SOLVED Finder results flashing and MacBook fan running constantly since FileVault encryption/attempted un-encryption


BeckyJL

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My Finder results are flashing and my computer fan runs nearly non-stop since I changed a few settings. I don't know whether it's from an auto-update or (more likely) from me encrypting (and then attempting to unencrypt) my MacBook Air. It's an older computer (mid 2012 according to "about my mac"), currently running Mojave version 10.14.6.
A few days ago my MacBook Air auto-updated and there were some odd things on the screen: background picture had a 1" black line at top, the banner alerts for new messages or calendar item alerts were partly off-screen, etc. I figured it would self-correct when I restarted, but I (foolishly) didn't restart at that time. So now I don't know if the flashing Finder results problem is from the update or from the encryption debacle.
I suspect the real problem came from me encrypting my laptop: I turned FileVault on and it began the encryption process. That took over an hour. I then could not log into my computer. (there was no place below the user medallion on the opening page to put in my password.) Nothing worked. I rebooted several times by holding down the power key and finally got an error message saying if I'd forgotten my password (I hadn't) I could change it (no thanks) or that perhaps my password (which is admittedly not as complex as it could be) might be incompatible with encryption. The latter gave me an option to turn off FileVault, which I did. But, oddly, tho it took over an hour to encrypt the drive, it took no time at all to turn FileVault off. And later, when an automatic backup to my AirPort drive initiated I got a warning that I was backing up an encrypted drive to an unencrypted backup drive. So turning off FileVault seems to have not un-encrypted my drive.
Since then, my computer runs VERY hot, the fan runs nearly non-stop, and whenever I use Finder, the results flash on and off: sometimes rhythmically (about one second on and about 2 seconds off) and at other times irregularly. It's now like a video game trying to double click files while they're showing, before they disappear again!
I suspect I need to successfully un-encrypt my drive. But when I look up how to do that, I've done what it suggests (go into FileVault, click open the padlock icon, and turn off FileVault). The instructions say I should then get a progress bar showing the unencryption progress, but that didn't happen in my case. My FileVault currently claims to be "off." Any suggestions?
 
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BeckyJL

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1565376539395.png


this screen shot of my Activity Monitor shows how busy my CPU is, constantly whirring while I'm doing NOTHING AT ALL. Meanwhile, my finder search result (for activity monitor) flashes rhythmically in the background... :-(
 

Cory Cooper

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Hello and welcome.

I would lean toward the FileVault on/off as the culprit. the mds/mdworker items in your Activity Monitor are related to Spotlight indexing. It could be running constantly, especially if FileVault is still unencrypting in the background.

I would simply let your MBA stay powered on and see if Spotlight finishes. It could take several hours.

What is the status of the issue currently?

C
 

BeckyJL

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Thanks, Cory. I left the computer open, on "never sleep" for 6 hours today to make sure it had plenty of time to de-encrypt if it was trying to do that. No change. Still running hot, constant fan, constant high activity monitor readings, Finder results still flashing. Oddly, when I do a Finder search, the activity monitor shows a temporary sudden dramatic dip in CPU usage. Then usage goes back up again even while Finder results are still flashing on screen.
 

BeckyJL

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I decided to try turning FileVault back on. So I re-encrypted everything. I got the progress report as it worked on encrypting. When it was done, everything is still the same: mds_stores operating above 100% according to activity monitor, computer running hot, constant fan, etc. My computer is backed up to an AirPort wifi/hard drive. Is there any way to use that to restore my computer to its functional state (to turn back the clock to last Friday)? or is AirPort backup only useful for recovering files? (rather than computer settings)?
1565498126712.png
 

BeckyJL

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This time after encrypting I again rebooted and again got the (almost/truncated/incomplete) log-in screen where it seems to be offering to let me log in as myself or as a guest, but again with no place to enter my password. After a long wait (and clicking on everything to no avail) a message came on saying if I was having trouble logging in to turn off computer and it would restart in recovery mode. I did that and it asked if I had forgotten my password or if keyboard wouldn't work. This time instead of saying the latter, I clicked to change my password to see if doing something different would lead to a different result. I succeeded in resetting my password and logged in to my computer successfully. Same result: CPU and fan constantly running, Finder results still flashing. :-(
 
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BeckyJL

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Last night I turned FileVault back off. This time I got the progress bar showing it actually was de-encrypting. Left it open and on all night. Woke up to it fully de-encrypted (progress bar gone) but Activity Monitor still shows mds_stores running constantly between 110-130 % CPU, computer hot, fan running. Any other ideas? Thanks!
 

BeckyJL

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I re-installed OS-X and it solved the problem. It's not running hot, Finder results no longer flash. Here are the partial instructions on how to reinstall OS-X. Full instructions easily found on line.
Boot from your Recovery HD partition by restarting your Mac while holding down the cmd+R keys.

The OS X Utilities window appears. Select Reinstall OS X, and click Continue. [follow instructions] Hope this helps someone else!
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hello,

:)

That was my next suggestion, as long as you had a backup of your data. You beat me to it, and I am glad it solved the issue for you.

Be well,

C
 

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