Who wants to help me out?

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Quick question is at the bottom for those who don't want to read my story, but keep in mind that it may not seem very slow all the time but it is very noticeable during the slow times compared to the last 11 months I used it before.



Lately my computer (1Ghz rev A aluminum 15.2 inch powerbook) has become slow...not all the time and not in every task, it is more like a random slowness. It doesn't seem to bother me constantly but it happens atleast once a day and I find a restart helps it out a lot but it hasn't done as much lately. Some symptoms are; closing a safari window, although usually fast/normal, might take 30 seconds. Opening garage band, took 1.5 minutes and couldn't even play one piano track without the message of "computer can't handle this many tracks" or whatever it says, it was just one track though! It can usually handle many tracks. The computer also seems to be constantly warm to the touch and it wasn't before unless I played world of warcraft or did heavy motion video work. Also the general reponsiveness sometimes can be 30 secs to a minute for any random task like saving, closing window, opening window, minimizing window etc. Overall this problem is roughly only about 5-10% of my total computer time, the rest is snappy like usual. The problem is that it seems to be taking more and more time since about a month ago when I first noticed it (at that time it was only about 1 time a week)



I have no idea if this is the culprit but I used to notice a speed up when I quit safari but now the speed up may last only a couple of minutes before the symptoms return. Usually when I quit safari it takes maybe 15 secs at most, if I have lots of windows open, but when i have the "symptoms" it can easily take 30 seconds and sometimes more. The same is when I unplug my ethernet cable sometimes it takes a long time before the guts stop humming and then for a while the symptoms are gone. I am on a college campus and I hope no one is hacking my comp! My firewall is almost always on. On occasion my cpu cycles will go up to 70-90% and I am not in any applications except safari. It is always slow to do other applications when the cycles are taken up and i can see it on my konfabulator reader but sometimes it is slow and the computer "guts" whir and spin for a long time and the cycle reader shows nothing.



Questions. Is it possible that someone installed a spyware or some trojan on my computer? If it is, how do i detect it or delete it? Also, would it make a difference if I did a clean install to tiger when it comes out or if i just did an upgrade. I have already upgraded jaguar to panther. If I did a clean install, I would not want to lose many of the programs that I have now, and documents. Since I have a lacie drive I have everything backed up, If I returned these things to the computer or ran them from the lacie using the computer after a clean tiger install, would the problem (assuming its a spyware or whatnot) just come back onto my computer?



Thanks for the help guys.

PS. Unless someone else used my computer when I wasn't aware of it, I never am logged in as the root user.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Your CPU is being used 70-90%... but by what?



    Launch /Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor to see what apps are using what CPU and memory resources.



    Also, you mention Konfabulator - I finally stopped using it due to it using a lot more CPU than I expected. Not *that* much though.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    How much memory? I thought my 1.33GHz PB was slow when it only had the base 256MB RAM. 512MB more, and it's very nice. I'm not even doing anything heavy, you are using Garageband, Konfabulator, doing video editing, playing games.



    You can also see what's using your memory in the Activity Monitor.



    Who could use your computer without you knowing it?
  • Reply 3 of 15
    I have had a problem just like that, and the culprit was SAMBA sharing. It was very hard to pin down, even with top or the process viewer, because the windows sharing was spawning a bunch of very short lived sharing processes every second. Very few lived long enough to show up in the monitors, but the overall effect was a horrendous slowdown.



    The solution for me was to turn off windows filesharing for a few minutes and then things would be back to normal. I have no idea why it happened, or who was the cause.



    Hope this helps
  • Reply 4 of 15
    The 70-90% cpu usage is a rare event and unfortunately the times it has happened i quickly logged out to avoid whatever it was and whatever it could be doing to my comp. One time, however, I didn't and I just quit safari instead. The cpu usage dropped from 70% to about 15% but safari was acting strange that day. I will be using the activity monitor to check on cpu and memory usage and will keep my windows sharing off except when i need it. I appreciate the help and if I notice any improvements I will let you guys know.



