Macbook 15 inch retina display 2014 freezes then shuts down when running macOS


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Hey everyone,

This is my first post in this forum, and I understand people in this forum often help others solve problems with their macbooks. I’ll try to include all necessary information but please let me know if there’s something missing.

A basic summary of the problem: My macbook pro has had this problem for a couple of years now where while I’m using it, it suddenly either freezes, or goes black and freezes, and then shuts down. I have Bootcamp on my mac, and this problem only happens when running macOS. It does not happen when using Windows. I will now go into more detail about the problem.

My Macbooks specs:


Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro11,3
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 2.3 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 16 GB
Boot ROM Version: MBP112.0142.B00
SMC Version (system): 2.19f12
Serial Number (system): C02ML9AUFD57
Hardware UUID: FFE6C3A8-FCAB-58B6-BDA2-C00125B783AA

I am running macOS 10.13.2 High Sierra

More specific details:

1. It seems to be very random. I can’t find anything that will reliably trigger the crash.

2. I have looked into the “Previous Shutdown Cause” logs and it appears that the shutdown cause is almost always -128 and very few times, it is 3. I understand that -128 refers to hardware related issues.

Solutions I have already attempted:


I have already reset the PRAM and the SMC. The problem persisted

I have checked my disk with disk utility, it was fine.

I created a new partition and installed macOS Sierra on this partition. The problem persisted.

I updated to macOS High Sierra. The problem persisted.

I downloaded memtest and tested my memory three times over. The test passed all three times indicating that my memory was fine.

I used the Apple Hardware Test, and no issues were found.

Solutions I have not attempted:

I spoke to a tech support guy who suggested the Bootcamp partition itself may be the problem. He suggested that I wipe the entire hard drive and do a new instal of the macOS. I am not sure about whether this makes sense though.


I took my macbook to the Genius bar, and the tech support guy said they could send it out to get fixed, but it would be $600. As I previously stated, Windows 10 runs fine on my macbook without crashes, and that is how I’ve been using it for the past couple years. Considering that, I am not willing to pay that much money to get it fixed. I would rather just continue using Windows. However I thought I might post this problem online, and see if I could get any help with it. Thanks.
 
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A couple of questions, along with some suggestions:

1. This one is critical: are you making backups to an external device? If so, what software are you using for that?

2. Have you ever done any disk cleanup/maintenance/repairs, from a software perspective? One can actually do a good amount of disk cleanup on their own, and there are some excellent products available (both free and commercial) that help with those tasks.

Here are a couple of free programs that you can download and run:

Onyx - Available from here: https://www.titanium-software.fr/en/onyx.html (Make sure you downloadsthe correct version)

AppCleaner - Available from here: https://freemacsoft.net/appcleaner/

Malwarebytes - Available from here: https://www.malwarebytes.com/mac/ (can detect adware and remove it)

GrandPerspective - Available from here: http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/ (nice, graphical way to find large files)

There is another excellent virus detection program available, called ClamXAV. It is available from here:

https://www.clamxav.com/

One can use it for free for 30 days. It works very well (although does take some time).

3. Did you upgrade to High Sierra "in place", ie, basically just let it overwrite what was on your Mac already? And before you upgraded, did you insure that all your third party software (ie, non-Apple) was both up to date and compatible with High Sierra?

4. When you checked out your internal drive with Disk Utility, did you do it in an "isolated" manner, ie, by booting to the (hidden) Recovery partition and running Disk Utility from there?

5. From your post, this should be the Mac model you have:

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/...-graphics-late-2013-retina-display-specs.html

(There are at least 4 models for your Mac: https://everymac.com/ultimate-mac-lookup/?search_keywords=MacBookPro11,3)

If that is valid, then you have a 512 gig SSD inside your machine. Please verify all that.

Here is a possible way to proceed:

1. If you do not have a recent backup, do that first. Time Machine is OK, but either SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner is better. This link I started a while back explains all this:

https://www.mac-help.com/threads/backups-backups-backups.223959/

I myself use SuperDuper!, and it has always been a "life saver" for me. It is especially helpful when I am doing an "upgrade" to a new Mac OS (or sometimes doing an "in Mac OS" upgrade).

