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Fix my MacBook

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Smash Williams, May 7, 2010.

  1. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    My work laptop is a piece of shit MacBook that I swear has been possessed by the devil himself. It freezes up Safari, Word, Entourage and my front-end work software with no rhyme or reason, it spontaneously disconnects from the wireless in my house and reconnects to someone else's network (the other computer, also wirelessly connected, does no such thing), it's slow as hell in responding to my clicks, often gets stalled in the taskbar in one program while I'm actually in another and generally is a piece of trash.

    I'm sure part of the problem is the work software itself, which is Mac only but likely high RAM/memory, the age/hours/physical wear and tear on the thing and my bad habit of leaving it on most of the day since I tend to work in fits and spurts. But most of those aren't going to change or get better. It's certainly not going to get any younger.

    Short of getting work to by me a new one, any Mac-savvy person have tips to keep me from turning it into a very expensive doorstop and e-mailing all my stuff in?

    Edit: And the most pressing fix, is there ANY WAY AT ALL to turn on some sort of auto-save in Quark CopyDesk, where it does a Microsoft Word and saves a draft every 2-3 minutes so if the goddamm program crashes, you only lose the most recent work? I try to save very, very regularly because the program spontaneously shuts down at least three times a week, but even then I'll lose stuff that pisses me off.

    And we're not even getting into the problem where some pages with embedded auto-play video completely fuck up my Firefox but work in Safari when I have no problems with the same pages on other machines.
  2. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    This post is bullshit. According to everything I read everywhere on the Intertubes, there has never been an issue with a Mac. Ever. They are the Willie Mays of computers, the Stephen Hawking of processing. The Albert Einstein of graphic design work.

    Take your lies somewhere else, Smash.
  3. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    What do you think we look like -The Genius Bar?
  4. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    ;D I'm sorry, Smash. I know it's not a funny situation, but that was a funny post. Can you tell I'm not a Mac person? (Yet anyway.) I know somebody who just got a brand new Mac and is having a big problem with Firefox vs. Safari.

    I hope you get relief.
  5. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I have both Macs and Windows PCs. I do a lot of my creative work on Macs, because the publishing industry is Mac-centric. I am pretty computer literate -- networking, diagnosing problems, even can build a box from scratch. When it comes to the OS, Mac OS X *is* heads and tails better than Microsoft Windows in its various incarnations. There are several reasons for that. Windows is designed to run on lots of different hardware, which makes it ripe for more problems -- drivers, hardware incompatibility, etc. OS X runs on a more limited set of hardware, which automatically eliminates a lot of problems. That said, OS X is a lot more intuitive and has a more attractive graphical interface (what sits over the operating system) itself. It is also a more stable operating system than the various versions of Windows have been, and has been subject to fewer security flaws.

    Your post is funny and I chuckled, but a computer -- any computer -- is as good as the user, what it has been loaded down with in system memory (by user action), etc., other hardware you are using. For example, one issue Smash brought up was problems on his wireless network. Assuming he doesn't have a bad wireless card in his laptop (and it's likely not the problem), his wireless router is going to be the culprit, not his Macbook. The router usually is the problem -- especially with those consumer grade routers. They are often fickle. Then there are the issues that are user controlled. For example, if your router is causing your network problems and you are getting dumped from your network, it isn't some random happenstance when it is connecting to another network within your range -- under your network settings you can designate which networks your machine will automatically connect to. At some point you had to have accepted a connection to the other network and designated it as an automatic connection. It looks for your first SSID, and then it will look for the next one you designated. You can change that.

    As for the main problems, it's impossible to diagnose problems without specifics. What hardware, how much memory. What software and when is it locking up? Even then, none of us can probably help you, but given that OS X is incredibly stable and 99 percent of the software developed for it (the big commercial programs most people run) runs in a stable way, the best bet is that it is something you are doing and not the machine, unless you have a machine that is having hardware problems. Apple has several diagnostic tests to check your hardware, if you want to rule out some things. If you have a Macbook (with an Intel chip; not a laptop with one of the old G4 chips), put the operating system disc that came with it in your drive and while it is booting hold the letter D. That will load a hardware diagnostic that will test all of your laptop's components. If it is that you have a lemon computer, it should find hardware problems. If it isn't the hardware, it is software related and more likely, related to something you have done. The first thing I would do is go into your applications folder, go to the Utilities folder. And run Disk Utility. Verify the disk and repair your permissions. That may fix some of the freeze ups.
  6. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    Buy a PC.
  7. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    Ragu - it's not the router. I have another laptop (my personal PC one) hooked up wirelessly to the same router and it doesn't drop the wireless signal - in fact, that's mentioned in the first post! It also does the same thing at several different places, including schools where I would highly doubt the wireless fluctuates.

    The utilities thing is a good suggestion which I will try after work tonight. I do virtually 0 percent of my personal computing on Macs, so while I can usually beat my PC into doing what I want, I have no idea where to even start with a misbehaving Mac.

    Because it's a work computer, I don't know the specs or have the install discs, but if you tell me where to locate them on the computer itself (as far as available memory, OS number and other). It will freeze with virtually anything, but most often with Quark CopyDesk, Entourage, Safari and Firefox (roughly in that order). The spontaneous program shutdowns occur only with CopyDesk (85 percent of the time I have this problem, it's here) and Firefox.

    The post was 50 percent rant because it locked up AGAIN when I was nearly finished with a story, and I lost the last big chunk of work that I'd done and 50 percent "I know nothing about the general tricks and tips with a Mac - someone with more experience wanna pass any easy 'here's how you make an old beast run better' tips?" Please don't tell me how much better Macs are in general - I don't care. I just care about making the one I have stop being a pain in the ass.

    Edit: And giving it to IT isn't a real option. The department at my office is less-than-competent, and with each individual issue, their response has been "it's old - computers slow down when they're old." I don't particularly trust them with anything other than easy software or password fixes.
  8. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

  9. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Smash, You can have one machine communicating with the router and another that doesn't, and chances are it is still a problem with the router. Way too many finicky things can go wrong with it -- a DHCP server, for example can consistently resolve communication with one machine, but have problems with another machine.

    Try repairing permissions in Disk utility. I'd run the Apple hardware diagnostic the way I said to rule out that it is the machine itself and not software related. If you don't have it, google and see if you can download it.
  10. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    I tend to think it's the wireless card or a software issue just from the pattern of the AirPort signal indicator. It'll flash full signal, then nothing, then full signal, then nothing for several times in a row before picking up either the original or a secondary signal, and as I said, it happens in several different places with several different routers.

    I will try the permissions tonight when I get all today's gruntwork in. Thanks!
  11. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Worst. Game show name. Ever
  12. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    Try a program called "Main Menu." I have no idea why the hell it's called that, but it's a memory cleaner specifically designed for Macs.

    Then when you get that (if your Mac doesn't crash while downloading it), go to the menu and hit all of the following:
    >>>>> Clear user cache
    >>>>> Clear system cache
    >>>>> Empty browser cache
    >>>>> Clear browser history
    >>>>> Clean font caches
    >>>>> Preference files (do both "Verify preferences" and "Remove corrupted preferences")

    >>>>> Clean archived logs
    >>>>> Clean all logs
    >>>>> Remove temporary files
    >>>>> Flush DNS cache
    >>>>> Remove .DS_Store files

    That last one, Remove .DS_Store files will take a while as it will probably end up clearing files that have been on your laptop since the very first time it was turned on. When I first did it, it removed things from my laptop that had been on it since 2007.

    And you don't even have to buy it. There's a demo version that will remain active for about 2-4 weeks at least. If it works, then buy it. It's about $25.
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