10.3.9 Freezes Continuously

herrmannmarty

Registered
Well this is my last ditch effort. I'll first describe the problem and how it developed, and then the steps I've taken in an attempt to resolve it.

My Power G4 eMac, with 1.25GHz processor, and 1 GB RAM, began freezing occasionally, about 6-8 months ago, when the system installed screen saver came on. Screen saver would keep running, but it would not let me out. So I disabled screen saver.

Shortly thereafter, it would occasionally freeze while operating Safari. I switched to Firefox. Freezing persisted. Freezing began to occur while operating any software, or none at all, freezing right after start up sometimes (or even during). Overtime, the frequency of freezing steadily increased. In particular, almost anytime a window or program was minimized or expanded, it would always freeze. Prior to the problem developing, I had installed no new software or hardware, etc.

Here's what I've done so far with no improvements: Disconnected all external equipment, inc. printer and external hard drive. Ran disk utilities, ran disk first aid from startup disk, ran hardware tests from startup disk (all came back negative), and finally today, did an erase and install of my system software, followed by yet another hardware test showing no problems, and it continue to freezes shortly after startup. I know there's a few other things I've tried that I read on various forums, can't precisely remember them all now, but all were to no avail.

Am I out of luck? Any suggestions are very appreciated.
 

Kees Buijs

Registered
Although you certainly have to consider a mainboard failure, there may be some things you can check out first.

1) Check the memory modules. These can cause these kind of problems.

2) Check the harddrive and its cables. e.g. bad clusters (= damaged surface) can cause this problem.

3) Disable (of possible) virtual memory. If this helps, it indicates in general a bad harddrive.



Good luck, Kees
 

herrmannmarty

Registered
Although you certainly have to consider a mainboard failure, there may be some things you can check out first.

1) Check the memory modules. These can cause these kind of problems.

2) Check the harddrive and its cables. e.g. bad clusters (= damaged surface) can cause this problem.

3) Disable (of possible) virtual memory. If this helps, it indicates in general a bad harddrive.



Good luck, Kees
Thanks for the tips...perhaps you could lend me some more details for how to go about these steps you recommend.

1) How does one go about "checking the memory modules?" What am I looking for?

2) Are you talking about the cables for my external harddrive, or the power cables for the cpu?

3) Where can the disable "switch" for virtual memory be found? I remember doing this on old system 9 Macs but what about my 10.3.9 emac?

Thanks again for any information.

Regards,
Marty
 

Hughvane

Registered
Thanks for the tips...perhaps you could lend me some more details for how to go about these steps you recommend.
1) How does one go about "checking the memory modules?" What am I looking for?

Power off your computer completely but leave the power cord plugged into the wall socket WITH POWER OFF. Tip your eMac on its screen on to a soft towel. Open up the little 'trap door' that you see looking at you. Earth yourself by touching the metal chassis inside the eMac. Remove the RAM sticks that are just inside that door. Be careful not to touch the gold plated contacts or other electronic components. Swap the RAM sticks over and make sure they're seated firmly - the holding clips should snap into place once the RAM is in place properly.

There is at least one little utility application (darned if I can think of its name right now) that tests your RAM function. A Google search, or Macupdate or VersionTracker, will provide you with that.

Are you talking about the cables for my external harddrive, or the power cables for the cpu?

I think that means the IDE cables inside your eMac, and that's a tough call. eMacs are notoriously hard to work on, once you get past the RAM section. However, do check any external cable connections eg. swap firewire cable ends (if applicable).

Where can the disable "switch" for virtual memory be found? I remember doing this on old system 9 Macs but what about my 10.3.9 emac?

No, there's no switch and I don't think you can disable VM in OS X. I too am presently operating Panther and the Sys Profiler doesn't even mention VM. It can be found mentioned in Activity Monitor > Memory (mine is currently using 3.26 Gb).

Last thing, consider increasing the amount of RAM to 2 Gb, but make sure the RAM sticks are paired ie. same brand and speed. Your eMac will benefit. You might also consider an OS upgrade to Tiger, it's better than Panther.
 

nixgeek

Mac of the SubGenius! :-)
I had a coworker who had an eMac that would also freeze up from time to time. To make matters even weirder, when it was booted in Safe Mode it ran just fine, but would obviously not be satisfactory for a regular working environment. After doing some research, I found out that it might be due to an issue with the logic board. In the system logs, I noticed a lot of errors from the video chipset that caused the system to lock up. She eventually took it to the Apple Store where they told her that the logic board needed to be replaced. Incidentally, the eMac also suffers from the capacitor plague that also affects the iMac G5 and other PCs from other manufacturers (Dell, IBM, etc.).

Just doing a quick search right now for "eMac capacitor" came up with this which kind of confirms my suspicions:
http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=2071244

My suggestion is to take it into the Apple Store or an authorized service center and see if you can get it replaced. This particular coworker took it in and initially was supposed to pay for labor only, and in the end she didn't have to pay a dime. Be polite, but let them know that this is a big problem for you. Apple will help you out.

Good luck.
 
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