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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Sep 25, 2012
    Posts
    4
    Early macbook pro 2008 kernel panic, hard drive problem
    Hello!

    I've been trying to sort this for a few weeks now, and I'm hoping someone may be able to shed some light on the situation.

    Problem:
    I have an early 2008 15" MacBook Pro which a few weeks ago suddenly died on me. It has what I believe is called a kernel panic. On startup a grey screen falls down with a box saying that I need to restart the computer.

    I took it to my local apple store where they booted an OSX (not sure which) from an external drive (I think it was using a firewire cable). The MacBook appeared to work fine from this external hard drive, but when disk utility was run on the internal hard drive, the disk utility eventually froze.

    Based on this info, the guy there deduced (fairly reasonably I suppose) that the problem must be my hard drive, and replacing my hard drive should solve this. So bought a
    Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500 GB,Internal,7200 RPM,6.35 cm (2.5").

    The equipment I now have to try and get my MacBook to work:

    - An iMac 2.7 Ghz i5 (8gb Ram) running Mac OSX 10.7.5
    - A replacement hard drive for the MacBook (Seagate Momentus)
    - A SATA HArd drive USB docking station
    - A 500gb iOmega Hard drive with Firewire 800 cables
    - The 2 original install disks for Tiger that came with the MacBook Pro
    - A working .dmg of retail snow leopard

    What I have tried so far:

    I have formatted the replacement hard drive correctly (GUID) for Mac OSX. If I turn the macbook pro on with the new hard drive in, a folder icon with a question mark in it flashes in the middle of the screen... If I put in the original install disk, it starts to read it (apple logo and spinning wheel) and then eventually kernel panics. When I hold option on start up, the 'Mac OSX Install Disk 1" is the only option available (the cd/dvd drive must be working if it recognises the disk here i assume?) but when I select it, it spins for a bit, then kernel panics.

    My next approach was to try and create an installable and bootable version of an OSX on an external hard drive. (I have tried this with both the original Tiger install disk, and with the leopard.dmg)... I followed the readily available instructions online on how to do this, and was able to restore the first partion on the external hard drive with the OSX install disk image.... The problem I have then face is installing the osx onto the second partition.

    This seems to be because my newish iMac/OSX wont let me boot any OSX installer CD/firewire or otherwise, other than the original operating system for the iMac.

    I thought this wouldn't matter, as I would be able to run the installer when I plugged the iOmega into my MacBook pro. The problem I now have is that the Macbook wont recogninise the iOmega when it is connected by firewire. It will only recognise it when connected by USB, but when I try and run the installer, it spins for a while then kernel panics. I believe this is because MacBook pros of this age will only run OSX Install/bootable through firewire.

    So... hardware wise, could this be anything other than a problem with the hard drive? As we know the MacBook pro will boot from an external drive...

    If anyone has actually managed to read this far into this incredibly boring, waffling description of my problem, I am already grateful, and if anyone can give any help or advice at all regarding this, I will be eternally in your debt....

    Thank you

  2. #2

    louishen's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
    8,968
    Specs:
    Mac Mini Core i7 2012 | White 2009 MacBook 2 Ghz | 733 Mhz G4 Quicksilver
    Hard diks seldom cause Kernal Panics, although a bad OS on the disk can

    A common cause is bad ram, try taking each RAM simm out individually and see if ut boots from the MBP restore disks. If only one of the RAM simm causes a panic you may have the culprit, or if reseating them cures it you are also good to go
    Member of the Month September 2008 & August 2012 | Found advice useful? use the rep system

  3. #3

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    48,514
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    The symptom you describe sounds very much like the nVidia GPU failure problem that has plagued the 2007 and 2008 MacBook Pro models.

    Apple has extended the warranty on those to four years and will replace the logic board for free if that's the cause. I suggest going back to your local Apple store and mentioning this to them and let them decide.

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Sep 25, 2012
    Posts
    4
    Thanks for the replies. I have tried taking out each RAM and also trying each one in the opposite slot, and the result is the same.

    I checked and I actually bought the Laptop in July 2007, so it wouldn't even be covered by the extended warranty if that were it...

    Is it still possible that it is the nvidia problem if the MacBook will boot from an external hard drive?... When I put my old hard drive into my SATA USB reader and try and boot from it on my new iMac, it comes up in verbose mode with something about a 'kernel error'... However I can access all the files on my old hard drive when I use it just as an external drive, so all the data is still on it.

