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Monday, August 25, 2014

Spinning Beach Ball of Death

Every once in a while you'll get the spinning beach ball of death. And although you probably won't actually die from it there is a chance you will become agitated and frustrated and possibly contemplate going back to using pen and paper (gasp!). After you're done swearing at your confuser there are a couple of things you can do to remedy things.

1. Wait - Sometimes the computer is just working hard and needs a bit more time to catch up with you

2. Force Quit - If you've waited for a minute or more you might need to try quitting the application you're in. You can do this by either pressing Control and clicking on the icon in the dock and choosing Force Quit or you can press Apple (Command) + Option + Esc. This will open up a small box and allow you to choose which applications you want to force to quit.

3. Manage Your Programs - Sometimes if you have a bajillion programs open, (you know who you are) and by a bajillion I mean probably more than 7 or 8, your computer will naturally slow down because it's just doing a lot of stuff and it can only process a certain amount effectively. If things are creeping along close the programs you are not using and only keep the vital stuff open. I normally have open Firefox for attendance and points, Apple Mail, iTunes, and Easy Grade Pro at any one time. One thing I often see is when people are done using a program they "Close" the program or file they're using but don't "Quit" the application. This means the file is not open but the program is still running. Make sure you go to File > Quit, not just press the little red button on the top left, that just closes the file.

If you want to take a closer look at what you're computer is doing at any certain point go into Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor, click on the CPU tab and see which programs are using up all your juice.

4. Restart - Once you get things settled down and the beach ball is back in your beach bag it's always good to restart your computer (not just log off, but restart). This allows the operating system to reboot and kinda clear the slate. You should probably restart at least once a week.

5. Last Resort - If you've tried everything above and things are frozen up and you can't do anything you can always hold the power button down for eight seconds and that will force the computer to turn off. Turn it back on and it may take a bit to get logged back in but it should be operational.

If you are constantly having freezing issues and things are just wonky (there's that word again, I'd better look it up...hmm...lopsided, mis-aligned or off-center. I guess it fits.) then fill out a Tech Request Form.

Edit: Another tip if things are slow when you're surfing the Internet. Your web browser is probably saving all of the pages you visit for a certain amount of time in a cache. You can delete that cache in Firefox by going to Tools > Clear Recent History... In the box that opens up I would select 'Browsing & Download History', 'Form & Search History', and 'Cache' and then press 'Clear Now'.

In Safari go to the Safari Menu and choose Reset Safari... Here I would select everything except 'Cookies' and 'Names and Passwords' and press 'Reset'. You can also go to the Safari menu and press 'Empty Cache...'.

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