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Incessant Mac indexing caused by bad drive

For several months now, my iMac has been giving me grief. Frequently Chrome would freeze. I couldn't type, I couldn't click. I blamed Chrome because it seemed to me that if I Command-Tabbed to something else, all would be fine.

But as the summer passed, I realized that wasn't entirely true. Although it was true that anything I did in Terminal was responsive, other apps were not when this happened. So plainly it wasn't Chrome.

Do understand that during the summer I'm usually away and using another computer and when I'm home I'm usually rushed, so I didn't spend a lot of time testing things. But I did spend enough that I was beginning to think that maybe I had a - gasp - virus or other malware lurking beneath. I actually ran some tests at my router looking for anything trying to go out at odd hours and so on. But nothing showed up there.

When El Capitan came out, I hoped this would fix things, but instead things got worse - much worse.

Well, I'm back home now full time, so I started digging. The first thing I noticed was that El Cap was spening a lot of time indexing. Well, that's expected after an OS upgrade, but it was still at it days later. Something else had to be going on.

On a whim, I fired up Disk Utility, figuring I'd check disk integrity. I have two external drives used for Time Machine backup. Time Machine has not been complaining, so I didn't really expect to find anything, but to my surprise Disk Utility hung trying to access one of the drives! I pulled the plug on it immediately and everything has been fine since then.

I'm tossing that drive. It was old anyway and it's time for something new.

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UNIX does not allow path names to be prefixed by a drive name or number; that would be precisely the kind of device dependence that operating systems ought to eliminate. (Andrew S. Tanenbaum)

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