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I've gotten a lot of his symptoms, and there might be another cause:


Bad blocks in the disk, causing the system to beachball frequently due to disk I/O failures when swapping out to disk.

The solution for me was to back up, reformat the disk and zero-ing out everything causing bad sectors to get remapped, and then restore.

I have to say, I was experiencing a shitload of disk thrashing on my iMac, and eventually decided to replace the drive. So I did the whole ridiculous suction-cup routine (yeah, that's Apple "elegance") and replaced the drive.

Problem resolved. Not that I don't still get inexplicable pinwheels, but nothing like before.

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