HELP: System Crash While Browsing Internet!!!

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014
I just bought a used powerbook g4 and when I browse certain websites, my whole system crashes/freezes and I have to manually reboot. I am running os 10.4. I had a diagnostic check and software/hardware checked out ok. Nobody knows what is the problem. I thought it was firefox, but it crashes on safari, too. It just happens randomly...can be searching the web for 5 mins or after an hour, it just depends if I go on a webpage and it just freezes! Example websites: shutterfly, myspace, target, walmart, youtube, etc.



Can anyone suggest anything? I am so desperate! Is it my airport wireless card or do I have missing plug-ins? Other programs work fine. I can play a dvd and nothing happens. Only when I am on on the internet does it completely freeze on me!



Islanda

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,820member
    When you say it "freezes", do you mean that the cursor stops moving, the keyboard stops responding, and you get no error messages at all?



    Or do you get a "spinning beach ball" cursor?



    Or do you get a message in several different languages telling you that you need to turn off the machine by holding down the power button?
  • Reply 2 of 19
    The first one! My whole system just stops working. My mouse/cursor doesn't move, keyboard won't respond, nothing! No error message at all...everything just freezes and I have to manually power off and back on.



    I've noticed that I cannot play iTunes, either, while surfing the net. It is so frustrating. I can't play videos, like on abc.com or YouTube.com. I have no idea which website it will do that to...it just happens randomly. Am I missing some kind of java file or plug-in? Is something wrong with my administrator file? So confused! HELP!
  • Reply 3 of 19
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,820member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    The first one! My whole system just stops working. My mouse/cursor doesn't move, keyboard won't respond, nothing! No error message at all...everything just freezes and I have to manually power off and back on.



    I've noticed that I cannot play iTunes, either, while surfing the net. It is so frustrating. I can't play videos, like on abc.com or YouTube.com. I have no idea which website it will do that to...it just happens randomly. Am I missing some kind of java file or plug-in? Is something wrong with my administrator file? So confused! HELP!



    Hmm? That kind of a crash on a Mac running OS X is very rare. The odd thing is that you would think it would probably be a hardware problem, but then it only happens on particular websites. (I've been using OS X since 2000 when the public beta was released, and none of the Macs I've used it on have crashed like that)



    It could be a corrupted OS file or damaged hard drive formatting I suppose.



    1.) Check the hard drive formatting.



    a.) Quit all running applications.

    b.) Launch "disk utility" (found in /Applications/Utilities/).

    c.) Select the HD in the column on the left.

    d.) Press the "verify disk" button near the bottom right of the window.

    e.) If that produces problems, restart from "install disc number 1" that should have come with your Mac.

    f.) Once booted from the CD (you'll be prompted to choose a language before you can do anything), instead of continuing the installation, choose disk utility from the menus and repair the disk.



    2.) If repairing the disk didn't help or the disk was fine anyway, re-install the O.S.



    a.) Boot from install disc number 1.

    b.) Choose "archive and install"; this will save all your settings and files.



    If you've still got problems after that, come back here.



    Good luck.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    Thanks for the advice Mr. H. Unfortunately, the problem still presists!



    I reinstalled the os and still saw the problem, so I took it in and had everything checked. The result: unfortunatley, they couldn't find a problem with software or hardware.



    I did a disk utility check and found a problem, so I repaired the disk and just went on YouTube.com and it crashed, yet again.



    I even did a hardware test and everything came out ok. I have NO idea what to do anymore.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,820member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    so I took it in and had everything checked.



    Took it where? An Apple Genius Bar?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    I even did a hardware test and everything came out ok.



    Unfortunately, there are many things that the hardware test doesn't pick up on.





    Have you installed any third-party software or connected any third-party hardware since re-installing the OS?



    How much RAM does the machine have?



    Do you have something you can back-up to (e.g. external HDD)



    Have you updated the OS to the latest version? (You can download the "combo" updater here)



    Try creating a temporary new user (open system preferences and go to "accounts"; click the padlock on the bottom left; press the "plus" button above the padlock icon; things should be obvious after that). Once the new user is created, log out of your account, and then log in as the new user. Does the problem persist in the new user account?



    Try resetting PRAM and PMU.



    Make sure the airport card is properly "seated" i.e. is pushed all the way in to its connector. There should be information about installing an Airport card into your machine in the instructions that came with it.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,560moderator
    This sort of thing used to happen in 10.3 and was caused by running Bittorrent - mainly Azureus. There was no fix posted for it as far as I recall but it shouldn't happen in 10.4.



