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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

HELP! Too many Kernel Panics!!!


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Mainyehc
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Hey! First of all, let me tell you: my Mac is going mad, it seems!
Here's the full story: I had a 17'' iMac G4, since Dec.'03, which came with Jaguar in the System Software DVD and with Panther Upgrade discs bundled, meaning that the only way to install OS X is to install Panther on top of Jaguar.

Then, in October, I bought a 20'' iMac G5 (which, unfortunately, seems defective to my somewhat over-sensitive ears; one of the fans makes an irritating buzzing, which makes it louder than my old iMac), and (duh) I decided to use the FireWire transfer utility. Everything was (almost) fine; I just had to reinstall 3 or 4 applications. Besides that, 10.3.5 kept running fine. Shortly after, I installed a 1GB RAM stick. I guess it wasn't bad RAM, because my system didn't show any weird symptoms. In fact, it only got fast as hell

A month later, 10.3.6 came along, and my Mac hasn't behaved that well since then.

First, I got this VERY weird bug, several times: my menubar system clock just crashed, it freezed, and if I moved the cursor above it I got the spinning wheel (or beach ball of death). I tried to turn off the clock in System Preferences, I even tried to find its process to kill it with Activity Monitor, but I didn't manage to do that (I'm not even sure if you can do that). And when I mean "several times", I mean 3-4 times, which is... too many times! Once, like the second time or so, I rebooted, and then I only got the desktop background... No Finder (no desktop icons), no Dock, no menu, no nothing. Reboot. Everything fine again.

One or two days later, I got one VERY nasty OLD-SCHOOL Kernel Panic. One of those classic ones, with lines of text running across the screen (maybe it was because of the fact that the screensaver was running? It produced a very beautiful effect, lines of text over a nebula ). *Ouch*... Now I know why they are called "Panic"...
Reboot. Everything fine.

And then... The second KP came along. This time, in Apple's very own GOSOD (grayed-out screen of death) user-friendly style (so nice, it even tells you that you have to force a reboot... I already knew those, I had one with my old iMac. But it was like, one KP in eight months? Preety much acceptable when compared to this havoc, IMHO).

It doesn't end here. I don't know if the other KPs happened under the same circumstances, but I don't think so. Anyway, this time, I isolated a cause for the third, fourth and fifth KPs (they happened in a row, because I provoked the last two ).

I was searching for the Apple desktop background pictures (I wanted to change Aqua Blue's hue to fit my tastes). So, I opened /System/Library and typed .tiff in the search field. When the Finder had already returned over a thousand matches, BOOM (pun intended), Kernel Panic! (GOSOD style). I tried to repeat the operation, so that I could find the damned files, and I got another KP. I though "hmmm, there's something fishy here..." (apart from what had been happening recently).

So, I did it again, aware that I could end up with another KP, and there it was! I did another reboot, and this time, the Finder wouldn't load. BUT, this time, the dock appeared. I could load apps, I could open a folder I have in the dock via right button, I could even fire up Open dialogs (which seemed odd to me, I always thought that the Open dialogs, and folders in the form of menus depended on the Finder to work).

By that time, I opened Activity Monitor (that handy folder is a "Start Menu"-like thing, full of aliases... It's preety ironic that I was working with OS X, WITHOUT the Finder, thanks to an emulation of Windows' Start Menu... ), and tried to lauch the Finder again (I had been trying for quite some time by then), and I noticed that the "Finder" process appeared for a few split seconds, and then, it just vanished... Preety weird, but maybe that's normal after a KP, dunno.

Then, of course, there's all those minor glitches, like the removable media's icons being messed up sometimes, etc etc... I'm not worried with those, though. What I'm worried about is the KP's. VERY weird. My brand new $2650 machine (add some $360 to that, that's what the RAM cost me) is behaving preety much like a cheap Wintel box, and I'm not happy!

What do you think that might be the cause of all this, and what do you think I should do?

I was, of course, considering making a clean Panther installation. But right now, I ran out of DVDs, my aging PC has only a measly 5 or 6GB free disk space, and my 20GB iPod has only some 6 or 7GB left. Would it be a good idea to make a partition for the System, and another for apps and my user folder? (since I'll probably have to erase my HD anyway... ). Oh, and since that right now, I don't have a practical way to do some backups, do you think I can partition my hard drive without erasing it? I'm just asking this because I have no idea if it's wise and/or feasible to do such thing on a Mac, and I didn't feel like fiddling with Disk Utility without asking you first...

