How do I diagnose unusually slow behavior and delays?

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How do I diagnose unusually slow behavior and delays?

Post by martin »

It's unfortunate when software hangs or crashes, but luckily log files make diagnosing such problems relatively straightforward. A problem that's more difficult to diagnose is when an app is unusually slow and sluggish, or the "spinning beach ball" cursor intermittently appears.
The Mac "spinning beach ball" cursor icon.
The Mac "spinning beach ball" cursor icon.
beachball.png (7.08 KiB) Viewed 18289 times
In these situations a true crash or hang never occurs, and a log file is not generated, making diagnosis difficult.

The good news is that macOS provides a tool that can record the activity of such a busy application, providing a look at what the app is doing (or waiting for). This kind of log is called an Activity Monitor "sample".

How do I capture an Activity Monitor sample?
In order to capture a useful sample, proper timing is essential. The most important thing is that the sample is collected at exactly the time Nisus Writer is unexpectedly slow or busy. Please read all instructions below before you try to follow them.

1. Launch Apple's Activity Monitor application.
2. In Activity Monitor's listing of all running apps, select Nisus Writer. It helps to use the search field to narrow the list:
applist.png (162.51 KiB) Viewed 13729 times

3. Switch to Nisus Writer and do whatever actions trigger the unwanted slowness or delays.
4. Quickly switch back to Activity Monitor, click the toolbar item with a gear icon, and choose Sample Process from the popup menu:
sample.png (20.42 KiB) Viewed 18289 times
5. Wait for the sample collection to be completed and save it as a log file.

IMPORTANT: step 4 must be accomplished immediately after step 3 with no delays. If it takes too long to switch apps and capture the sample, Nisus Writer will no longer be busy, and the sample will show nothing.

Once you've collected a useful sample, please submit it to us (eg: using the menu Help > Send Feedback from inside Nisus Writer) and hopefully we can help identify the cause of the delays.
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