    If it only happens when web browsing, it is likely a networking component (java, flash etc) but it may also be your hard drive. I used to have a Mini that would freeze up like that and it would do it at random. All the checks passed even until I had the drive replaced.



    If possible, what I would do is buy an external firewire hard drive (you should have one anyway) and clone your internal drive to it using superduper. Then boot from it and see if you get the same lock ups. If not, replace your internal drive and just clone your system back on.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    [QUOTE=Mr. H;1026450]Took it where? An Apple Genius Bar?



    I TOOK IT TO AN APPLE SPECIALIST AND ALSO TO THE APPLE GENIUS BAR. ONE SAID I HAVE A HARDWARE ISSUE, BUT DIDN'T IDENTIFY WHAT AND THE SECOND SAID I NEED TO HAVE MY LOGIC BOARD REPLACED. I CALLED APPLE'S 1-800# AND THEY SAID THEY THINK ITS A DEFINITE SOFTWARE ISSUE, BUT COULDN'T RESOLVE IT!



    Have you installed any third-party software or connected any third-party hardware since re-installing the OS? NO





    How much RAM does the machine have? 512



    Do you have something you can back-up to (e.g. external HDD) NO



    Have you updated the OS to the latest version? YES



    Try creating a temporary new user (open system preferences and go to "accounts"; click the padlock on the bottom left; press the "plus" button above the padlock icon; things should be obvious after that). Once the new user is created, log out of your account, and then log in as the new user. Does the problem persist in the new user account?



    I ALREADY TRIED THIS AND THE PROBLEM STILL PERSISTS.



    I JUST REALIZED THAT WHEN I USE DIAL-UP, I DON'T HAVE THIS PROBLEM AT ALL. ONLY WHEN I USE WIRELESS DOES THIS PROBLEM HELP...SO WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT MEANS? \
  • Reply 8 of 19
    What Is Superduper?
  • Reply 9 of 19
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,715member
    Honestly, this sounds like a RAM problem to me. You could have a bad chip.



    Question: Could you list all the software you have installed? If it's not the RAM I would suspect it's a software issue. Does this happen in any other environment (i.e. not on the web)?



    I could be something major like the logic board. I hate to tell you but if it's out fo warranty, you might as well buy a new machine if that's the case.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,820member
    I think it sounds more likely to be an Airport hardware problem, with RAM coming a close second.



    Have you tried re-seating the card like I suggested earlier?
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Honestly, this sounds like a RAM problem to me. You could have a bad chip.



    Question: Could you list all the software you have installed? If it's not the RAM I would suspect it's a software issue. Does this happen in any other environment (i.e. not on the web)?



    I could be something major like the logic board. I hate to tell you but if it's out fo warranty, you might as well buy a new machine if that's the case.



    SAD, THIS POWERBOOK IS LESS THAN A YEAR AND HALF OLD, SO HOW CAN IT BE THAT DAMAGED? I RE-INSTALLED THE OS, SO I HAVE NO OTHER SOFTWARE INSTALLED ON THIS SYSTEM, SO FAR.



    THIS ONLY HAPPENS WHEN I'M ON THE INTERNET BROWSING. DOESN'T HAPPEN WHEN I'M LISTENING TO A CD OR WATCHING A DVD...PERFECTLY WORKS. JUST INTERNET, FIREFOX, SAFARI, NETSCAPE, IF IT GOES ON A SITE IT DOESN'T LIKE, WHOLE SYSTEM FREEZE, UGH!



    HOW COULD YOU TELL IF IT IS A RAM PROBLEM?
  • Reply 12 of 19
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,820member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    How much RAM does the machine have? 512



    Presumably that is one stick? If not, shut down and remove one stick, see if problem persists. If it does persist, swap over RAM chips. If the freezes go away when running from only one of the RAM chips, the other was a faulty stick.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    Do you have something you can back-up to (e.g. external HDD) NO



    Get yourself an external drive asap. Hard drives can fail, sometimes without warning. Other problems can cause data loss. If you don't have any backup, you have only yourself to blame if something important or time-consuming-to-recreate is lost.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    What is SuperDuper?



    It is backup software. If you'd rather use free (actually, it's "donation-ware") software, I find Carbon Copy Cloner to be perfectly adequate for my needs.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,560moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    I JUST REALIZED THAT WHEN I USE DIAL-UP, I DON'T HAVE THIS PROBLEM AT ALL. ONLY WHEN I USE WIRELESS DOES THIS PROBLEM HELP...SO WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT MEANS? \



    That does suggest the wireless card like Mr.H said. Do you have access to the wireless modem/router so that you can use an ethernet cable directly into it? If so, run it like that and see if you get any problems.