Sorry for the loooooong post, and thank you!!

P.S. - Since searching for those desktop pictures provokes a KP in my system, could someone tell me where can I find them?
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Macman

 
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the desktop pictures are in mac hd/library/desktop pictures. I suggest an erase and install, sounds like a corrupt OS. and where you mention using fiewire disk mode to transfer everything from g4 imac to g5, you should have reinstalled all the applications fresh, and just copied folders you need lke for safari and mail.
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Mainyehc
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Originally Posted by Macman
and where you mention using fiewire disk mode to transfer everything from g4 imac to g5, you should have reinstalled all the applications fresh, and just copied folders you need lke for safari and mail.
Yep, I thought so... Anyway, it won't be too bad if I keep my .plist files, and some application support folders, right? I mean, if the problem is with the OS itself...

Thanks anyway. I think I'll just throw my preferences and iTunes library files into my iPod, and wipe the hard drive.

Oh... and about partitions... Should/can I partition my hard drive, and how do I do it? And if so, how may GB should I give to the OS?

Thanks!
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Macman

 
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basically, back up the users folder, and maybe even the library folder inside the macintosh hd. you can partition your drive, but theres no nbeed for it if youre just gonna put apps and such on one partition and other stuff on the other, plus I think apps need to be on the same partition /hd as the system folder. a good reason to partition would be having a 2 gig scratch disk for photoshop or something, or extra fonts or files. you have to erase your hd to partition it.
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Mainyehc
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basically, back up the users folder, and maybe even the library folder inside the macintosh hd. you can partition your drive, but theres no nbeed for it if youre just gonna put apps and such on one partition and other stuff on the other, plus I think apps need to be on the same partition /hd as the system folder. a good reason to partition would be having a 2 gig scratch disk for photoshop or something, or extra fonts or files. you have to erase your hd to partition it.
"I've got bad news... I'm afraid he couldn't make it"... Sounds a lot like ER, doesn't it?

It's all over now. I was trying to backup my iPhoto library onto my iPod, when everything went terribly wrong. The transfer was halted, I tried to eject the iPod, then my screen went blue with that spinning widget thingy (not the beach ball), and I forced a reboot... What did I get? The most dreadful sight a Mac user can have (apart from the now defunct "Dead Mac"): a folder with a flashing question mark and a Finder icon. The same.

I'm lucky I have this Winblows box. But anyway, I surely don't like Windows very much, but right now I'm VERY pissed off... REEEAAAALLLLY pissed off!

What happened next? I tried to boot from the System Software disc, but I was presented with an even more frightening sight: on top of a "modern" Kernel Panic appeared a big bunch o' lines of text. A screenful of them. I don't recall what was written there, I guess I was too horrified... After all, even though I've played a few times with CLI (I know how to rescue all my tunes from my iPod by typing commands, thanks... cp isn't that hard to use anyway), I had just lost all my stuff less than 2 min. before. I just remembered the last line: "panic: we are hanging in here"... WE?? Who, my files? All those daemons in the Hell that my HD turned into? (or is it more like the limbo? The Twilight Zone? Wait, I'm getting a little too much philosophical. ) </sarcasm>

I did another reboot, and finally booted up from the CD. I finally saw the Installer screen and I got that warm, fuzzy feeling. My stuff was all gone, but at least my Mac was alive, and apparently responsive.

Of course, I did the most obvious thing to do: I loaded Disk Utility and tried to check the disk. I got an error. Then I tried to repair, and I got the same error. I'll try to translate it (because I started the Installer in Portuguese, and I don't feel like rebooting...). It's a literal translation, so pardon me:


"Repairing disk for "disk0s3"
Checking HFS Plus volume
Invalid B-tree node size
The volume checking failed.
Error: The subjacent task reported an output failure (-9972)

Repair attempt in 1 volume
0 HFS volumes repaired
1 volume couldn't be repaired"


(the disk check error is exactly the same; replace "repair" with "check")


So, what now? Can I just install OS X on top of this mess? Do I have to erase my HD? What is going on with my HD??? Have I screwed up big time?

