Sunday, May 07, 2017

Computer Is Fixed

It took a lot of time, a lot of reading online, along with trial and error following suggestions on fixing a hard drive that was freezing (hanging up) with just the simplest tasks. I thought I had it fixed the other night after my computer had a major crash, but I was trying to see if an easier way would work ... it did not.

So after days of thinking about it and doing a little more reading to make sure I had the process down so I would not lose my 300Gb's of files, I started the process as soon as I woke up this morning. I was going to erase my hard drive and install everything from scratch.


It wasn't long on Thursday before I started seeing the "spinning beachball" that Apple has designed for when software, websites or apps are not responding. For Window PC users, its the "hourglass" that never goes away when your computer is hung up.

I tried the three major browsers, some result. I tried using different apps to clear out old files that were possibly left behind when I deleted an app or a program. I tried maintenance programs to analyze and repair the hard drive in case it was damaged. Obviously there were some gremlins deep inside my computer that needed to be removed.

So I was nearing my last resort ... make sure everything was backed up, then erase the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. After that I would reload all of my files from my backup drive. In my case 80% of those files are photos.

While the computer was doing it's thing over these past few days I realized that it could be possible my hard drive had reached it's limit and was in the process of dying. A spinning beach ball is telling you that the software is waiting for the hardware to do it's thing. Sometimes it eventually does and other times it's bad enough you have to hold the power button in to shut off the computer when it is frozen.

Another sign that it might be my hard drive on it's way to failing permanently, was when I turned off and disconnected from the internet and ran programs like Word and Excel. Just using the computer as it was designed to do before the internet, I continued to see the spinning beach ball at times when I typed only a letter or moved my cursor and highlighting a cell.

I started reading about the new iMacs. Yes, they say that desktops are going out of style but as long as I have a huge 27" monitor sitting in front of me working I am going to continue to use a desktop computer as my main platform.

So I was somewhat protected this morning when I clicked that button that said 'erase'. My hard drive would be wiped clean and the only place my files were, is on the external hard drive that is backed up using Apple's Time Machine. My protection in case the computer would not operate, was to buy a new on today.

Oh, I forgot to mention the step before that I tried this morning that told me it was time to erase (reformat) the hard drive. I tried installing a new copy of the operation system without reformatting my hard drive. It would write over the new macOS Sierra over the old copy and getting rid of any gremlins hiding in there ... it failed and told me something was wrong with my hard drive.

After I erased the hard drive and started from scratch, the new operation system loaded with no problem. Then I loaded my files, which took almost 4 hours to complete. No problems there either. It was now time for the big test ... will those spinning beachballs coming back as I used my computer?

So far the computer has been running for a little over three hours and it is fast, no hangups, no websites not loading or crashing the system. To test it and try to get it to crash I had all kinds of programs running and doing different things at the same time.

Here are some of the things I remember I had going on at the same time:

 - Opened iTunes and played music.
 - Opened ten different tabs on Google Chrome with ten different websites
         - I loaded as many sites that I knew had automatic videos playing
 - Excel and Word were opened where I worked in each one
 - Opened Photos and imported pictures from an SD card
 - Ran a back up on Time Machine
 - Opened Kindle and loaded an ebook
 - Watched a video on an IU sports blog I follow
 - Opened Notes and Reminders
 - Opened Mail and deleted over 14,000 emails
 - Loaded Maps

Through all of that .... the spinning beach ball never showed up once.

I am in the process right now of moving my photos to the external drive I used last September to make a backup copy of them. I will then changed my settings in Apple Photos to use the .lib on the external drive as it's main library file.

Once I test that with a couple of things and sees that Apple Photos works with the library file on that external drive, then I will delete that same file that is taking up 49% of my hard drive on the iMac. That should make my iMac work even better with very little on the hard drive.

Of course, like all computers new or old, anything can happen at any time and all of the good results could come crashing down if the hard drive really has reached it's life cycle and dies.

If that happens I'll get in my car and head to Best Buy so I can look at and use some different computers before I choose one. The nearest Apple store is 100 miles away and to me that is too far away just to buy the same computer at a higher price. Plus I really like to get my eyes and hands on computers before I buy them, so the ordering online option does not work for me.

The weird thing is, I have always enjoyed researching this type of work and doing the work to get a computer running flawlessly again. Even in my Window PC days I liked it but during those years I had to do it more often than once every six o seven years.

Sadie and Stella had two walks today by 1:30pm and may get a third walk later this evening. The weather is that nice outside tonight.

It has been a good weekend here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

4 comments:

  1. Hope it hangs in there. Probably just some bad data.

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    1. They always say its best to do a clean install anytime the OS is updated, instead of just downloading it over the older one, so all of those updates caught up with me. I may have had trouble before the trojan horse showed up. Things are running fast and smooth this morning with a hard drive that has only 67Gb of total data on it.

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    2. Uh-oh, maybe 'hang' wasn't the best word to use here???

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    3. Confirmed last night by the "SmartDrive" app that the iMac hard drive is "Failing" due to bad sectors ... old age and non repairable. I'll post today what I have done, what my options are and what my plans are.

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