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Thanks for the help.

As for software demands making it slow, the timecapsule backup that I used was over 3 years old, long before I had any problems. Even with that older version OS and older software the machine was so slow that it wasn't usable. That is what led me to suspect a hardware issue of some kind.

To be honest, it had gotten just a bit slower with the OS upgrades over the years but still worked well even with Mojave.

I was able to boot to the Apple Hardware Test and ran the extended test. It could not identify any hardware issues. Does it check the HD? I ask because I didn't see the HD even mentioned in the AHT console.

Is there a way to check the hard drive - and it has a hd, it did not come with a ssd.

The nearest Genius bar is 70 miles from here and I've never even been there, never had any reason to. Would they charge for a diagnostic visit on a laptop this old? If it is a hd I would probably want to replace it with a ssd, but I think I would prefer to do it myself. I don't want to drop $300 on a laptop that is 6 years old.

johngalt said my symptoms are consistent with a hd problem. If a diagnosis confirms that and I were to replace the HD and not copy anything over, would I still be able to boot into the repair console and download the Mojave OS that I was using when things went south or is the ability to boot into the repair console contained on the hd that is in the computer?

Thanks for all the insight.
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