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I have a 2 year old Macbook Pro. Recently, whenever a program accesses the disk, I get the spinning beach ball of death for 10-15 seconds. This happens, for instance, when I am attaching a photo to this post, or when I hit 'save' in a Microsoft Word document. It even happens the first time I create a new tab in Chrome/Safari, although I'm not sure why this would access the disk. It is not getting noticeably worse, but it is annoying enough to require action. I am not really a hardware / systems expert so it's possible this is not actually a disk problem, but other system resources seem to be OK.

I have tried:

  • disk repair
  • defragging
  • killing hog processes via Activity Monitor (QuickLookHelper etc.)
  • uninstalling Spotlight and replacing with Quicksilver
  • changing energy settings, unchecking disk sleep etc

Nothing has worked. The next step seems to be to reinstall the HD?

Really not keen to do this as I have a gigantic amount of custom configs. Highly appreciate any help/advice. Here are some screenshots of system resources (each attached after enduring a 15 second spinning beachball of death!). Don't have enough reputation points to insert them directly. enter image description here

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Does it also happen with other user accounts? – Daniel Beck Feb 12 '11 at 18:06
Just tried this with a new user account -- yes, the problem is still there. – rabbit on rails Feb 12 '11 at 18:15
What is the SMART status of the drive? – Madison S Feb 14 '11 at 0:31

Do you always leave system on? Do Daily/weekly/monthly schedules? Have you added any widgets or Extensions to the browser lately?

You do realize when you defrag it, it can take awhile to settle back in to things because mac defrags the system on the fly, and only when you are around 90% or at least high 80's should you defrag the syetm.

I can say this much, I know with snow leopard cleaner if you have snow leopard, that I used the utility there to optimize my system and I noticed improvement.

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