Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I think I've forced my laptop to eat its own brain, just like Ray Liotta did in "Hannibal."
Background: my laptop has, for the past several months, been operating at near peak memory capacity. MacBook Airs aren't known for huge storage; you can top them off after stuffing in a mere 60 GB. Frustratingly, my laptop had been accumulating mysterious files at a rapid rate, prompting dire warnings from the computer that "Your startup disk is almost full." I didn't, and still don't, understand why this was happening; I normally offload my data onto my 750 GB external drive.
I went online to find out how to root out unwanted files, which led me to a page that showed me how to enter a command in my Mac's Terminal app that would make invisible files visible, and thus easier to target for termination. But despite the now-visible files, I still wasn't able to find the bulk of the unwanted data that I hoped to delete.
I texted with my brother David about the situation. He suggested that my laptop might be being used as a "zombie," a sort of jumping-off point from which unscrupulous folks could remotely commandeer my computer and use it to propagate malicious software. I, meanwhile, did what I could to shave off excess data and give myself some breathing room.
Last night, I noticed a new, bulky file sitting next to my system folder. It was named "private," and I'd never seen it before. I tried opening it, but no dice. Annoyed, I decided that this file had to go: it had come out of nowhere, it was taking up 6 GB of disk space, and it wouldn't even let me see what was in it. So I trashed it.
Bad move. When I tried to empty the trash, I got a series of warnings about how this or that file was still in use and couldn't be deleted. Mac doesn't offer a "delete anyway" option, so I figured I wasn't deleting anything. But I was. And I'm guessing I deleted a lot that was important for the workings of my Mac.
The first thing I noticed, once I canceled the deletion process, was that my browser was being destroyed by my cursor: I'd run the cursor over parts of the browser window, and those parts would turn black in rectangle-shaped chunks. "Not good," I murmured to myself. Nothing else seemed to work, either, including reboots, at which point I realized that I had forced my computer to eat its own brain.
My startup disk remains nearly full, so I can't even do a proper system reset and reinstallation of the OS. I may have to just cart my computer to a Mac store and pony up a ton of cash to get some young, eager techs to help me out. Meanwhile, I'm stuck blogging on my phone, which isn't the most pleasant of options.