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startup / shutdown issues

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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
2011 MacBook Pro 13", macOS 10.12.6 Sierra, internal SATA Crucial M500 SSD, HFS+ Journaled, Encrypted boot volume:
00:00 restart tone​
00:08 enter FileVault password​
00:19 login screen​
...
In all of these boot speed tests, I don't see anyone showing that they did a 'Clean' install before running the tests. If you migrated or installed over an existing system, you may have lots of old system files (extensions, daemons, agents, old anti-virus, etc.), which will greatly affect startup times.
In my tests above, the system is loaded with all sorts of software and files that have been migrated over decades. Despite that, the old Mac with the old SSD and the old macOS and all kinds of extra low-level and high-level software booted in less than 20 seconds, which is pretty good evidence that extra software and lack of "clean" installs isn't necessarily a problem if the software and hardware are well managed.

Also, in the immediate aftermath of a "clean" install, the system is likely to be slower, rather than faster, as macOS goes through all its gyrations of Spotlight indexing, etc.
 


I did a clean install on my iMac Pro a couple weeks after I got it last January. I'd never had any issues with migration previously, but this system was flaky and unstable with trouble shutting down, kernel panics, video and audio glitches, and the like. It's still not as stable as I'd like, but it's gotten much better since I did the clean install and with the subsequent OS and firmware updates.

It was never a fast starter regardless, but since it came with High Sierra and APFS, I couldn't test anything else. Of course, once it has started up, then it's a beast.
 


2011 MacBook Pro 13", macOS 10.12.6 Sierra, internal SATA Crucial M500 SSD, HFS+ Journaled, Encrypted boot volume:

00:00 restart tone​
00:08 enter FileVault password​
00:19 login screen​
2011 MacBook Pro 13", macOS 10.13.6 High Sierra, internal SATA Crucial M500 SSD, HFS+ Journaled, Encrypted boot volume:

00:00 enter FileVault password​
00:14 login screen​
2018 MacBook Pro 13", macOS 10.14.2 Mojave, Apple PCIe SSD, APFS

Set startup to internal SSD​
Shutdown​
00:00 open lid​
00:11 enter FileVault password​
00:27 long pause, progress bar stalls, screen dims​
00:59 login screen​
I timed a Restart today just to see what my startup time was like. This is on a 2014 iMac running macOS 10.12.6. Not a lot of software, no system hacks or anything.

The machine has a 1TB spinning hard drive, rather slow I would assume (5400 rpm?).

It took a little over two minutes (about 135 seconds) to get back to the desktop and another solid minute before all the icons and toolbar up top were populated. Not too much on the desktop, either, fewer than a dozen file icons. Kind of slow, it would seem.
 


Little Snitch continued to be a problem, and it nuked my Ethernet connections as well. I regretfully removed it from all my computers, and everything's been running better since then. I've been a paid user for years, but there's just some flaky thing going on between Little Snitch and Mojave. I’ll have to look for alternatives now... or just live this way...
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Little Snitch continued to be a problem, and it nuked my Ethernet connections as well. I regretfully removed it from all my computers, and everything's been running better since then. I've been a paid user for years, but there's just some flaky thing going on between Little Snitch and Mojave. I’ll have to look for alternatives now... or just live this way...
Could you be a little more specific? There have been some Little Snitch updates with various bug fixes, so you could have some trouble if you aren't up to date, but I'm not seeing problems here with the current Little Snitch 4.2.4 release across various macOS versions, including 10.12, 10.13 and 10.14, and a bunch of different old and new MacBook Pros and a MacBook Air.
 


