iMac crashes at least weekly, thoughts?

John Dirk

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Warranty or not, I would take this into an Apple store. They should at least be willing to take a look and rule out the OS as the culprit.

Alternatively, is it feasible in the MAC world to downgrade to the previous OS for test purposes?
 

Thomas Newton

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Alternatively, is it feasible in the MAC world to downgrade to the previous OS for test purposes?
Yes, but you can't downgrade in place – that is, on the same startup volume, without erasing it.

If you had a clone backup of an earlier system (that was recent enough to run on your hardware), you could boot from it.
 

Cameron Yee

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My work iMac started doing almost nightly crash/restarts since upgrading to Catalina. Fortunately, it hasn't happened when I'm actually needing or using it. I may have my building techs just start me off from a fresh image, which hasn't been the practice in over a decade so I'm sure there's a lot of cruft built up over the years. Next one that happens I may share the log report.
 
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DaveF

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Warranty or not, I would take this into an Apple store. They should at least be willing to take a look and rule out the OS as the culprit.

Alternatively, is it feasible in the MAC world to downgrade to the previous OS for test purposes?
Downgrading isn’t doable for me. Technically and also how it would break “ecosystem” interactions with mobile devices.

In the Before Times, getting to an Apple Store would be a pain but doable. Presently, I just don’t want to deal with that unless this gets much worse.
 

DaveF

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So I went to my iMac and it had crashed and restarted today, sometime between 8am (when I'd been on it and it was fine from last night) and 2pm. So...
 

DaveF

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I ran Time Machine and SuperDuper to get current backups. (My data risk from backups being off for a week is very low.)
I shut down.
Unplugged all USB devices (2 external drives and a USB hub used for syncing or charging devices).
Rebooted.

I'll give it a a few days to see if it crashes with no external devices.
 

JohnRice

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Well, this is above my pay grade. My early response was simply to illustrate that I had this happen with a Mac a few years ago. I never figured out what was causing it and after a particular OS update, it simply stopped doing it.
 
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DaveF

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No worries. I've got ideas of things I can try to maybe narrow in on the cause. I've got TTP as an option to buy if it looks like that would be worthwhile. And I should give Apple Chat a try in case they have ideas.
 

DaveF

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I'm chatting with Apple Support. They're friendly and trying. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll have some additional insights. :)
 
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DaveF

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Apple Tech Support (basically, zap the PRAM, check the disk, and reinstall the OS)

Power Off
Hold down Shift and Power Up.
Log in
Power off
Power on and press COMMAND-OPTION-P-R
Power off
Hold COMMAND-R and Power on
Run Disk Utility and run First Aid to check disk
Reinstall macOS

Now I wait and see if problem persists
(I've reconnected my USB peripherals so I can see if the above per se fixes it)
 
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DaveF

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Ok, this might be getting worse. it's crashed twice today. Once this evening after going through the process above with Apple.
 

John Dirk

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Yea, that was pretty basic advice from Apple.

Looking over the original error message again, it appears the system is attempting to write to the GPU and fails to set the proper state prior to initiating its write cycle. One of the first tenets of troubleshooting is to carefully consider what has changed in your environment since things last functioned normally. While this can be difficult to pinpoint, in your case it seems to be the recent OS upgrades. Whatever external devices you have now were there before this began, correct?

Windows OS's use a feature called "restore points" to protect against unintended issues caused by minor upgrades. These are automatically set by the OS when you install the update and can return your system to it's pre-update condition when problems arise. If this feature exists in the MAC world I'm curious why Apple support did not suggest it. Perhaps someone with some MAC expertise here can confirm.

Honestly, I'm surprised by your dilemma as I thought the whole point of MAC's was their reliability, albeit achieved at the cost being totally proprietary and non user-serviceable.
 

DaveF

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Crashed a third time today. Apple's reset process seems to have made it much, much worse. The iMac seems to be crashing everytime it sleeps. I'll see what happens over night. If so, I'll turn off sleep until I can try new diagnostic steps.

Won't have time to call Apple again until this weekend at the earliest.
 

DaveF

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Honestly, I'm surprised by your dilemma as I thought the whole point of MAC's was their reliability, albeit achieved at the cost being totally proprietary and non user-serviceable.
Apple's software quality is in decline.
 

John Dirk

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Apple's software quality is in decline.
Well, in all fairness, this is not unique to Apple. Once those who willed and dreamed a company into existence with their vision, dedication and sweat, pass it on to garden variety CEO's this is all but certain.
 

Thomas Newton

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Windows OS's use a feature called "restore points" to protect against unintended issues caused by minor upgrades.
Upgrading from a previous version of the OS to Catalina is not a "minor upgrade". It's more like taking a PC that is running Windows 7 or 8 and installing Windows 10. Afterwards, you can't install Windows 7 over Windows 10; major version upgrades go one way.
 

Clinton McClure

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Crashed a third time today. Apple's reset process seems to have made it much, much worse. The iMac seems to be crashing everytime it sleeps. I'll see what happens over night. If so, I'll turn off sleep until I can try new diagnostic steps.

Won't have time to call Apple again until this weekend at the earliest.
If it crashes when it sleeps then don’t let it sleep. The energy savings is negligible and not worth the hassle of weird things happening on wake. I don’t think I’ve used a sleep function on any computer (Mac or PC) in years.
 
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JohnRice

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I haven’t enabled sleep on any of mine in years either. I let the monitors go to sleep, but not the computer.
 
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John Dirk

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Upgrading from a previous version of the OS to Catalina is not a "minor upgrade". It's more like taking a PC that is running Windows 7 or 8 and installing Windows 10. Afterwards, you can't install Windows 7 over Windows 10; major version upgrades go one way.
In post #5, Dave suggests that this behavior likely started "through a couple of updates," which I assumed to be minor patches as opposed to the major OS upgrade to Catalina.

Also, you most certainly could fall back to Windows 7 after installing Windows 10. Happens all the time in the Enterprise world for various reasons. I don't know if MACs are different but I doubt they are. In either case, Dave has already indicated he is not willing to do that. It could possibly be done on a separate partition and provide some diagnostic value, while still preserving the ability to boot into Catalina once the problem is resolved. That's admittedly a lot of trouble though and I don't know if it's worth the effort.
 

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