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Thread: Do I need a new computer?

  1. #1
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    Default Do I need a new computer?

    I've been having very vague computer problems for several weeks, and can't come up with any issues specific enough to be able to google and solve. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, so here goes:

    I am using a Mac Pro approximately 6-7 years old (it was the first generation of intel), running 10.6.8, dual 3 GHz intel, 8GB ram.

    It all started in Final Cut, which became seemingly unresponsive. The best way to describe it would be that maybe 1 out of every 10 mouse clicks actually did anything. I had a hard time selecting in and out points, or selecting and moving clips on the time line. I thought it was JUST final cut.

    I tried disk utility and trashing the preferences and rearranging files to free up hard drive space. Then Motion stopped opening, and finally Final Cut would crash upon startup.

    I opened up the machine and cleaned it out.

    I reinstalled Final Cut.

    (At some point here I upgraded from OS 10.5 to 10.6, and my problems got MUCH WORSE)

    I started having start up and shut down issues. Blue screen on startup, and it would hang if I shut down. Somehow I resolved those.

    I backed up using time machine, installed OS 10.6 on a different hard drive, but couldn't restore from the back up (it simply didn't allow me the option, grayed out I think). I went back to the original hard drive, the back up drive was corrupt, I repaired it and ran time machine again. Second try I was able to restore from the back up, but the Adobe creative suite wouldn't work, so I had to go back to the original hard drive anyway, at least to get work done.

    Now Motion (always unstable anyway), will open and sorta function, but crashes anytime I try to save so it's completely useless. This is a problem because I earn a living with the Final Cut suite (and photoshop). I could simply switch to Premiere, but other super vague computer problems are making me nervous:

    - I have problems that almost seem like mouse problems (bought a brand new mouse). When I hold down the mouse button, for example while browsing menus or highlighting text, it spontaneously releases, resulting in selecting the wrong thing. Highlighting specific text takes several tries. Always.

    - Trying to drag files, select files, rename files or open files, generally results in one of those options that I wasn't trying to accomplish. For example, if I try to drag a file from a finder window to an application window, I generally end up selecting all the files in the finder window instead.

    - Using command-tab to scroll through applications won't bring some applications (okay, so far just Fetch) to the front-I HAVE to select it in the dock, and I HAVE to be in the space that the window resides in. One time this problem spontaneously disappeared and it worked perfectly, but it's stopped working again.

    - Some applications are set to open in certain spaces, but photoshop has randomly started opening in the current space rather than the one I've set for it. This happens only occasionally.

    I'm not technically savvy, and I feel like I'm taking a sick dog to the vet having no clue what's WRONG but knowing something isn't right. Should I replace the RAM? Buy a new hard drive? Take it to somebody to fix? Is it just time for a new machine?

    Any suggestions would be helpful, I'm afraid to start spending money to fix an old machine if what I really need is to buy a new one. Please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I would suspect a bad mouse or keyboard. Disconnect anything else from USB. You might even try disconnecting the keyboard and just trying tasks with the new mouse as the only attached control device.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #3
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    there is a free app called Rember that tests ram also Memtest but you have to buy that one. get the free one and run it to test your ram before just replacing it.

    I know from personal experience that bad ram will manifest itself as ANY weird symptom your computer is capable of having.
    Damien,

  4. #4
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    And, since your HD had problems, it is quite possible to bring problems with you via a backup and restore.

    I would consider a new HD, and fresh clean install of your applications, and see how it behaves before bringing over data and preferences.

    New HD, new OS......coupled with new/different USB stuff would rule out just about everything outside of hardware. Only other thing that comes to mind regarding stability is confirming all your key apps are in fact up to date and 10.6 compatible.

    One other long shot....you mentioned Spaces. For troubleshooting purposes, you might shut off Spaces and see if anything improves.

    Keep this in mind: The two most common hardware issues that cause weirdness are bad/failing hard drive and RAM. After that, probably peripherals (USB, FireWire, etc). After that....internal components that often too expensive to justify repair on older machines.

    The wild card is always software. Incompatible, corrupt, or otherwise damaged, can cause all sorts of weirdness.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  5. #5
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    I'd be curious about that hard drive if it is an older one.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Damien View Post
    there is a free app called Rember that tests ram also Memtest but you have to buy that one. get the free one and run it to test your ram before just replacing it.

    I know from personal experience that bad ram will manifest itself as ANY weird symptom your computer is capable of having.
    I downloaded Memtest (which said it was free) but I couldn't install it (see screencap).

    My mouse and keyboard are both new within 9 months. I did try a different mouse (3 actually), but I will try again without the keyboard.

    I guess my biggest problem of all is that I don't have a lot of my install discs, so reinstalling my Adobe software and Quark is impossible, and I was really relying on being able to restore from a backup.

    One thing I didn't mention previously is that the machine has started making a very loud vibration sound that comes and goes. I first noticed it one day booting up, but it happens randomly as well. No idea if that could mean anything.


    Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

  7. #7
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    Use Rember.

    Memtest, whatever is being sold, is different from the Memtest that is written in the OSX Unix code. Memtest can be run as is using the terminal window.


    Rember is a free GUI that will run Memtest without the need to learn how to phrase in Terminal.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  8. #8
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    Could that noise vibration be a bad fan? If so you may be running into heat issues That should be checked on pronto.
    Damien,

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