    It seems like I am running out of options. I thought it must just be the hard drive if it will boot from an external hard drive....

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Apr 24, 2009
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    738
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 15" 2.8 GHz
    A few thoughts....

    Quote Originally Posted by dahl24 View Post
    I took it to my local apple store where they booted an OSX (not sure which) from an external drive (I think it was using a firewire cable). The MacBook appeared to work fine from this external hard drive, but when disk utility was run on the internal hard drive, the disk utility eventually froze.
    If Disk Utility stopped responding, that's often a sign that the hard drive is pretty sick. As you have a SATA drive caddy, why don't you attach it again to your iMac, but this time run Disk Utility on the old MBP drive again. Does it find any problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by dahl24 View Post
    I have formatted the replacement hard drive correctly (GUID) for Mac OSX. If I turn the macbook pro on with the new hard drive in, a folder icon with a question mark in it flashes in the middle of the screen... If I put in the original install disk, it starts to read it (apple logo and spinning wheel) and then eventually kernel panics
    Are you sure you are using the original OSX Install Disk? A disk intended for a different MBP can cause kernel panics.

    Quote Originally Posted by dahl24 View Post
    The problem I now have is that the Macbook wont recogninise the iOmega when it is connected by firewire. It will only recognise it when connected by USB, but when I try and run the installer, it spins for a while then kernel panics. I believe this is because MacBook pros of this age will only run OSX Install/bootable through firewire.
    MacBook Pro's as yours should see hard drives via FireWire or USB, boot from them and install from a hard drive based installer. Both interfaces should work.

    I'd undo the single screw and remove the airport card, they can cause kernel panics. If no change, possible problems could be the hard drive flex cable or logic board. Another cause could be memory, but you've already tried running on one SO-DIMM and the other. To be 100% sure, if you have access to any PC5300s DDR 667MHz memory, I'd substitute it.

    Hope you get it resolved.
    Steve
    UK

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Sep 25, 2012
    Posts
    4
    Thanks for your reply

    Quote Originally Posted by techiesteve View Post


    If Disk Utility stopped responding, that's often a sign that the hard drive is pretty sick. As you have a SATA drive caddy, why don't you attach it again to your iMac, but this time run Disk Utility on the old MBP drive again. Does it find any problems?
    Ive just tried this and verify disk gave no errors. It's strange because when they did it in the apple shop, the process took a long time with a progress bar slowly creeping along the bottom (until it eventually crashed). When I did it today, it only took a few seconds (no progress bar) and then says the partition map appears to be OK.

    Quote Originally Posted by techiesteve View Post
    Are you sure you are using the original OSX Install Disk? A disk intended for a different MBP can cause kernel panics.
    They are definitely the original grey install discs that came with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by techiesteve View Post
    MacBook Pro's as yours should see hard drives via FireWire or USB, boot from them and install from a hard drive based installer. Both interfaces should work.
    I've read on the forums that ones of this age will only boot from firewire. It makes no difference to me anyway as it wont recognise the drive when I plug it in by firewire. Strange.

    Quote Originally Posted by techiesteve View Post
    I'd undo the single screw and remove the airport card, they can cause kernel panics. If no change, possible problems could be the hard drive flex cable or logic board. Another cause could be memory, but you've already tried running on one SO-DIMM and the other. To be 100% sure, if you have access to any PC5300s DDR 667MHz memory, I'd substitute it.
    I haven't got access to any other RAM, but I will try removing the airport card, thanks.

    Someone mentioned on another forum that my machines firmware will have been updated which is why it wont boot from the tiger disks, apparently it will only boot from Snow Leopard now... I would of thought this would only apply if I had ever upgraded to snow leopard, however this machine always just ran on Tiger....

    Anyway, Ive bought the snow leopard retail disks from apple (only 14) as I'm willing to try anything.

    I will update if anything works.

    Thanks again.

  7. #7


    Member Since
    Sep 25, 2012
    Posts
    4
    I finally received my CD retail copy of snow leopard. The laptop recognises the CD when I hold down option on start up.

    The apple symbol displays and the wheel begins to spin... And then the grey screen descends and it kernel panics....

    I Also tried installing the CD image directly to the internal hard drive using disk utility and my SATA docking station. (I partitioned the hard drive so that it could install the operating system onto itself)

    The laptop also recognises the Max OS X install image on start up, but again spins for a while and then kernel panics.

    I think I may be at the end of the line here, but thought I would post my final results to see if anyone has any other ideas...

    Thanks everyone for your help so far anyway.

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