Thursday, 3 April 2008

Slow shutdown with Leopard - steps taken so far - Summary post

I thought it might be useful for me to summarise what has happened so far and what steps Ive taken, mainly for anyone new coming across this via Google and also just to attempt to make sense of the jumble of posts that I have so far. So here goes :)

The issue
My new MBP (2.6GHz Merom / 320GB HDD / 4GB RAM) started to take a while to shutdown, roughly from 50 seconds to a minute, which is a big difference from the 7 seconds a new install takes. During the shutdown process I would see the "progress cog" appear on my desktop and spin around for a bit until the computer shutdown. Sleep also took a long time, regardless of whether I had 2GB or 4GB of RAM.

I initially had this problem on my original core due MBP and first noticed it when I was testing my new 2.6ghz MBP with a fresh install of Leopard.

The reason that the issue got passed onto my new MBP was because I wanted to keep the bigger drive, so I unplugged it from the original MBP and swapped it with the drive in the new MBP, so I got the extra space at the cost of the slow shutdown/sleep.

Steps taken so far
So far I have tried the following, ranging from the standard Mac voodoo to the non-standard...

Phase 1
  • Repaired permissions
  • Ran monthly scripts
  • Cleared out caches (internet, kernel, system, font etc)
  • Verified the drive (no errors)
  • Checked out and cleared out any unnecessary items from startup items
  • Cleared out any old preference settings for uninstalled applications

Phase 2
  • Examined the console logs, found some messages first that suggested it may be parallels trying to close down its network connections.
  • To check, I uninstalled Parallels but there was no change and things were still just as slow. I went back to the console and found that EyeTV Helper couldnt quit. 
  • I started looking into EyeTV as a possible culprit but it seems that this may have been a wild goose chase.
  • Checked if EyeTV was up to date (at the time it was).
  • Tried manually quitting the process via activity monitor and then shutting down but shutdown was still slow.
During this time, I discovered  a utility called SmartSleep (its in an earlier blog post), which to cut it short puts the computer to sleep instead of hibernating it based on the battery level. I installed this and the sleep time was dramatically reduced but the slow shutdown still remained.

Phase 3
I couldnt find anything else in the logs to indicate why things were so slow and so I decided to see if the menu applets or widgets that I use were causing an issue. So I created a new user account with no menu items besides the standard Apple ones and also no widgets running (in hindsight I should have tried this as part of Phase1).

This wasnt the solution I was looking for though as the result was still the same, the shutdown was just as slow with the new user as with my standard account.

I next installed Leopard onto an external HDD, booted from that, applied all of the updates to date and tried a few shutdowns and restarts and it was amazing how fast it was compared to my current install.

At this stage I was debating just dragging over my apps and documents to the new installation and then cloning it to my internal drive but I didnt want to go through the hassle of authorizing and deauthorizing etc in iTunes and I also didnt want to give up, I wanted to find the cause and learn basically.

I went back into the new user account and started to compare the console logs from the new account with the old ones but couldnt find anything to suggest what could be the cause, so I started Googling.

Via Google I found some forums where people were mentioning external drives as causes for slow shutdowns, which gave me an idea that perhaps my bootcamp partition was influencing my shutdown. I tried unmounting the window drive and my computer was able to shutdown in 15 seconds as opposed to a minute.

I was (and still am) in the process of trying to determine why this was when a guy Bob posted in the comments and let me know about the terminal commands to disable hibernate, which he found on macosxhints (theyre a couple of posts below this one if youre interested).

I tried this out - leaving the windows partition still mounted and the computer shutdown again very quickly, around 7 to 15 seconds.

So thats the stage that I am currently at and I am now trying to understand why. If anyone would care to share their insight here it would be more than welcome :)

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