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1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache

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Freezing Leading to Scrambled Screen/Questionmark Folder

(So the mac has frozen two times while attempting to write this message - on the phone now - hopefully this freezing bug is not contagious :D)

Hello guys,

My mac has started to freeze since the last 3/4 days. After the cursor freezes, 50 percent of the time with the rainbow scroll, I close the lid of the laptop and the screen light turns off(I can see from the logo). When I immediately reopen, either a scrambled screen comes, or the laptop seems to restart. When this happens it goes to a flashing question mark folder most of the time or a white screen. I then force restart with the power button and laptop boots up as usual. The first times it seemed to happen when the mac i felt was under load, e.g first time was when football manager was open with a number of safari tabs as well. It also happened when I was scrolling reddit, when i sometimes get a safari notification saying reddit is taking siginificant memory.

However this issue has migrated to instances when there is no load. In the past hour the mac has had this issue 2 times, when the only thing running was safari and the ifixit tab. (Although i had attempted to write these messages straight after rebooting from a crash).

Also in the last crash, i got a message before logging onto computer of a “the system is unable to unlock your login keychain - login keychain is damaged, cannot be used, new one created. Does this suggest an access to memory problems, as I also get the flashing question mark folder occasionally?

Does what I am observing seem to match a common symptom, and if so, is there a potential fix?

Many thanks in advance…

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Did you get your system wet at some point? Like sit it down on a wet surface or spill a drink in to it?

Are you still using the original SSD drive the system came with?


Hello (again) Dan.

Yes this laptop had a water spill waaaay back in 2013, which probably led to a previous problem with the laptop. I had consulted with the community about this back in 2016, where you had commented also. That problem was fixed when I took it to a local laptop repair shop, who said that the problem was very dusty.(MacBook keeps on turning off when unplugged, yet battery health is 86%)

It is still using the original SSD


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I’m not sure if your logic board its self is having a problem or your SSD.

I would setup an external bootable drive so you can run disk utility on your internal drive to check it out for corruption. You may also need to delete some stuff from your drive as it maybe to full! You really need 1/3 of the drive left unused on the smaller sized SSD’s (256 GB or smaller) and 1/4 on 512 GB and larger.

At this point I think you’ll need to do a bit of inspection to see if you have corrosion damage and/or if your system needs some cleaning of dust and maybe need the thermal paste refreshed given its age. You need to look on both sides. Here’s the guide you’ll need to follow MacBook Air 13" Mid 2012 Logic Board Replacement

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Hi Dan,

So my ssd (128gb) is roughly 1/4 full. Would reducing to at least 1/3 empty actually have the potential to help at this point, or is it more of a good maintenance step to keep a healthy ssd, before it begins causing problems like mine is potential doing?

Is the checking out for corruption procedure as simple as just using the "first aid" on disk utility option - if not can you point me towards a source showing how to check for corruption, before I commit to buying an external hardrive (the one I have is for time machine).

Thanks a lot again for the info, you'd helped in 2016 and now again in 2019! Much appreciated ;)


The amount of storage space left free is to prevent the SSD from wearing out prematurely.

SSD's have a limit of only so many write events. So when the drive is overfull (the boot drive being to focus here) the SSD needs to run wear leveling to move data around so the free space is the less worn area.

As your system will be using the SSD for Virtual RAM this tends to create a lot of data churn (heat) which uses more CPU cycles (heat) and causes the system to heat up with the extra work.

From what it sounds you're not pushing the drive currently. But as you have used system for many years you may want to investigate the wear level of your drive.

You only need a cheap USB-A thumb drive 32 GB not an expensive drive! And, yes you want to use Disk First-Aid from the external drive.


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Yavuz будет вечно благодарен.
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