2. Boot your Mac to the (hidden) Recovery HD partition, and use Disk Utility there to Verify (and if needed, Repair) your internal SSD. This link explains how to do that:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314

3. For #2 above, do as much disk cleaning/maintenance as possible, using Onyx, GrandPerspective, and AppCleaner. Also, check your Mac for "adware/malware" by downloading and running Malwarebytes. If you decide to download and run ClamXAV, be aware that letting it scan your entire machine takes time. You should also consider getting a more robust disk cleaning/maintenance/repair program like Tech Tool Pro or Disk Warrior. Be aware, though, that Disk Warrior is not yet compatible with the APFS file system inherent with High Sierra. I use the latest version of Tech Tool Pro (along with Onyx), and I would not be without either of them.

4. One thing that has been up for some "debate" is Repairing Permissions. Apple's Disk Utility used to include that feature, but it was dropped when Sierra came out. Onyx and Tech Tool Pro both used to include that feature also, but it was dropped with the recent upgrades each of them released for High Sierra compatibility. I would recommend you do it, especially if you have never done it, and have upgraded through various versions of the Mac OS. This link explains how to do it:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203538

Try all that (yes, it's a lot of work!), and see if things improve. If not, then the next step would be to 1) do a final backup, 2) Erase and Format the Mac partition, 3) do a fresh, clean installation of OS 10.13.2, and 4) "migrate"/copy needed "stuff" from the backup. For the OS 10.13.2 installation, the link I provided above about backups explains the two "methods" for doing that, depending on what software you use for backups.
 
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1. I am not making backups to an external device. However I have all the important documents and files from my computer uploaded to iCloud Drive.

2. I have run First Aid through Disk Utility, and it said the disk was fine. I'm guessing the programs you recommended are more robust? I'll give them a try.

3. I did upgrade to High Sierra "in place". I did not verify that third party software was compatible. However, as I mentioned, I also created a new partition on my disk, and did a clean install of Sierra, and the problem persisted there.

4. I did run Disk Utility from Recovery Mode.

5. That is correct. That is my mac model, and I do have a 512GB SSD.

4. To clarify, when you say "Erase and Format the Mac partition", you mean both of the mac partitions on my computer correct?

Thank you so much for the suggestions, they've given me a good direction to go in. I'll try repairing the disk from recovery mode again. Then I'll try using Onyx. I'll also try using MalwareBytes.
 
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It's just about imperative that you make a backup to an external device. Anytime you are doing disk cleanup/maintenance/repairs, there is the (hopefully non-existent) chance that something could go wrong. Just "placing" stuff to an iCloud Drive is not enough. And it is much, much better (and safer) to have a "local" backup, ie, to an external device. I strongly recommend you invest in an external drive, and do backups.

Regarding backups, did you read the link I provided? I laid things out rather succinctly and clearly in it. If I were you, after obtaining your external drive, download either SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner. You can use either of them in "demo" mode, but the backups will still be fully functional. And if you go that route, and prior to the backup, download the OS 10.13.2 installation file from the App Store. Also, make a copy of it in another location on your SSD before doing the backup.

Regarding the test you did with the additional partition and the clean installation of ?Sierra? (is that what you meant?), with the problem still persisting on that new partition, that would seem to say that there is an issue with the "overall" Mac "piece", ie, the two Mac partitions under one "device". So yes, if you do an Erase and Format, you would do that at the "top" level, ie, the "designation" for that "overall" Mac device (which would include the 2 Mac partitions).

Yes, either Tech Tool Pro or Disk Warrior are more robust than Disk Utility. However, as I stated, and if you are going to stay with High Sierra, given that you have an SSD, Disk Warrior does not recognize APFS devices (yet). Tech Tool Pro does.

By the way, how long have you had your Mac? And how many OS "upgrades" have you gone through? And were all of them done "in place"?

