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Mac freezes for a minute or more when switching users

by snoblenet / December 1, 2009 5:31 AM PST

We are on Mac OS X 10.5.8. My user account is fine. My wife's is fine, except that when she switches to it, the Mac freezes for a minute of more.

I have told Mail to check her email account manually. I have established that iCal is not synced to an online resource and, as far as I am aware, no other apps are either.

If I could, I'd look at Activity Monitor to see what processes were hogging the CPU or network ports, but as the Mac has frozen I can't.

Is there some other way of determining what's causing the problem?

I'd rather exhaust all possibilities before I try creating a new user account for her that might end up replicating the problem anyway.

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(NT) Log in and out or Fast User Switching?
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 1, 2009 5:56 AM PST
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Fast user switching...
by snoblenet / December 1, 2009 10:02 AM PST the answer.

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Could be a RAM problem
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 1, 2009 10:05 AM PST
In reply to: Fast user switching...

how is it when you log of and get the other person to log on?


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more on Fast User switching
by snoblenet / December 1, 2009 10:24 AM PST
In reply to: Could be a RAM problem

More often that not, all three user accounts (mine, my wife's, our eldest son's) are open, but one of us is waking the Mac from sleep to log into their own account. Does that still count as fast user switching? Do you want my wife to try logging into our two accounts, shutting them both down, then logging into her own to see if that last step then becomes quicker? Strange that a RAM issue would affect her account but not ours.

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Fast user switching
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 1, 2009 8:48 PM PST

enables a number of users to use the computer without the previous user actually logging out. Apple Menu > Log out.
The fast user switch occurs with a dramatic rotation of the screen, a slick effect. Be warned that each user logged into a system eats up memory and the more applications open for each user, the more likely the system will swap stuff into virtual memory and system performance will suffer. If there are 3 users currently on the computer, ALL of those accounts and the applications that they were running, are still active and consuming RAM.

Instead of just walking away from the computer when a user has finished with it, get them to log out and see if things return to normal. Unless, of course, this is what you are actually doing right now.


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