[SOLVED] Periods of System lagging and failure of MS word 2004


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Hello,

My specs are:

Mac OS X (Tiger) 10.4.11
1.5 Ghz Power PC G4
512 MB DDR SDRAM

I have not modified the computer hardware, system or OS in any way since purchase (approx 2 1/2 years ago)

My problem:

About 4 months ago my mac started to go through periods of lagging / freezing; it processes commands extremely slowly (i.e it will take about a 40 seconds to register a click on an icon) and the computer itself makes a rhythmic (small pulses) 'crunching' noise; the same type of noise it makes when it starts up - I have presumed this is the computer accessing the HD, but i don't know. Characteristically this would happen when doing one of the following things:
1. running a large amount of programs at one time
2. when installing something it would always happen when the installation program was looking for a destination to install the program on (i.e when you see the little picture of your hard-drive)
3. sometimes it would just happen randomly, seemingly without any outside input.

Lately this problem has been more frequent, however it seems to be related to my other problem which is the failure of my MS Word 2004 (mac office version 11.4.0). when trying to open a saved document, save a new document, or make any change in font style etc the application will freeze, the computer will display the symptoms that I described above and will stop when I (eventually) manage to force quit. I have tried updating to office version 11.5.0 however when I start the installer it returns the following message: "The installer could not locate the correct version of the software required to install this update". I discovered somewhere else that 11.5.0 could be installed on any version of word, even so I tried installing 11.4.1 and I got the same message.

I have tried the following in order to fix the problem:
1. I have repaired file permissions using disk utility
2. I have put the computer into 'single user mode' (or something like that - i.e I rebooted and it came up with a black 'command' screen.), and then performed a disk repair using 'fsck -f'. when I ran this command the following output was returned:
**/dev/rdisk0s3
**Root File System
**Checking HFS Plus Volume
**Checking Events Overflow File
**Checking Catalog File
disk0s3: I/O error
Invalid node structure
(4, 12451)
**Volume Check Failed

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated

Thanks,

Angus
 
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karazelle

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Re: Periods of System lagging and failure of MS word 2004

This sounds eerily like a disk that is about to die. Those instances you described are when the computer gets details on the disks available, and the sudden "freezes" may be when the Mac uses virtual memory (many applications at once) or writes logs or cache (seemingly random freezes).
Word might be failing as a result of the files there not being readable.

I/O error indicates problems communicating with the disk properly.

My first suggestion is pretty clear: Backup everything you care about now, before you run futher disk checks, and ideally do in batches. Copy one and one thing at the time. Don't forget, bookmarks, mail, downloaded items, Web receipts (if you used that feature) folder in Documents, preference files from your folder, preference files from /Library, check to make sure you have kept all serial numbers for software you got electronically, paste clips into TextEdit document(s) if you have any, or use Time Machine. Also don't forget your iTunes music, especially music you bought!

Then I would attempt to boot the Mac with the MacOS X install DVD and run disk check (not permissions but the other test). If that fails, you will probably want to format the disk and restore on it, but I would strongly suggest you consider replacing it. Disks are cheap lately and you can see this as a time for upgrading to a larger size. :)

Best wishes.

As to what to backup to: an USB stick if you don't have much, your iPod/MP3 player in disk mode if there is space left, an USB disk or firewire disk in FAT32 (or ideally, HFS+). As a last resort, if you own another Mac or have friends with Macs, you can use Firewire Target Disk mode. This is described in my blog (link in signature).
 
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Re: Periods of System lagging and failure of MS word 2004

Thanks for your detailed advice :)

I think I might take this opportunity to organise a permanent backup solution, something I should have probably done a long time ago.

Thanks again

Angus
 

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