I recently had some severe Windows XP flashbacks. If you’ve switched from a PC to a Mac, you probably were accustomed to random crashes that you could not track down to any one particular component or application. Your only solution was to reformat and reinstall Windows. This, was the experience I faced recently with OS X.
I gradually began noticing random lockups while using the system. Sometimes, while surfing the internet, I would get the spinning ball and the entire OS would become unresponsive. Sometimes, when switching screen resolutions the screen would go blank. Sometimes, my system wouldn’t come back from sleep.
To troubleshoot this problem, I removed all running services, uninstalled as many applications as I could. Still, the problem persisted.
I then decided to use the hammer. I reformatted and reinstalled OS X. I regularly backup my system so this step wasn’t too painful. I reformatted the disk and reinstalled the OS X 10.6. My machine started up clean, I was able to surf the web, my problems looked like they were solved – until I ran Software Update. I applied the combined 10.6.3 patch, restarted the computer. Within 5 minutes of using the newly patched system, the problem returned.
I Googled, 10.6.3 lockup and came across a number of people on the Apple forums that were experiencing similar problems. I reformatted the system and turned off the Software Updates. I also applied the 10.6.2 patch which is available on the Apple Website directly. I’ve been running for a few weeks now without issue.
If you have an iMac, and are experiencing problems. You’re not alone. If for some reason you haven’t applied 10.6.3 yet, you may want to wait.