Troubleshooting Kernel Panics in OS X

Sep 26, 2011
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Hi All,

I'm new here and doing some research on troubleshooting kernel panics in OS X. I've compiled a list of troubleshooting methods I have found (not necessarily in any particular order). But I would really appreciate any additional input from the community on any other methods that I have missed or not considered. Thanks!!!

1) Reboot the Computer

2) Run Software Update

3) Clean Caches

4) Delete the .plist file (If it is a particular program that is causing the problems)

5) Uninstall then reinstall the application causing the problem

6) Repair Disk Permissions

7) Run Disk Repair from your restore/install disc

8) Reset the PRAM (boot with Command-Option-P-R)

9) File System Check (boot into single user mode with Command-S key and type in /sbin/fsck -f at command prompt)

10) Reset Nonvolatile Firmware (boot with Command-Option-O-F and type "reset-nvram" at the command prompt)

11) Check for firmware update by searching Apple Downloads for firmware updates for your Mac's specific model

12) Reset the SMC (for iMacs, power down system, remove power cable, wait 15 seconds, plug-in pawer cable, power on machine)

13) Make sure system has enough hard disk space

14) Make sure system has enough RAM

15) Test RAM with Apple Hardware Test and/or third party utilities and/or by switching out installed RAM with known good RAM

16) If applicable, make sure the AirPort or AirPort Extreme card is properly installed and not loose

17) If applicable, make sure the correct version of AirPort software is installed with an AirPort Extreme card.

18) If applicable, check system's Time Machine backup disk for corruption

19) If applicable, make sure no back-level versions of Parallels Desktop for Mac are running if system is a MacBook Air.

20) If running Final Cut Studio on a Mac Pro with an AJA KONA 3 PCI Express (PCIe) card, make sure it is not installed in a slot that is configured as a 1X lane slot.

21) Check sleepimage file on Mac portable computers employing safe sleep

22) Assure drivers and kernel extensions for third-party hardware are current and update if one is available

23) Verify connections, cables, and proper installation of peripherals

24) Remove peripherals and third-party hardware additions and uninstall any accompanying software

25) Reinstall Mac OS X using the Archive and Install process

26) If running Lion on an NVIDIA 330M equipped Mac, try using gfxCardStatus to force Mac OS X to always use the Intel 3000 GPU. Reboot with Command-Shift-G and enter the following path:
• ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/
• Delete all files that contain “windowserver” in the name
• Reboot

27) Reboot with command-option-o-f and type the following commands in the command prompt:

28) Check the Console to examine entries in Logs > /Library/Logs > Panic Reporter to see what was going on when the panic occurred and google relevant strings if no obvious cause is indicated

29) Reinstall the OS
May 22, 2005
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Closer than you think.
Your Mac's Specs
Performa 6116 2GBSCSI 8MB OS 7.5.3
No. 20 is my favorite. I usually need to do that like twice a week.


Retired Staff
Jan 4, 2011
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Reading, UK
Your Mac's Specs
15" MBP, 2.5GHz i7, 750GB, 6770M 1GB, iPad 3, iPhone 4, custom PC
Is this in an order? cause it starts out like it then it gets a bit random. If so, i would think 13 and 14 would be nearer the top... also 24.

14 is a bit of a random one. unless the user has decided to pull out the 2-4GBs that come with most recent Macs originally and replace it with like, a single 512MB DIMM... plus you would assume when checking faulty RAM DIMMs this would be an obvious step included with that...

24 for me would be split into two. remove peripherals should be a separate one. uninstalling driver software should be a separate action.

Maybe Im just being picky though ;) some of the newer ones did enlighten me, such as the Intel 3000 troubleshoots so I thank you for that and i will give you rep for teaching me something.

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