Could you be a little more specific? There have been some Little Snitch updates with various bug fixes, so you could have some trouble if you aren't up to date, but I'm not seeing problems here with the current Little Snitch 4.2.4 release across various macOS versions, including 10.12, 10.13 and 10.14, and a bunch of different old and new MacBook Pros and a MacBook Air.
I had installed the latest version. In the past, I had the issue with the boot delay, which seemed to get a little better when I updated the last time. Then suddenly Ethernet died (claimed cable wasn't plugged in; despite changing cables, etc). On a hunch, after several recovery attempts, I used LaunchControl to get rid of every bit of Little Snitch (wish I'd realized the easy way is trashing the config file alone and letting the software do the rest of the work). Now it boots faster and Ethernet magically returned.

Maybe I'm wrong about Little Snitch. It caused zero problems on the 2015 Macbook Pro or my wife's older Air, both under Mojave.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
2018 MacBook Pro 13", macOS 10.14.2 Mojave, Apple PCIe SSD, APFS
Set startup to internal SSD​
Shutdown​
00:00 open lid​
00:11 enter FileVault password​
00:27 long pause, progress bar stalls, screen dims​
00:59 login screen​
Another test with the same 2018 MacBook Pro:

Boot with Option key​
Control-select internal drive​
00:00 Enter FileVault password​
00:15 Progress bar stalls midway​
01:07 Login prompt​
macOS demands for iCloud/iMessage login, delays, spinning cursors​
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
On a hunch, after several recovery attempts, I used LaunchControl to get rid of every bit of Little Snitch (wish I'd realized the easy way is trashing the config file alone and letting the software do the rest of the work).
That's covered in the company's documentation:
Objective Development said:
Little Snitch Help

Uninstalling Little Snitch
In order to perform its duty, Little Snitch needs to add components to a very low level of the operating system, which also need to be registered and unregistered with the system. It is therefore not sufficient to just remove all of Little Snitch’s application bundles. Instead, Little Snitch Uninstaller must be run.

Little Snitch Uninstaller
The easiest way to open the Little Snitch Uninstaller is to drag Little Snitch Configuration from the Applications folder to the trash. Little Snitch’s background processes notice this and automatically start the uninstaller that is located in /Library/Little Snitch/Little Snitch Uninstaller.app.

Alternatively, the Little Snitch Uninstaller can be found in the Little Snitch .dmg disk image file, next to the Installer. If you don’t have the disk image at hand, you can always download the current version from our website.

The uninstallation process itself is straight forward, with only one option to choose: Whether you want to remove your rules and settings or not. After the process is finished, you must restart your computer.

If you enable the option to remove rules and settings, the Uninstaller deletes all your system-wide configuration and rules files (also any files from older Little Snitch installations), including the file that stores your license information, as well as the configuration files, rules files and log files for the user executing the Uninstaller.
 



Another test with the same 2018 MacBook Pro:

Boot with Option key​
Control-select internal drive​
00:00 Enter FileVault password​
00:15 Progress bar stalls midway​
01:07 Login prompt​
macOS demands for iCloud/iMessage login, delays, spinning cursors​
2018 Mac Mini

00:00 Boot with option key
00:25 Control-select internal drive
00:29 select [FileVault] user
reset clock
00:00 enter FileVault password
00:45 computer ready to use

A Mac SE/30 has this beat by around 35 seconds... but this is not terrible. (Frankly, I'm amazed it booted without problems. It recognized the LG monitor for once....)
 


2014 Mac Mini, cheapest model, i5 1.4Ghz, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard disk drive:

Hard DIsk Drive:
1 min. 30 sec to "work ready."

Ethernet cable disconnected. Wireless Off and WiFi network password isn't stored. All automatic App Store functions are off. No iCloud, no iCloud password, no iCloud Account. Otherwise the Internal hard drive is the Apple Sierra 10.12.6 as normally upgraded.

External USB 3 SSD:
Approximately 47 seconds to "work ready."

Again, Ethernet cable disconnected. Wireless OFF and WiFi network password isn't stored. All automatic App Store functions are off. No iCloud, no iCloud password, no iCloud Account. SSD is cloned from a Sierra 10.12.6 system from which I stripped most Apple software, the goal being to reduce background processes and "phone homes." The computer is used only for Quicken 2007, NeoOffice to process Quicken reports, and to store and retrieve backup files on our Synologies. Little Snitch installed but inactive.