Hmmm... I sure hope everything will be fine after I clean up this mess. I hope this isn't some sort of hardware problem... What do you think?
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witeshark

 
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Restart in single user terminal (restart hold Apple S) and in there type /sbin/fsck -fy until the file system message stops repeating
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Mainyehc
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Restart in single user terminal (restart hold Apple S) and in there type /sbin/fsck -fy until the file system message stops repeating
Nope... Here's what happens: I did that fsck thing, which, I understand, is a checking command. I've done so with the System Software disc in the Superdrive, and the only volume it checked was... you guessed it, the CD. That's worthless...

I rebooted, holding eject. I obviously got the flashing question mark folder again. Then I tried to restart in single user terminal again, and I got the question mark folder, AGAIN... I honestly don't know what to do. Things can't get much worse. If you have any ideas, please tell me. I'll give it a try, I've got nothing to lose anyway... Thanks!
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Mainyehc
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It's already 6:46 AM here in Portugal and I'm still waiting for an answer... Please tell me, once and for all, if there is a way I can work around this, or if my HD's contents will be permanently lost. I sold my old iMac G4 to a big friend of mine; Is there a way I can access my hard-drive from another Mac? Or is my HD really screwed up?

There are too many questions to be made, I know... But I may have just lost A LOT of data... And I'm nearly falling asleep, the dawn is nearing...

Thanks anyway!
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Macman

 
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it sounds like its not detecting your hd at all, Id say do an erase and install. as far as accessing your data, you might be able to hook up up to another mac via firewire and use your mac as an external hard drive( just so its seen by the other mac) and then copy your files, but it might not work. Id pretty much just count your losses and start over. have you tried booting from the os install cd? and tried installing, if it lets you, the os may just be corrupt, if not, your hd may be gone. have you tried starting in safe boot mode by holding down shift while starting up?
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Mainyehc
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have you tried booting from the os install cd? and tried installing, if it lets you, the os may just be corrupt, if not, your hd may be gone. have you tried starting in safe boot mode by holding down shift while starting up?
Nope... I've tried the safe boot mode, and all I got was the flashing question mark folder, again.

If I try to install OS X again, on top of *that* mess, I wouldn't be taking risks, such as losing data that could be otherwise recovered by target disk mode, would I? It's just that it's still only 7:50 AM here, and It's very early to call my friend. And I really want to sort this out as soon as possible...
Thanks!
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Macman

 
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hmm, sounds like your hd may have died/gone bad. you may lose files if you try to install over whats there, and run the risk of this happening again. I say try firewire disk mode, if not, erase and install is the only alternative, if this doesnt work either, then you may be looking at replacing your hd alltogether. its 2am here, so im going to bed, ill be up early and check in. later:mac:
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Mainyehc
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I say try firewire disk mode, if not, erase and install is the only alternative, if this doesnt work either, then you may be looking at replacing your hd alltogether.
What are the odds of that happening? My iMac is just a little bit more than 1 month old... It didn't seem to suffer from any problems at all *before* I installed 10.3.6. Is this too frequent?

Anyway, if the problem is a faulty hard-drive, my computer is under the warranty, and I will get a replacement, I hope... (I hope that will be a replacement *HD*, because an iMac will be preety much impossible to find around).

I'll try target disk first then. Thanks a lot for your support!
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I agree, use firewire disk mode to rescue your data onto another mac (if you can) and then use the second mac to completely erase your harddrive.

Then see if you can do a fresh install.

If not, you might have to send in your mac to get a new harddrive...

Though I can't imagine that is the problem TBO.
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Mainyehc
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If not, you might have to send in your mac to get a new harddrive...

Though I can't imagine that is the problem TBO.
I sure hope it isn't!

If I manage to rescue my data, you know, I'll be better off than I was before... Silly me, waiting for Tiger to erase and install... Anyway, whatever the outcome of this sad episode is, I have learned 4 lessons anyway:

1. Always keep an up-to-date backup of your home folder.
2. Never rely on your iPod for backups.
3. Never use the FireWire update feature.
4. Always make an extra backup before installing a major system update.

And finally, one thing I would have done if my old iMac let me, never install an OS on top of another. I'll most certainly make a clean install of Tiger when I get my hands on it. And that's a great excuse to get rid of all the clutter in the system...

In three or four hours, I'll attempt to rescue my stuff. I'll let you people know if the attempt is successful or not.

Thanks again, and wish me luck!
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Macman

 
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cant wait to hear. and BTW, its almost never a good idea when installing a new OS, like from 10.2.x to 10.3.x to install on top of the old OS, an erase and install is almost always best to avoid problems that may come up later. :mac:
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