    also, I have 512 megs of memory. If a program had a memory leak, would it show in the memory monitor window or would it just use the memory without my knowledge? I don't use any other programs when I use final cut pro or dvd studio pro and so they seem to run fine. On a side note, i know it should make my video work faster but if I added 256 megs of ram (i would like to add more but I am using 2 256 chips and so if i bought a 512 i would still need to get rid of one 256) would i notice a difference in everyday speed?
  • Reply 5 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally posted by shroud

    also, I have 512 megs of memory. If a program had a memory leak, would it show in the memory monitor window or would it just use the memory without my knowledge? I don't use any other programs when I use final cut pro or dvd studio pro and so they seem to run fine. On a side note, i know it should make my video work faster but if I added 256 megs of ram (i would like to add more but I am using 2 256 chips and so if i bought a 512 i would still need to get rid of one 256) would i notice a difference in everyday speed?



    There's something for you to see whether an app is leaking memory or not. Launch X11 or Terminal, and then type "ps -ux" and you'll have all the processes running on your machine (you can also type "top" or even use Monitor Activity). Every process will be associated to a PID (Process IDentifier).



    Remember the PID of the application you're not sure of, and type "leaks <the PID number of the app> | more" and read the two first lines : it'll tell you the amount of dynamic memory allocated, and the amount of leaked memory. Then it shows you what's written in the leaked memory blocks, which is no use here, so you can type "q" to quit, and you can test another process!



    Good luck
  • Reply 6 of 15
    well, yesterday i was typing up a case study and at random times the computer became so slow. it took up 45 seconds to open up my "macintosh HD" icon and another 45 to click on an open web page. (the web page was already open just behind the mac HD window). At that time the processor didnt show much usage using activity monitor. Later however, when i tried to print, the monitor went to 100% and stayed there for about 3 minutes, the fan came on, and all the noises you would expect were happening, like the hard drive, and etc. I notice lately if i keep safari or another app open for more than an hour the whole system slows. Seriously this is getting on my nerves. I never had a slowdown like what has been happening this last month before on this computer so i know it is not because it is old. Even expose stutters now and it never used to, especially never did with just 3 windows when i tested it!!



    I took pics of when the cpu was acting crazy and when i looked at them later, no processes show much at all, but the cpu was 100.



    I appreciate the help from you guys and will see if i can't figure it out eventually. I think i may just do a clean install with tiger when it's out and hope for the best because these random acts of stutter aren't kosher.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Well, unless you're willing to post here what apps are taking up the CPU time, we can't really help. \ (Heck, a quick glance could show whether the list was at least reasonable. ie, if there was a process that looked 'dodgy'.)



    So when Safari slows, Safari is not the process taking mucho CPU time? And it's not *just* Safari doing this? FWIW, right now Safari is taking 50-60% of my CPU due to the stupid Flash banner ads. (Note to self: install PithHelmet, block ads, get faster computer. woot.)



    Open Application Monitor and click on the System Memory tab. Any free space? (Green by default in the pie chart.)



    Also, you can select All Processes in the Show popup up top, then click on the CPU% column header to get it sorted by that. (Click again if it shows 0.0% at the top to get it sorted greatest -> least.) This will show you all processes on your machine, ranked by how much CPU they suck. Keep it open, and next time things slow on you, take a peek over there and see what's pulling your system down. You could hit the Export button top left and save the stats as a .plist file to post here so we could peek at it. Or do a screengrab and post the image.



    Because right now my CPU is fluttering between 95-100%, and nothing is visibly slowing down...
  • Reply 8 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Because right now my CPU is fluttering between 95-100%, and nothing is visibly slowing down...



    CPU usage is not the problem in most "extreme slowdown" cases, actually. Most often, memory is the key. Mac OS X uses files to swap memory, instead of a dedicated partition on most UNIX operating systems (e.g. Linux), which makes swap memory even slower.

    Try to write a small app that leaks (or uses) huge amounts of memory, compile it and run it : Mac OS will freeze (not crash, only freeze) and even when you Control-C the app to exit it, the system takes some time to recover and clean everything. So memory leaks should be the key, here, that's my opinion.



