill down.

Now in the next column over from the HD, click on Library. In the new column that appears, there will be a Caches folder. Right click (Control + Click if you don’t have your right click set up) and delete it.

Then under Places on the left side, click on your Home folder, which has your name (or sign in name) and the little icon of a house. In the next column over, click on Library. In the next column, right click the Caches folder and delete it.

Ok, then click on Safari and open it up. When it says Safari next to the Apple in the upper left, click on the word Safari. Reset Safari is one of the options. You don’t necessarily have to remove cookies or autofill or passwords or anything like that, just make sure it clears the cache.

Restart your computer.

RAM, too, as I found out with my first MacBook Pro.

Off the cuff, I’d say buy a PC. Unfortunately, that’s all the help I can give you as I never touch a Mac except to remove it from my immediate vicinity.

Very useful, GQ-type response :frowning:

Thanks for the detailed instructions. Will do.

Go into Disk Utility and see what the SMART status of the drive is.


If you can afford the upgrade, max out your memory. just knowing that you have macbook with 667mhz memory tells me that 4GB is all your macbook can take, but that will make a big difference.

Th OP just wants his/her computer to work. Think about your snarky, unhelpful remark the next time you encounter a problem with a windows computer, and ask yourself how it makes you feel.

[moderator note]
Off the cuff, I’d say stay out of Mac threads if all you’re going to do is play Windows fanboy. Then maybe the Apple fanboys will stay out of the Windows threads, too, and everything will get more constructive.

Don’t do this anymore.
[/moderator note]

Okay, I deleted the caches as per Chimera’s instructions and I also zapped the P-RAM about a half dozen times. Things seem to be improved, but I’ll watch it for a few days to see how things are going.