BinaryAge

Troubleshooting frequent screen freeze, TotalSpaces implicated

For several weeks I’ve been troubleshooting a major issue with my Mac, whereby the entire screen freezes with different symptoms. Sometimes it’s a hard freeze, losing everything. Most often the mouse will move the cursor and the seconds in the clock keep ticking, but no clicks register and no keyboard commands are accepted—I have to reset. (I have SSHed into the laptop when this has happened, and tried killing a bunch of processes to restore the screen—nothing worked.)

Started thinking this was a TotalSpaces problem two or three crashes ago, because there was a screen jitter reminiscent of the go-to-grid animation, and after that I could arrow around the grid and click on it, but even though I was going to another Space the same screen kept coming up. No other cilcks worked.

And just now, the Dock unhid before the freeze. I hit the reset button to start a restart, but released quickly—and it dropped me into a login screen for a different user on my Mac. Couldn’t keyboard or mouse still, but I clicked on the Dock and it went away—then I could cancel the login screen and finally have a way of getting back to where i was.

Completely stumped. Could be TotalSpaces, could be a bunch of other things I run. (Duet Display and Display Menu both come to mind.) Ideas?

1 Like

If you ssh in, try restarting dock (with killall dock) - if that helps then it at least implicates the dock, and possibly there could be some problem with TS. But it’s not a familiar freeze, and getting a login screen is odd, maybe user switching was triggered?

The problem with ssh is that after I see the screen freeze is when I realize I don’t know my MBP’s IP address. And I’m almost always on a public network—I’m self-employed and work from many coffee shops—so even if I set up dynamic DNS I’d have trouble getting an endpoint.

I do always have my iPad or iPhone with me, so if there’s any way of getting ssh access via iCloud that you’re aware of, let me know. The only thing I can think of is setting up a process that killalls the Dock every 15 minutes regardless of freeze, unless I can think of a way of setting up an idle trigger. Been years since I tried to AppleScript for that.