I've started seeing the beach ball cursor on my Mac a lot lately, and I haven't been able to track down the cause.

  • It happens even after restarting, with only a few applications running (basic stuff like Mail and Chrome, no complex web pages open)
  • I've let Spotlight indexing and Time Machine backups finish.
  • Activity Monitor doesn't show any memory or CPU hogs.
  • There is 92.3 GB free on my hard disk
  • Disk Utility said I needed to reformat my hard disk and restore from backup. I did, and now Disk Utility is happy, but the beach ball persists.

What else should I check? I wonder if my hard disk is getting flaky even though Disk Utility now reports no problems. This is an early 2011 15-in MacBook Pro with a 750GB disk and 4 GB RAM running OS X 10.10.

  • Bad hard drive? You might want to check for reallocated sectors using a SMART utility. – bwDraco Nov 20 '14 at 22:57
  • SMART Utility shows zero reallocated bad sectors. – Uncommon Nov 26 '14 at 16:53
  • SMART Utility's "long" test also completed without errors. – Uncommon Nov 27 '14 at 21:18
  • What does the "All Messages" log stream say just before/during/just after the beachballs happen? – Spiff Dec 5 '14 at 18:00
  • 1
    Try running without your antivirus. – harrymc Dec 6 '14 at 7:51
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I finally took my computer to the local Simply Mac store to see if they could fix it. They at first said it might be a faulty logic board. There had been a recall for that, and initial diagnostics pointed in that direction. But in the end they said it turned out to be corruption in the hard disk's partition map, which for whatever reason is not picked up by Disk Utility. They didn't say (or I don't remember) which software they used to fix it, but it seems fine now.

  • So reinstalling the OS might have fixed it? – rogerdpack Jan 8 at 13:27
  • 1
    Actually it got worse again after that. I'm pretty sure it was some other kind of hardware issue. I ended up getting a new computer. – Uncommon Jan 8 at 23:26

I know this is an indirect answer to your question, and normally, I try to answer a question here in SU, but in this case, I think a better place for your question (with the limited technical information you have right now) is Apple support. You have a legitimate laptop from a company that takes user experience very seriously. You have a clear and measurable performance problem with your Macbook. Why don't you:

My experience is that if you go to an Apple Store, people are willing to help you diagnose the problem free of charge, even if the product is out of warranty. At least than you'll know what is the problem and you can choose what to do next.

You have a three year old Macbook. I have a 2009 Macbook with 10.10, 8GB RAM, 1TB drive with 80GB free. About two years ago I had similar problems. Then it turned out to be Spotlight. Even if you see that it uses no system resources, turning this off is my first advice.

Have you tried to reinstall your system and use a clean account? Don't delete your old account, just try to see if there is a difference. You can then resuse your old account (complete home folder) and see if the problem reoccurs. If so, it's in your account. That means you have to rebuild your account - not a fun job!

My Macbook (not Pro) is slow, but usable. I'm going to install an SSD in the DVD bay. This may not be an explanation of your problem, but it will speed up your Mac as well.

I upgraded my Mac from 2GB to 8GB. To be honest I didn't notice any speed improvement then. I didn't do any tests, it was just my feeling. Maybe if I go back to 2 or 4 it would be a problem - no idea.

The range of possible problems is too vast for us to analyze by remote pilot. It might be simpler to Clean Install OS X Yosemite.

In case you have bad sectors on the disk, first format it using full (slow) format. If you have bad sectors, this will "fix" then by rewriting, or flag them as hard errors.

  • I did a slow reformat when I did a reformat and restore on Disk Utility's recommendation. Smart Utility reports no bad sectors now. – Uncommon Dec 11 '14 at 22:20
  • Bad sectors are areas where the magnetic fields have weakened with time. Rewriting restores the magnetism. Formatting does more by rewriting not only the sector-data but also its identifying header, which the disk-driver/firmware uses to find whether the reading head has reached that sector, so refreshing all the bits on the disk. – harrymc Dec 12 '14 at 6:33

It might be a cause of running an very old copy of os you have upgraded it but some packages might be corrupted ,Or Driver packages of your motherboard is got corrupted which is taking much time for responding,or because of some of your internal I/O device is taking much time for responding to CPU It might be Hard-Disk( but you have checked it. Is it taking much time for transferring data to your external Device like pend drive? Check that also ), Or may be a Bad Ram, etc...

My advice is to check by reinstalling all the drivers if it not solve then you could consider backing up the Mac with Time Machine, doing a clean install of OS X , and then restoring your stuff from a backup. That’s a very time consuming process though, and it’s not recommended unless you’ve exhausted all other options.

If still this doesn't solve your problem install the OS which has came with your MAC BOOK PRO, that will definitely solve your problem.

  • First of all, he is not running a "very old copy of os", but uses OS X 10.10, the latest version with probably all updates. Installing the OS that came with the four year old laptop will not solve his problems but make them bigger. Installing an insecure OS is a bad advice. – SPRBRN Dec 9 '14 at 15:10
  • @SPRBRN, I am not telling that he is running OLD version of OS X 10.10(its a latest one), I am telling that he might be upgraded his OLD copy of OS X to OS X 10.10. – Ali786 Dec 10 '14 at 4:59

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.