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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2013
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    Kernel Panics & Slow Startup
    Hey everyone,

    I currently own a 15" Macbook Pro (Purchased August 2010, i5, 2.4 GHz, 4 GB, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard) which has been experiencing occasional Kernel panics. When I first brought it into the shop they determined that it was an issue related to a dislodged RAM and it showed no signs of Kernel panics for a few weeks following the work. However, after a few weeks the Kernel panics sporadically started occurring again. There wasn't anything odd about the MBP's functionality, it was just a nuisance whenever the Kernel panics happened to occur...they didn't seem to be triggered by anything in particular. This went on for a few months until the most recent Kernel panic, which was not unlike any of the other Kernel panics prior. After this particular Kernel panic, the computer has taken ~30 minutes to startup upon each startup (it lingers on the grey apple screen, prolonged blue screen then desktop which will not respond to the mouse until some time passes...usually about 15-20 mins.). After this slow startup the computer functions normally (and at normal speed), since then I have only experienced one Kernel panic and it was upon shutdown. I took the computer in again, but this time they said the panics were due to something being loose on the component of the motherboard.

    Has anyone heard of anything like this before? The computer functions fine albeit the slow startup and occasional Kernel panics so purchasing a whole new motherboard wouldn't make much sense (for the cost). I would potentially like to send it into the lab to see if they can find what is loose, but I'm not exactly sure what the likelihood of that is...or if anything is actually even loose in the first place!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    Jan 23, 2008
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    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Welcome to the Mac Forums!

    Boot your MacBook Pro with your Snow Leopard DVD. (Hold down the c key or option and then choose the disk).

    After it boots to the disk, select English as the language but do not proceed with installing Snow Leopard. Instead, click on the top menu "Utilities" and select "Disk Utility". Highlight your hard drive on the left side and then select the First Aid tab on the right. From there run a Verify and Repair on the hard drive. Let us know the results.

    I suspect your hard drive is failing although it certainly could be something else. But let's check that first.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2013
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    Thank you for your prompt response.

    I ran the Verify and Repair as per your suggestion. After Disk Utility verified the drive it said that "The volume MacbookPro appears to be OK." So I'm assuming a repair wasn't necessary. I also verified and repaired permissions since it had been a while.

    Since the last time I posted I've encountered three more kernel panics, all upon shutdown. As I mentioned previously, it seems as if the machine is having the majority of its difficulties during startup and shutdown. It seems as if the kernel panic upon shutdown is now a regular occurrence, rather than sporadic kernel panics like before. Startup is still slow but not as slow as I previously mentioned (~10 min spread out between grey apple, blue and unresponsive mouse on desktop), however this doesn't mean startup time has necessarily improved. Unfortunately, this may have just been an oversight on my part since I hadn't timed exactly how long startup was taking...I just knew it was significantly longer than previously.

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
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    I kind of missed the part in your first post about the dislodged memory modules. Why don't you pull the modules and re-seat them to see if that temporarily relieves the kernel panics. You might also wish to buy a can of compressed air and blow out the memory slots when you have the modules removed. Sometimes the slots themselves are marginally dirty and can cause kernel panics. Let us know how that goes.

    Looks like your hard drive is OK.

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    The second time I took this computer into the shop they re-sat the RAM and even tried another RAM entirely but the issue still persisted. I'm not sure if they cleaned the memory slots, I'll call and find out.
    They told me that it appeared as if the kernel panics weren't being caused by the RAM this time...hence why they suggested something potentially being loose on the motherboard. I've heard some stories about the motherboard being dirty which may cause issues, does this seem like a plausible cause?

    The first time I took it in it was evident that the kernel panics were being caused by the RAM because it had the three beeps upon startup after a kernel panic. After the RAM was re-sat the first time the kernel panics were temporarily relieved for about a month or so and then they started happening again without the three beeps upon startup...startup was either normal or delayed until the panic where all startups were delayed.

    Thank you again for all your help!

  6. #6

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    When you say 'the shop'. Was this an Apple Reseller or Genius Bar? Macs are extremely fussy about the correct memory being used, not cheaper high density RAM used by many PCs.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  7. #7


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    I mean an Apple certified repair and authorized retailer. I may take it to a Genius Bar soon if the problem still persists.

  8. #8

    chscag's Avatar
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    I've heard some stories about the motherboard being dirty which may cause issues, does this seem like a plausible cause?
    The motherboard (logic board) can get loaded up with dust or dirt depending on where you use the machine. A very humid climate without air conditioning is definitely detrimental to the life of any computer. The humidity can cause corrosion and allow dust or dirt to stick to parts.

    As far as anything being loose on the logic board, that could be the memory slots themselves. If you boot your machine to safe mode and operate it that way for awhile, do you still get kernel panics?

    Also try this: Download the SMART utility for the Mac and run it. Let's see what it says about the internal working of your hard drive. Disk Utility only checks the file and folder integrity but not the physical workings of the drive.

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    If you boot your machine to safe mode and operate it that way for awhile, do you still get kernel panics?
    I hadn't noticed this before, but it seems as if my computer doesn't make the startup tone upon startup anymore. I don't know if this is something caused by the abnormal startup or something independent entirely. Is there any way to safe boot my computer instead of the shift key after the startup tone? My computer appears to go straight to the apple screen upon startup (then grey screen, blue screen, and then desktop with unresponsive mouse).

    Thank you for your suggestion regarding the SMART utility.
    My overall SMART status was "passed." I ran 2 tests (1 long and 1 short) and no errors were found. The attributes read as follows:

  10. #10

    chscag's Avatar
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    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Well, I think we can put the hard drive to bed. It appears to be healthy. But what concerns me is the fact you're not getting the POST sound on boot up. Unless you have it turned off somehow (yes you can turn it off), that's not a normal start up. And getting into Safe mode without using the shift key would require a normal boot first.

    I'm beginning to think you have a flaky logic board or at least intermittent. I'm hoping our other long time Mac folks here in the forums can chime in on this. Let's keep this thread open to see if anyone else has any ideas of what's going on. If the thread gets a bit old (several days or so) without a response, just post to it with a reply and type in "bump". That will bring it back to the top for view.

  11. #11

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Think the Genius Bar is a great idea as startup chime not sounding, unless it is muted, is not a good sign.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  12. #12


    Member Since
    Jul 05, 2013
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    Update: After taking my computer to the Genius Bar they took the machine in for triage diagnostics. After the diagnostics, the machine curiously started functioning normally again. Not even an Erase/Reinstall of the OS was necessary.

    Thanks everyone for all your help regarding this issue!

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