External USB 3 SSD, as above, except the Ethernet cable is connected and Little Snitch actively set to block all connections to and from Apple and Quicken.
About a minute before it is ready to work.

The added 13 seconds due to Little Snitch blocking the system's many attempts to phone home as it boots.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
00:00 Enter FileVault password
00:15 Progress bar stalls midway
01:07 Login prompt
Same 2018 MacBook Pro after installing macOS 10.14.3 (again with Little Snitch and lots of other low-level and high-level software installed):

00:00 Enter FileVault password
00:17 Progress bar stalls for a half-minute
00:48 Login dialog

Turned off WiFi and rebooted

00:00 Enter FileVault password
00:48 Login dialog
 


Same 2018 MacBook Pro after installing macOS 10.14.3 (again with Little Snitch and lots of other low-level and high-level software installed):
I had to reboot to install the Vallum app-level firewall. I timed that reboot... (Mac Mini 8,1 again)

0:00 choose user, enter FileVault password
0:18 end of verbose boot; time for progress bar screen
0:38 usable Finder screen
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Howard Oakley diagrams and describes some complicated procedures involved in booting a Mac:
The Eclectic Light Co. said:
Booting the Mac: Visual Summary
This article provides a simplified visual summary of the various stages which take place when a modern Intel Mac starts up in macOS 10.12 or 10.13, from pressing the Power button through to running the kernel and its extensions.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've been having frustrating startup delays with my stable production system (2015 MacBook Pro 15") running macOS Sierra, where there's been a long wait after pressing the power key before the apple appears and boot starts. To make a long story short, the solution is simple enough, if an extra hassle: Disconnecting my two 2TB backup drives (SSDs) from USB3 eliminates the delay.

I'm not sure what's going on during the delay - is it trimming SSD blocks, checking for malware, examining boot directories? No idea. But there it is, in case this helps someone else.
 


I've been having frustrating startup delays with my stable production system (2015 MacBook Pro 15") running macOS Sierra, where there's been a long wait after pressing the power key before the apple appears and boot starts. To make a long story short, the solution is simple enough, if an extra hassle: Disconnecting my two 2TB backup drives (SSDs) from USB3 eliminates the delay.

I'm not sure what's going on during the delay - is it trimming SSD blocks, checking for malware, examining boot directories? No idea. But there it is, in case this helps someone else.
Try verifying that your boot drive really, truly is selected as the startup disk.
  1. System Preferences > Startup Disk
  2. Click the lock to make changes
  3. Authenticate
  4. Is the desired drive highlighted now? If yes, it is OK.
  5. If not highlighted, click it.
  6. Close Preferences
  7. Repeat steps 1-4.
I've seen where it is stubborn about getting the selection to actually stick, but I can't remember what I did to fix it.
 



I've been having frustrating startup delays with my stable production system (2015 MacBook Pro 15") running macOS Sierra, where there's been a long wait after pressing the power key before the apple appears and boot starts. To make a long story short, the solution is simple enough, if an extra hassle: Disconnecting my two 2TB backup drives (SSDs) from USB3 eliminates the delay.

I'm not sure what's going on during the delay - is it trimming SSD blocks, checking for malware, examining boot directories? No idea. But there it is, in case this helps someone else.
To the best of my knowledge, TRIM does not work over USB, so that shouldn't be involved.

When you say "Backup Drives," is Time Machine or some other automated application involved?

Are you using any applications with Apple's versioning that would be storing files on the SSDs?

Once the system is booted, and you plug your drives in, do they mount and are promptly ready to use?