Here is what you need to address/do:

1. First, resolve the issue of backups. Again, you need to read that link I provided regarding backups.

2. Next, while Onyx (and Repairing Permissions) are good, first steps, there are still some more disk related tasks that need to be done. That is where Tech Tool Pro will help a lot. (GrandPerspective, as I stated, is good for identifying files (especially ones that take up quite a lot of space) on your SSD, and you can then decide whether to delete them or not. AppCleaner is good when you want to remove an application, as it also locates just about all "related" pieces for the app).

It's good, though, that you are first going to boot to the Recovery HD and use Disk Utility there to Verify (and Repair?) the Mac "piece", that is, the one that contains the 2 Mac partitions. (Just hope things go OK with that, as you don't have a backup).

3. Insure that all your third party software is up to date. This link can help you with this:

https://roaringapps.com/apps

I will say, though, that the unknown is the "influence" of your Windows partition on all of this. You did state that all the programs on that partition work fine, and you are not experiencing any of the issues there like you are with your Mac partitions. How "troublesome" would it be if you Erased and Formatted the entire 512 gig SSD, and thus losing the Windows partition? It's just a thought. All the ideas I mentioned above are from my experiences, but my Macs (especially my 2 current ones, on which I am using High Sierra) have only had one Mac partition on it (the internal SSD inside my late 2012 Mac Mini is 256 gig, and the one inside my mid 2017 Mac Book Air is 252 gig). Both of my external devices have Samsung 850 Pro 512 gig SSDs inside. I have each of them partitioned into 3 partitions, with two of them being for the SuperDuper! backups for each of my Macs (I connect them via USB 3.0).
 
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Thank you for the advice. I do in fact have an external drive as well, but I've never used it for full backups, I just keep important files that can't afford to lose on it. I don't have it with me, and I won't have it for a couple weeks. i've read your post on backups, and once I have my drive back I'll take your advice and do that backup.

Based on your advice I plan to take the following steps:

1. Backup the entire drive, all partitions included, to my external hard drive.

2. Reboot my mac in Recovery mode, and try doing first aid on the disk, both at the individual partition level, and at the "overall" level that includes all partitions.

3. Clean up my hard drive using Grand Perspective and AppCleaner (Tech Tool Pro is a bit out of my price range right now)

4. Use OnyX to verify the disk, and try repairing permissions.

5. If none of this works, I'll erase and reformat the entire disk, and then reinstall the OS.

Thanks for the help. I'll keep you updated and let you know if I have any questions.
 
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Excellent plan! For #3, you can actually do some disk cleanup on your own (although Grand Perspective will graphically show all your files). One place to look is within your Downloads folder.

Another source of "clutter" is deleted EMails. If your EMails are stored on your machine, when you delete an EMail, it is not permanently removed without further action. I use Outlook 2016 as my EMail client, and it is easy to have deleted EMails permanently removed. In fact, I use that feature just about every time I check my EMail.

Don't forget about checking your third party applications regarding 1) the latest updates, and 2) compatibility with High Sierra. That is very important.

Also, as I mentioned, Onyx no longer has Permissions Repair as one of its tasks (neither does Tech Tool Pro). But I provided you that link above, which is an Apple site, that explains how to do it. I have done it a couple of times on both on my machines, and it works fine.

Once in a while, Tech Tool Pro goes on sale for $39.95. In fact, there was such a sale back in November. But it is not on sale now.

Finally, as for backups, given that you read my post about backups, I assume you saw the advantages of using either SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner. Either of them can be used in demo mode. It would be best if before you start with #1, you download the latest High Sierra installation file from the App store, and also make a copy of it in another location. Right now (as I suspect you know), that is V10.13.2. But, V10.13.3 is in the third stage of beta testing, so I anticipate that it will be out soon.

I just thought of something else. After you download and make a copy of that High Sierra installation file, and if you use SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner for #1, you actually have a choice for #2. Yes, you can boot to the (hidden) Recovery partition, and run Disk Utility from there. Or you can boot your Mac from the just completed backup made with either SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner. You can then run Disk Utility from there. As I mentioned in that backup link, doing this the second way will be faster, and via a local startup of your Mac.

In any event, good luck! And don't be "shy" about asking any questions. Many of us are here to help.
 
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