    (BTW, it's not that Mac OS X is bad or anything. Try this on any UNIX, it'll freeze too. Try it on Windows and it may even crash!)
  • Reply 9 of 15
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Which is why I asked him to look at memory usage as well. We can't be hitting him with too many techie things at once, after all.



    shroud, just a guess, but when one app slows, do you start clicking other apps to see if they're any better, only to find that they're suddenly dogs too? Do you hear a lot of disk access during this? That would indeed be an indication of memory use going fubar.



    My mother was really bad at this. She'd have several apps open, that used quite a bit of memory each. One would hit a wall (say, oh IE, or Word, or... notice a pattern?), and she'd click on another. Then another. Then another. Then another. Then the first one. Then repeat. Her poor computer would go *INSANE* trying to keep up with her, loading one app's memory off of disk, then back out again to make room for another, ad nauseum. Took me a while to train her out of it.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Which is why I asked him to look at memory usage as well. We can't be hitting him with too many techie things at once, after all.



    shroud, just a guess, but when one app slows, do you start clicking other apps to see if they're any better, only to find that they're suddenly dogs too? Do you hear a lot of disk access during this? That would indeed be an indication of memory use going fubar.



    My mother was really bad at this. She'd have several apps open, that used quite a bit of memory each. One would hit a wall (say, oh IE, or Word, or... notice a pattern?), and she'd click on another. Then another. Then another. Then another. Then the first one. Then repeat. Her poor computer would go *INSANE* trying to keep up with her, loading one app's memory off of disk, then back out again to make room for another, ad nauseum. Took me a while to train her out of it.




    You're right, let's not flood him! Sorry about the geek stuff!
  • Reply 11 of 15
    kcmackcmac Posts: 1,051member
    Running acquisition? Limewire?
  • Reply 12 of 15
    hey guys. Well I have lots of screenshots from last few days and have noticed somethings but I don't really know how to put them on this forum from my comp. If someone can tell me, i have lots I can send.



    I have noticed that the computer will often lock up with safari and just sit there trying to do something but nothing happens, the CPU runs at 100 then but neither safari or the other apps show a total of 100 for combined cpu! strange right. I also noticed that printing locks up too and in fact many times things are down right super slow when the cpu isn't running hard and then after a while the cpu starts running hard but other times the cpu starts first and the lag is second. {edit: basically what i mean is sometimes it lags a long time before the processor will even kick in to speed it up sometimes and other times the processor seems overwhelmed and that might be the reason for lag}



    It just seems that many things can easily lock up or lag now. Actually, safari just shot up to 92 percent fairly steady and the only thing open is this window to type in! (and activity monitor) Sometimes, when "no" app is running, the computer will be laggy when i attempt to do anything and other times not. It is really random, but still getting worse all the time, i would say now it is about 60% of the day i notice lag. I cant open up idvd or garage band in less than 2 minutes and if i have a movie playing it jumps frame rates often....more so in windows media player but sometimes in quicktime. This is even when no others apps are on, including konfab. Sometimes i use moving desktop with the bossa full color background but i used that before the lagging started too.



    again, thanks for the help and I am still trying to see the memory and cpu and compare when my comp is lagging.



    Edit: I usually always wait it out for programs to do their thing and not click on others. But now even waiting it out takes forever with just one app, when only a few months ago i could have open many apps at the same time and it was much faster than now with one.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    Quote:

    Sometimes i use moving desktop with the bossa full color background



    Umm, have you tried doing without Moving Desktop for a while?
  • Reply 14 of 15
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    safari blockage is due to its asinine non-ability to process many animated GIFs (caused by the smilies in the reply window). Install Pith Helmet and select "GIF repeat: Once" in safari preferences once PH is installed.



    Off the top advice: run "repair permissions" from Disk Utility in your Utilities folder.



    Another question... does this insane CPU usage happen also when you are not connected to the net?



    CPU usage can rocket is you are downloading alot and uploading alot at the same time.



    With Azureus (Bittorrent client) I can usually DL about 5 torrents and seed another 5 for my CPU to shoot to 90% constant. Thats with 1.25GB ram and an old G4 733MHz proc.



    to post your images, make sure they're not PDF. You can setup a free .Mac account or, if you want, send them to me: zospam AT mac dot com and I'll help ya out
  • Reply 15 of 15
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    you know what



    forget what I said



    your system sounds fvcked.



    Take your install CD/DVD and do an archived install
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