Spotlight indexing enabled/disabled on the drives?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
To the best of my knowledge, TRIM does not work over USB, so that shouldn't be involved.
That's true for a Samsung 850EVO in an Oyen Digital enclosure, but Disk Sensei reports Trim is active for the Samsung T5.
When you say "Backup Drives," is Time Machine or some other automated application involved?
I do both Carbon Copy Cloner and Time Machine on each backup drive (using separate volumes). Time Machine is run both automatically and manually via "Back Up Now".
Are you using any applications with Apple's versioning that would be storing files on the SSDs?
I don't think so.
Once the system is booted, and you plug your drives in, do they mount and are promptly ready to use?
There actually have been mounting issues, which may relate to my experiments with /private/etc/fstab - I guess I should wipe that out and see what happens. But I can always mount the drives with Disk Utility, though I sometimes need to power them off and on or re-connect them to USB 3 ports, one of which goes through a powered USB hub.
Spotlight indexing enabled/disabled on the drives?
Off for one clone, on for Time Machine volumes.
 


There actually have been mounting issues, which may relate to my experiments with /private/etc/fstab - I guess I should wipe that out and see what happens. (I can always mount the drives with Disk Utility, though I sometimes need to power them off and on or re-connect them to USB 3 ports, one of which goes through a powered USB hub).
One more stab in the dark: I had an external drive that had a hard time mounting. I had to keep disconnecting and reconnecting, and/or turning power off and on, before it would finally connect.

It turned out the problem was simple: failing power supply to the drive. I replaced it, and it has been working perfectly ever since.

I should have realized that the power supply was dying; its little LED was flickering and barely lit.

Come to think of it, I had a similar problem with an external DDS tape backup drive years ago.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
There actually have been mounting issues, which may relate to my experiments with /private/etc/fstab - I guess I should wipe that out and see what happens.
Cleaning out /private/etc/fstab made no difference in the startup delay, it just mounted a lot of volumes I didn't want mounted, so I guess I'll reinstate that.
It turned out the problem was simple: failing power supply to the drive. I replaced it, and it has been working perfectly ever since.
Shouldn't be an issue here - I'm using USB and 2.5" bus-powered drives (e.g. Samsung T5, Oyen Digital Mini Pro enclosure). The drives just mounted fine via Disk Utility.

I'm not very confident about the externally powered Anker 4-port hub, though, which I should probably swap yet again. (USB 3 hubs have really been a PITA, and I've tried a bunch of different ones.)
 


Recently I've been getting slow shutdowns on a random basis. It occurs whether it's a full shut down or a restart. The only pattern I've been able to come up with is it occurs after extensive use of Safari, although I can't really pin it down to that. Of course I've done all the usual diagnostics, even a RAM check, but it still persists.

Anyone have a similar experience?

2015 iMac 27-inch with macOS 10.14.3.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Recently I've been getting slow shutdowns on a random basis. It occurs whether it's a full shut down or a restart. The only pattern I've been able to come up with is it occurs after extensive use of Safari, although I can't really pin it down to that. Of course I've done all the usual diagnostics, even a RAM check, but it still persists.
Anyone have a similar experience? ...
I don't know specifically what's happening in your case, but network factors can be an issue, whether it's something related to your local network or iCloud or whatever.

I also have a theory that slow shutdowns can be caused by Apple writing out large amounts of cache from memory to disk/SSD storage, and I theorize that this may be worse with large-RAM configurations where only a fraction of the RAM is being used by active apps. (I haven't had time to test that out, however.)

Safari caching seems like it could be consistent with this sort of issue.
 


I’ve had a similar shutdown delay when Mail, which doesn’t appear to be doing anything, takes so long to quit that I get a message saying Mail is preventing the shutdown.

Since rebuilding the largest mailboxes, I don’t think I’ve had it again.
 


I’ve had a similar shutdown delay when Mail, which doesn’t appear to be doing anything, takes so long to quit that I get a message saying Mail is preventing the shutdown. Since rebuilding the largest mailboxes, I don’t think I’ve had it again.
I often get a long delay when quitting Mail. But I suspect it's because of the long delay waiting for Time Warner's slow mail servers to reply. With macOS 10.12.6 on an iMac.
 


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