Have you checked the Console for information? And when was the last time you restarted?
(Not that you should have to restart, but just curious.)
I have a 2.7Ghz G5 with 1GB RAM and running 10.4.3. About two days ago i started to have a problem. Almost every operation, starting a program, opening a window etc. causes the spinning wheel to appear. This will be there for up to a minute and then the operation will proceed. Activity monitor shows no unusual activity during this time-out, though occasionally the Finder turns red briefly. No new software was added prior to this behavior starting.
Does anyone have an idea what is going on?
Aha! I am getting a string of mdimporter crashes that coincide with the slowdowns. Now if I just knew what that means and how to fix it......
Hmm. mdimport gets metadata about files and returns it to something that wants it (e.g., Spotlight). You could have a Spotlight-related process hanging or crashing here.
Which mdimporter is it? Do you see it attached to an app, e.g., "/System/Library/Spotlight/iPhoto.mdimporter"?
The console shows this happening about once every minute
Jan 7 10:14:06 Mike-Adams crashdump: mdimportserver crashed
Jan 7 10:14:06 Mike-Adams crashdump: crash report written to: /Users/adams/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/mdimportserver.crash.log
Open a Terminal window, try "mdimport -L" to list all of the mdimporters on your system, and see if there are any third-party (non-Apple) mdimporters there. You could have an unhappy mdimporter causing the crash.
Wow, there are a lot. One problem is that many seem to be imbedded within programs (i.e. OmniGraffle) so the only way to remove them is to remove the program
You could try rebuilding the entire Spotlight database. There are good hints on macosxhints.com.
You could also see if there are particular types of user action that cause the crash. I.e., opening a mail message, opening a particular kind of file, etc. See any patterns?
Also peruse ~/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/mdimportserver.crash.log for information. Let us know what you find!