New Site Confronts MacBook Shutdown Issues

A new Web site looks into whether MacBooks are randomly shutting down and is urging Apple to look into the problem.

If your MacBook shuts down without warning, a new Web site says that you may not be alone.

The site,, is dedicated to the random shutdown problems encountered by the owner of a 2GHz MacBook purchased in the summer of 2006.

About four weeks after it arrived, the MacBook began randomly shutting down without explanation. So, Matthew Swanson of Atlanta, Ga., decided to take his concerns and turn them into Web site and message board for people to post blogs and comments about similar MacBook problems.

The move echoes similar occurrences with other MacBook problems, such as the so-called Mooing and hand rest discoloration issues aired on Web sites by Apple customers. The company has since offered fixes for those two issues.

"Theres a growing Mac community out there and I decided to create a place where people can talk about their concerns and exchange information," Swanson told eWEEK in a telephone interview.

The site, which started on Aug. 15, has been generating about 2,000 visitors a day. Swanson thinks that number will increase to about 4,000 visitors soon.

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So far, there has been no response from Apple about the spontaneous MacBook shutdowns. The Cupertino, Calif., company does not currently list the problem on the support section of its Web site, although several users have also cited random shutdown issues on Apples online tech support discussion forums.

A spokesman for the computer maker could not be immediately reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Swansons, who bought the MacBook to replace a Power Mac G3, may have found a fix for his machine. An Apple technician replaced the heat sink and the computer has worked "rock solid" since then, according to Swanson.

However, Swanson said that readers of his Web site—there are about 75 to 100 people registered, so far—have pointed to a number of different problems, besides the heat sink, that they suspect might be causing these random shutdowns.

One reader posted: "My week 20 [May] black 2Ghz MacBook from factory 4H has the random shutdown problem too. It does this even when plugged into the wall, not just on battery, so I do not believe this is a battery-related problem."

Another reader suspects that the problems might have to do with QuickTime, Apples video viewer.

"Im figuring its not just a problem with a QuickTime update, seeing how I think others would have made the correlation by now, but I could be wrong.

"Also, is anyone experiencing this problem with any other specific apps? Maybe if a short list of apps that people believe are triggering shutdowns was compiled, someone more knowledgeable than myself could figure out how theyre related and find the real problem."

Joseph Wilcox, a senior researcher at JupiterResearch, said that he has not heard or seen any problems with random shutdowns of MacBooks. Instead, he said he suspects the problems might not be as widespread as some Mac users may think.

"I wouldnt read much into it yet, unless you have talked to masses of people," Wilcox.

Swanson also concedes that the problem may not be widespread, but hopes his Web site will at least prompt Apple to look at the problem and give Mac users a space to exchange information and address these problems until they can resolve them.

"Theres a community out there and people are passionate about it and I want to keep the Web site going to let people talk about it," Swanson said.

Swansons site is not the only one dedicated to MacBook shutdown problems. The site MacRumors has also had forums discussing random shutdown issues.

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