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Wake up a MacBook that likes to sleep in
Authored by: docinbird on Apr 08, '08 11:55:22PM

I recently began to have this problem on my MBP, purchased 11/07 (I waited for Leopard). At first, the symptoms were more severe. Not only did the system fail to awake from sleep mode, but the familiar disk noise was not there - only the sound of a drive spinning up. Black screen, no beach ball, no anything. Once in awhile, if I closed the unit and waited, it would come back up, but very seldomly.

So, I began to do a few tests, since I was 45 days out of warranty and didn't purchase AppleCare. I used TinkerTool to clean up the system thoroughly. That had an impact. Now, I was getting the usual disk noise when trying to resume.

I had a specific date when the problem began, so I first checked to make sure there had been no software updates just before that. There were not. Then I began going through /users/my_name/library/preferences and moving any .plist files near or after that date and moving them to a backup directory. No joy. Then I discovered that the amount of time the system had been in sleep mode had an impact. For any amount of time up to ~40 minutes, it would resume properly. One time, at a longer time interval it displayed the cursor, displayed part of the login verification box, then went black again.

So then I created a new virgin user, that never used anything other than Finder. No joy.

There was always my daily Time Machine backups, right? Nope. If the problem was a lost or deleted file, that would be a big help, but I suspect that the problem is that I inadvertently had files that I needed to get rid of. On the day in question, I was checking out two shareware and two freeware installations that were highly recommended. One of them aborted. Aha! But I couldn't remember which one. Drat! No joy.,

Then I dug into the Unix logs. I was seeing kernel panics, but were they the cause, or a result of having to power off to regain an operational system. After reading something in one of David Pogue's books, that mentioned that the most common cause of kernel panics was hardware failure, and most probably memory failure, I downloaded Discovery and let it bang on my memory for awhile. No answers there.

There are only a dozen or so key apps that I use, so I began to track the registration / serial numbers, so I could re-install them if I was forced to re-install Leopard and then all of the software and firmware updates since then to get back to a solid 10.5.2. But this is not Vista that we're talking about, so that is a pretty drastic measure. Besides, I could only find the numbers for half of my main tools.

I couldn't help but wish that there was a keyboard sequence to "force awake". I know that the keyboard is at least partially awake, since the little green light for "num lock" lights up, or perhaps that is purely a hardware thing.

As always, if I shut down, instead of going into sleep mode, everything works fine.

It is still a work in progress, but if I discover the culprit, I'll post it here.

--doc



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