More and more frequently the machine freezes on the pinwheel of death. It will not recover from it, you can not force quit the application and you can not restart the computer without a hard shut off.
It used to work for a couple of hours before it would start this, now you might get 20 mins of work before that #@!$%^@$# pinwheel shows up.
Recently, maybe two weeks ago, I got what must be Apples version of the Blue Screen of Death. Said something to the effect of this computer must be restarted, an unrecoverable error has occurred. I’ve only seen that once.
Your hard drive may be getting ready to go belly up.
I have a Powerbook G4 that did that last year; spent more and more time proudly displaying the spinning Beach Ball of Boredom, and then started having boot problems. Then the hard drive finally croaked for good, but only right after I was able to copy it - I'm a lucky boy...
I had had Apple Care on it; although it had expired more than a year previously (the machine was more than four years old), they replaced the drive for free.
Runs like a champ, now, but since the old non-Intel chip won't run Snow Leopard, I'm currently waiting for my replacement 27" i7 iMac...
The “Spinning Pin Wheel of Death”
I’ve seen it way too many times on my 10 month old Mac. The Genius Bar can fix it up, but it’s not good when they know my name
If you haven’t done it go to your admin account and run disk utility. After you do that, you might also want to leave it on overnight without letting it go to sleep. Mac’s software is designed to do housekeeping in the early morning.
Still, that may not be the solution. Here is a discussion about the pinwheel: http://homepage.mac.com/bner/iblog/B1570693677/C1292119410/E20050912212212/index.html
It seems mostly related to a lack of RAM. It’s very unlikely that it’s related to hard drive bloat or “the aging of the machine”.
If you do decide to get rid of it, don’t get rid of it cheap.