    If the only time it happens is during wireless browsing then in order of likelihood, I'd say the problems would be:



    1. airport card

    2. hard drive

    3. ram

    4. logic board



    The reasons being that if it was the logic board, you'd generally see bigger problems than that like display glitches. If it was the ram, it wouldn't be limited to wireless networking and that's the same with the logic board. The only things that could really do this are the hard drive, wireless card and drivers. The hard drive could cause a crash at any time if it was bad but it may be accessing a corrupted area. Running it for a prolonged period of time over a fast wired network connection should narrow it down. I would do it for a few days and never touch the wireless internet if possible. Then you can be certain you need to do something with the airport card.



    The utility memtest is good for checking Ram:



    http://www.memtestosx.org/
  • Reply 14 of 19
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,715member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    SAD, THIS POWERBOOK IS LESS THAN A YEAR AND HALF OLD, SO HOW CAN IT BE THAT DAMAGED? I RE-INSTALLED THE OS, SO I HAVE NO OTHER SOFTWARE INSTALLED ON THIS SYSTEM, SO FAR.



    THIS ONLY HAPPENS WHEN I'M ON THE INTERNET BROWSING. DOESN'T HAPPEN WHEN I'M LISTENING TO A CD OR WATCHING A DVD...PERFECTLY WORKS. JUST INTERNET, FIREFOX, SAFARI, NETSCAPE, IF IT GOES ON A SITE IT DOESN'T LIKE, WHOLE SYSTEM FREEZE, UGH!



    HOW COULD YOU TELL IF IT IS A RAM PROBLEM?





    OK, does it get locked into caps lock too?



    Run that RAM test that Marvin linked to. Sometimes RAM fails or is incompatible. It could cause things like this because browsing can take a bit of RAM up. It's not an unusual problem. Check to see how many RAM modules you have through the system profiler and again, run that RAM test.



    If all comes out OK with the RAM, I agree it could well be a Hard Drive issue. My suggestion would be to get a good disk utility, check it out, repair any problems. Also, you can run Apple's Disk Utility by booting from the DVD (hold down C upon startup) and then running the verify disk feature. I would also suggest you run disk utility and repair your permissions.



    Also...make sure your system is up to date...did you do software update after you installed?
  • Reply 15 of 19
    Thanks for all your suggestions and advice! I'll try the ram test and see what happens.



    Here's an update:

    I installed Microsoft Office Pro and when I was using Word, it did a system freeze on me, so I guess it has to do more with just the internet. Ugh.



    However, I also installed Virtual PC and when I use Windows XP, I never have those problems that I listed earlier. I go on all these websites that would crash/freeze and everything seems to work perfectly. Absolutely no problems when using XP...isn't that odd? I thought it was the operating system, so apple sent me a replacement install disc, unfortunately they gave me 10.3 and after the install and software update...still crashes!



    But, why is everything work ok using Windows XP on my mac?
  • Reply 16 of 19
    rob05aurob05au Posts: 348member
    Do you have any third party Haxies?



    Do you have any add-ons for Safari?



    Can you post some info on what the error message say as that may also pin down what maybe the cause.



    Is the office 2004 Pro fully updated to 11.3.3 currently?



    Does the current system have all available updates applied?



    I will help to find a solution as i have had and seen some interesting problems.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,560moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Islanda View Post


    But, why is everything work ok using Windows XP on my mac?



    Well, XP is running from a hard disk image in Virtual PC, which means all the caches files are being written there and not to your main drive. This would suggest that the hard drive maybe has bad sectors on it. What error did Disk Utility give you the first time you ran it?



    Are there any entries in your log files? Check out /Library/logs and /var/log. To get to the latter one, you have to use the Finder Go menu. Look at system.log.



    Did you try running the system from an external drive?
  • Reply 18 of 19
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rob05au View Post


    Do you have any third party Haxies?



    Do you have any add-ons for Safari?



    Can you post some info on what the error message say as that may also pin down what maybe the cause.



    Is the office 2004 Pro fully updated to 11.3.3 currently?



    Does the current system have all available updates applied?



    I will help to find a solution as i have had and seen some interesting problems.



    No 3rd party haxies, no add-ons for safari. I don't get any error messages, it just freezes on me randomly. It actually happened when I was using Word, too. I applied all the system updates...still problem.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    APPLE sent me new install discs, because I thought that might resolve the problem. So, I have OS 10.3 installed and absolutely no other programs. I did the ram test and everything came out ok. I also did disk utility and everything comes out ok, too.
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