Posted In: Mac Help

    • Anonymous on #2480

      My MacBook Pro seems to have acquired a virus somewhere along the line, which makes it go very slowly and apparently ‘freeze’ up. It will load up and operate for about 5-10 minutes then the ‘rainbow wheel’ comes into action and I cannot work on it anymore. All screens become so affected. I am running Sophos anti-virus software, however this also succumbs to the problem, freezing partway into the scan and unable to finish. Any help welcome!

    • Keymaster
      David Payette on #2496

      Hi Brad,

      Thanks for taking the time to write and for the great question. What it sounds like to me is a hard drive that’s on it’s way out. The first thing to do is back up everything right away – even if I’m wrong, it’s always a good idea to have a backup.

      The reason I suggest it may be your hard drive comes from my experience at Apple and the way the symptoms are presenting themselves. Antivirus software scans every file on your hard drive and I bet that a portion of your drive is corrupted. When the scan gets that far, the computer freezes.

      Try this: When your computer first starts up, open Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility. Select your hard drive on the left and choose Verify Disk. If your computer freezes halfway through, there’s a good chance that there’s a physical problem with your hard drive, and if that’s the case, it’s time to get it replaced. Software like DiskWarrior is sometimes a temporary stop-gap, but I wouldn’t recommend it for your situation.

      I could be wrong about this whole thing – but I bet you don’t have a virus at all.

      All the best and I hope this helps,
      David P.

    • Keymaster
      David Payette on #2506

      Brad followed up via email:

      Hi David, thanks for your reply. I have followed your instruction and indeed it has frozen during the disk verification process. Bravo! So I let it just run, and after a few moments the ‘repair disk’ window became live. After letting that run, it transpires that I need to reformat the disk. I have backups in Time Machine on a separate drive, so can you advise what I should do next?

      And my response:

      Hey Brad,

      What I’d advise you to do is get a new hard drive right away. You’re fortunate you made it this far. Yes, there are instances where reformatting a drive can help, but the vast majority of the time low-level hard drive corruption is a problem that will return with a vengeance.

      You’re going to have to restore your stuff from a backup whether you choose to replace the hard drive now or not, and it’s not something you’re going to want to have to do twice. Get that problem hard drive out of there and fire in a new one – it will make your life a whole lot easier.

      Apple stores can do it but they’re expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper third-party alternative to do it for you, I recommend iResq. If you’re tech savvy and don’t mind diving in yourself, pick up a hard drive from Amazon and use the guides at iFixit to walk through the process. I’m willing to bet you have a non-retina MacBook Pro.

      I highly recommend switching to an SSD – you’d see a huge increase in speed. I highly recommend this Samsung SSD on Amazon. I used one a few years ago to upgrade my white MacBook – what a difference! Any way you choose to go is fine, as long as you get that hard drive out of there.

      All the best,
      David P.

      • Anonymous on #2740

        This suggestion was most helpful, and I have now upgraded to a 1 TB drive- I went for the SSHD from Seagate that was extremely good value. Fitting was straightforward, and the recovery has been via backup disk that I had kept through Time Machine.

        There is one problem from the import, and that is the Microsoft Office package I had running on it. The software has ben transferred across like all my other apps, however I am now required to enter the product key in order to use it again. Is there a way to retrieve this? What can you suggest?

        Thanks for your time,



    • Keymaster
      David Payette on #2741

      Hey Brad,

      Glad to hear my suggestions helped! I’m sure you’ll see a big bump in speed. Before I address your Office issue, there’s a technical thing called ‘Trim’ that applies to all SSD drives. Trim should always be enabled for SSDs but Apple only enables it automatically for their own SSDs. Download Trim Enabler (the free version is fine) and flip the switch to turn it on. The go to the Settings pane (gear button at top) and enable ‘Check for Trim support on boot’. Here’s where to download it: It’s not the end of the world if you don’t download it, but I feel that since I mentioned the SSD to you I should give you a heads up about Trim too.

      On to your Office issue: I’m flashing back to my time in the Apple store. We ran into this a lot. Office activation is tied to the hardware ID of the hard drive. When you swapped out the hard drive, Office thinks you bought a new computer. You should be able to simply reactivate it with your old product key. If you purchased Office online, it should be in your email, and if you bought the boxed version, I believe it’s on the CD sleeve. Assuming you don’t have that product ID: I believe you’ll need to call Microsoft activation support.

      This website has a great walkthrough of everything Office for Mac activation:, but the phone numbers they recommend are these: Office Installation and Activation Support (800) 936-5700 or Office activation (U.S. only): (888) 652-2342.

      Try to speak to a real live person and explain what happened. You just might be the one-millionth caller they’ve had about this issue. I have a feeling they’ll have no problem issuing you a new key. I could be wrong, but I bet they’re pretty accommodating.

      Hope this helps and best of luck with getting Office back up and running.

      All the best,
      David P.

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