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I have a problem with a white iMac 24" with a fresh install of Snow Leopard.

Occasionally the spinning beach ball appears for no apparent reason, and all applications become unresponsive. I can still move the mouse pointer, but all clicks are queued. After 10-15 seconds it returns to normal, and the OS performs any actions I tried to do while the ball was spinning.

What could this be?

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The best way to find the cause of this is to open Console and watch the output of Console when the ball spins. There can be a lot of issues leading to a beachball up to a failing of a hard disk, but more often there is some regular task which is causing a stall.

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