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Travis, Mac-Trained Product Designer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 759
Experience:  19+ Years of Mac Experience, BSA in Design and 6 Years of Mac Training from University of Cincinnati
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How to get rid of a spinning wheel of death(beach ball) in

Customer Question

How to get rid of a spinning wheel of death(beach ball) in my iMac 2.16Ghz with a Tiger operating system(10.4.11),which frequently appears, even when I have only one program opened?
I tried to verify permissions,repair disk,reset PRAM,start the computer in a safe mode.I used several different browsers and 3 different accounts.I have a lot of unused RAM and a lot of space available on the disk.Hardware diagnostics revealed no problems.Activities monitor did not show anything unusual.Is there anything, short of
reinstalling the operating system, which I could do to remedy this problem?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Travis replied 6 years ago.
If the following suggestions work, please let me know and you can Accept the answer (and if possible, leave positive feedback). If not, please DO NOT Accept the answer. Instead, let me know and we'll try some more things or I can refer you to another Expert who may be able to help you further.

Before we go any further, I would suggest you use a program like Carbon Copy Cloner ( to create a restorable backup of your Hard Drive to an External Hard Drive. This free program will make a mirrored copy of your hard drive in it's current state that you can go back to if things go south after the following changes. I do this personally before I perform any kind of install, update or major change to my system.

There are a lot of things you can do... PRAM, Disk Utilities, Permissions Repair, er, wait, you've already done all of this... You seem on top of your game. The only thing I can suggest now, is create a backup of your hard drive with Carbon Copy Cloner to an external. Then run an "Archive and Install" of your system. This should clear up any problems you might be having. You won't lose any of your files, it will maintain your user folder and all your programs, just replaces the System Folder. I would do this, then see if the computer performance is better. Don't run any updates on the computer until you confirm that it is running beach-ball-free. Then run any Software updates available. If it's still beach-ball-free, then you should be good to go.

If you are still encountering freezes, then the error may be deeper. It's possible that it is a hardware problem with the machine. Unless the freezes occur when performing a specific task or running a specific program.

Regardless as long as you have a Clone of your hard drive on an external drive, you always have a safety net, a restorable backup so that you can undo anything you've done. Good Luck. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your suggestions,If you reread my question you will notice that the last sentence specifies"short of reinstalling the operating system". I was aware of the fact that this last resort solution would almost undoubtedly solve the problem(unless the hard disk is damaged)I was hoping to get an advice(and I realize that it is perhaps impossible) which would preclude doing reinstallment, even though
it is true that if I archived the files rather than erase my disk,most of the data would be preserved.
Nevertheless it is a nuisance which I would want to avoid.In addition to this I do not have an external drive(admittedly I should have one) and I backed up only the most important files on CD's. If you can think of any other suggestion which could solve the problem,by all means ,let me know.
Expert:  Travis replied 6 years ago.
I understand the question and your concerns completely, I do not, however, have any suggestions beyond an "Archive and Install" at this point. At this point, I am going to Opt Out to allow the other Experts a chance to give you there input.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your effort
Expert:  Travis replied 6 years ago.
Hopefully another Expert may have some further suggestions.

Good Luck!