Help Me I’m having a problem with my Mac…

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I have been looking online, and I haven’t been able to find an answer for this, so I’m hoping some of you loyal readers can help me out here.

I have a 1G Mac Mini (PPC) with 512 Mbs or Ram that I’m having a problem with…for some reason, several applications are automatically shutting down after I open them. For example, iDVD will open, ask me if I want to start a new project…I tell it yes, then the application closes. It happens on iMovie too…but not any other iLife apps. It also happens on non-Apple apps like the AirClick USB application, and even Daylite 3.

I have tried to repair disks, and everything is fine…and I have tried to re-install the apps and nothing seems to work…and I have no clue what to do.

So…any ideas?

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Kossi Adzo

Kossi Adzo is a technology enthusiast and digital strategist with a fervent passion for Apple products and the innovative technologies that orbit them. With a background in computer science and a decade of experience in app development and digital marketing, Kossi brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to the Apple Gazette team.

17 thoughts on “Help Me I’m having a problem with my Mac…

  1. Nothing but the standard Apple security updates. I did finally install the iSight update and the Airport update that it’s constantly bugging me about (I never installed those before because I don’t have an iSight or Airport)

  2. also, if the above fails to work, try deleting the preferences of the offending apps. You find those in
    user_folder –> library –> preferences


    Put the corresponding files to the trash, restart, and try again opening said apps.

  3. It could be so many things. Sounds like a good answer ;). How big is the HD, how much is used / free, and have you filled it up… say over 80% full and/or all the way? That can cause lots of issues on most computers / OSes in my experiance.

    Anyhow, either way, if it were my machine, I would try the following [since most of these are fairly easy if you have the stuff to do them with]

    boot into open firmware cmd+opt+o+f and type the reset-nvram and then reset-all and see if that gets you anywhere [it probably will do nothing, but worth a shot]

    Run Apple Hardware Test CD – both short and long tests. If something doesn’t test right, fix it or get it fixed [could be bad memory or something simple]. If you have CD’s that came with the machine, it’s one of the CD’s. Otherwise, I believe it’s on the Disk 1 DVD and you hold the option key down and then select it [or read what it says on the front of the disk].

    [at this point, you could download the latest combo updates and run them if you like, but i tend to move towards the guaranteed solutions – risk / time management. Sometimes, what you have available depends on which route you take]

    If that checks out fine, I would use Disk Utility to restore the contents of the Drive to another Drive / Partition. Then Boot off that drive / partition. If everything works fine, Wipe the interal partition and then Restore the contents back.

    If that does not work, Wipe the drive [you now have a back up] and re-install the OS and Applications, run the updates, and move your files back over [you can move the files over during the set up process, but i tend to move them over by hand – always have stuff i want to get rid of].

    my bet is that thru theses steps, you will have solved the problem, even if you never know what the problem is. If you have several external drives / partitions you can use, you can change the order and play around a little bit more if you like to tinker.

    Good luck, and I’ll try to remember to check back incase you are still having problems and what you did that finally fixed the problem for you.

  4. If you have only 512MB of RAM, the OS will definitely need AT LEAST 1.5GB of drive space for virtual memory swapping. Preferrably around 2-4GB (again, this is on the edge of a minimal amount but should certainly work with the apps that you mention). If you don’t have that much space, the OS may not be allowing the applications to run.

  5. Yeah, I would have to agree with ron. It could be a problem with memory, I am guessing that either you do not have enough memory or you have bad memory. Bad memory would cause applications to quit unexpectedly because of active memory problems.

    I would also run Onyx on your system so you could get a full maintenance just to see if that helps or not.

  6. Re: Memory

    i really don’t think this will be the issue. Afterall, even if you did have your harddrive full, resulting in a small about of VM, this should not cause applications to simply close; they would instead just run very slowly. The OS would cope with the lack of memory by closing non-essential threads in the applications, saving memory. And hey, he never said it happened ‘when he had loads of app’s already open’.

    I would phone apple.

  7. ‘Ron’… Where did you hear that you need that much memory?!? 512mb is fine for running these applications, they should not close themselves! The applications would run faster (and load faster) with more RAM, but the 1st Generation Mac Mini doesn’t even support over 2gb of RAM and for the applications you mention, I feel that even 1gb may be excessive. Optimally, you should have 768mb, but 512mb is completely fine for the tasks you mention. Unless the installed RAM is faulty (although it is extremely unlikely the Mac would start properly with faulty RAM, as Mac OS X would not be able to initialise), this issue is not caused by the RAM.

    I feel that either Ron is attempting to deliberately mis-inform you (shame on you, Ron!), or he is not a Mac user (perhaps doesn’t even use computers). If Ron has made a genuine mistake, I apologise for being accusative 🙂

    Best advice: visit an Apple store, or telephone them. The numbers will be in the packaging your Mac Mini arrived in, or available on the Internet at or (if you’re in the UK).

    Best of luck

  8. So…I backed up the hard drive to try a fresh install…but the install says their are errors every time, and won’t complete.


  9. Richard, I din’t say that 512 MB of RAM was not enough. I said if he only had 512 MB of RAM he would need more than 1 GB of HD space for Apple’s advanced virtual memory techniques. The less RAM a Mac has installed, the more that Mac relies on virtual memory.

    The applications shutting down, like Michael describes, is evidence that the system is protecting itself.

    However; it is obvious that I cannot guarantee this to be the issue. It was merely a suggestion as I do not have the machine in front of me and have little else to go on.

    Out of curiosity, how much available drive space is on your start-up drive?

    I wish you luck Michael and it was good that you backed up before doing a fresh install. I hope to read the results here in the end.

  10. Well guys, I’ve resolved the issue…sort of.

    I had to reinstall Panther on my computer because the Tiger disk that I recently updated the OS on this Mac with had some bad patches in it that lead to a screwy install.

    Your tips were invaluable to helping me finally figure this out.

    Now I’ve got a complaint request into the company that sold me the disk, and hopefully it will be resolved soon.

  11. If you’ve been using automatic updates to update your system, this could be the culprit. I had the same issue and this worked for me. Download the “combo updater” for the most recent update and then reinstall it. Reboot.

  12. I can’t believe no one has mentioned faulty RAM! This behavior is commonly caused by a bad RAM module. I recommend the freeware memtest for testing, because it seems to pick up defecting RAM better than commercial software like TechToolPro. I don’t write memtest or work for Micromat.

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