My (2011) Macbook Pro which i upgraded to Lion suffered from the spinning colored beach ball (so you can't do anything and have to wait for the Mac to become responsive again). I searched around the Net, checked/fixed permissions, tried to get rid of programs i did not use anymore, but nothing worked, the spinning colour beach ball still happened way to much (and seemed to be related to disk activity spikes). So i thought i might be because i did an OS upgrade instead of a fresh install.
I tried to resize my HDD partition, that took all the disc. But resizing was impossible; it was greyed out. I tried Disk Utility and Drive Genius without luck. Stellar Toolbox (Drivetoolbox.com) offered me a change to resize though. But it advised it needed to defragment first. So i agreed, and waited... The progress bar moved about 5% and than it stopped, for hours.
Stellar gave me no option to stop defragmentation... What to do? I know it is dangerous to power-quit such a process. But hey: nothing seemed to happen. So i hard-powered off the Mac. Powered it back on ... But got a grey stop sign. Uh-oh. I found you can get into restore/recovery mode by pressing Command-R while booting. I tried the Disk Utility: no luck. So i reinstalled Lion. This would give me a fresh install, so at least i would know for sure if my upgrade was to blame for the beach ball.
Did i already say i only backuped my most important files? In the hope i would not screw up the resize of the partition? So i lost all the less important data. You do make backups, right ;-)?
But now i had my music and pictures on my iPhone, but not anywhere else. Well, just sync, right? Wrong! iTunes only syncs what you bought through iTunes. I searched around a lot, and (free) Senuti helped me get my music from my iPhone and copy it to iTunes.
So now my pictures. Lots of people will say Preview will let you import pictures from your iPhone. Yeah, right, just the ones that did not get imported earlier. What happens is that your iPhone stores the pictures that got imported earlier in a special folder on the iPhone! And no utility i found, not even iPhoto, will offer to resync the pictures again?!? What i ended up with is use iExplorer to browse my iPhone and find folder /private/var/mobile/Media/PhotoData/Sync/100SYNCD ... So i copied all files from that folder to my desktop and imported the pictures into iPhoto. Now i can sync without loosing the stuff on the iPhone (well, it removes the pictures on the iPhone, but than copies the ones back i put in iPhoto).
I lost all my playlists and albums using this, but after some heavy searching this was the only way i could at least preserve my data (music and photos).
Well, thank you SO much Apple in making this so difficult. AND for giving me this beach ball, which i still see after a fresh Lion install on my Macbook. Together with the resets-during-calls of my 3GS i have pretty much had it with Apple. They better come up with fixes soon :-( .
I'm currently looking at the DTrace tools to see whether i can use them to get a better understanding of the IO spikes i see when my macbook freezes with the rainbow spinning ball. Another helpfull command i'm using is: open Terminal and type sudo fs_usage -w > ~/Desktop/usage.txt . This will write filesystem operations to a text file. Analyzing the huge amount of output is a challenge, but because i think there is a relation with IO, i need to investigate it. I also searched for the latest driver for my mobile USB modem, just in case that might somehow interfere with IO.