Yet Another *Panic Attack* using OSX 10.6.8

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This is something I've *never* been forced to deal with before and I'm forced to learn about it on the fly in the midst of a human panic attack of my own.
Using a Core 2 Duo since 2009 and was *always* reliable. Looking to test to check if it is a sign of hardware end-of-life situation. Can *not* upgrade to higher version of OSX because
Wacom does *not* offer any new drivers for my 12"X18" Wacom tablet that supports any OS beyond OSX 10.6.8 and can not afford to upgrade to a new Wacom 12" X 18" so I'm forced to deal with OSX 10.6.8:Not-Amused:
 
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Two questions:

1. Are you sure the computer is experiencing kernal panics? Some folks that haven't experienced them before…sometimes call something a kernel panic…when it may be something else.

2. Did you do anything to the computer recently. Installed new software apps…or installed new hardware (such as ram)?

Thanks,

- Nick
 
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1. Are you sure the computer is experiencing kernal panics? Some folks that haven't experienced them before…sometimes call something a kernel panic…when it may be something else.

Well, previous to my online researching the phenomena that I was forced to experience , I had no idea that the experience of what I've come to call OSX's *gray screen of death* ( like the scene in *Bladerunner* when Dr. Eldon Tyrrell obliged Dekkard's request for dimming the lights for Rachel's Voight-Kompt test and a huge screen of gray shade descends which darkens the entire room from the L.A. sunset ) had never happened to me before.
My description is what led me to the many article links to Kernal Panic. So, Yes, I'm pretty convinced by other's remarks that my iMac has, indeed , been experiencing *panic attacks*. Yours is a legitimate question. Just responding with a "Yes, I've done my homework on this."
Any other descriptive *link-supported* diagnosis would be welcome.

2. Did you do anything to the computer recently. Installed new software apps…or installed new hardware (such as ram)?

Nothing of the kind. Last traumatic operation was an OSX dumbing down from OSX 10.7 back to OSX10.6.8 way back about a year ago because Wacom , in its infinite wisdom , no longer has driver support for its Intuos tablets beyond OSX 10.6.8 and I just can't afford to drop $700 in order to upgrade to a 12"X 18" Intuos 3 . *no* problems since that OSX *Brain Salad Surgery* and I continued my free-hand digital calligraphy & painting without so much as a hiccup.
The only differential source factor that I can think off is *Firefox* which would crap-out on me if I would allow too many windows with too many tabs to be saved & thus to reach some tipping point built-up in the dock would would crash *Firefox* forcing a restore option. The gray screen of death only just started happening to me within the past 30 days and I guess the shock to my system triggered a level of denial before they started to get far too regular( 4X this week alone ) sort of like the build of that one symptom too many that forces one to confront having to finally suck it up and go to the doctor.
So, what's up MacDoc?
 
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Any other descriptive *link-supported* diagnosis would be welcome.

A Kernel Panic is a sign that you have a serious problem. It is likely that serious problem will worsen and lead to data loss if not attended to.

I'd say that about 80% to 90% of the time kernel panics are due to a hardware problem. In order of likelihood, that problem is usually:

- bad third party RAM
- a problematic USB hub
- a peripheral that your Mac doesn't like for some reason (sometimes just a poorly attached cable, or a bad cable, is the problem)

If you have very recently added new software, especially something that alters the system at a low level, such as anti-virus software, or something that changes the look and/or function of the Mac interface, I would suspect that first. Uninstall that software and see if things get better. (This type of software typically requires an uninstaller to completely disable. Just dragging the application, or the application's folder, to the Trash won't disable it.)

If that isn't it, I would restart the Mac with the Shift key held down (invoking a Safe Boot, with all kernel extensions disabled) and see if the problem is gone while running in Safe mode. If the problem is gone while in Safe mode, the Kernel Panics are probably due to a software problem. It it persists while in Safe mode, the problem is most likely hardware related.

If you suspect a hardware problem, the next thing that I would do is to shut down your Mac, uninstall all peripherals other than the Apple-supplied keyboard and mouse (even those that might be turned off), restart and see if that helps. If it does, you can re-attach one peripheral at a time, restarting each time, until you isolate the offending peripheral.

If that isn't a solution, I would remove all third-party RAM and see if that fixes things.

Running Apple's Hardware Test might give you some answers:
Using Apple Hardware Test


Helpful Web sites:

"Tutorial: Avoiding and eliminating Kernel panics"
Tutorial: Avoiding and eliminating Kernel panics - CNET

OS X: About kernel panics
OS X: About kernel panics

How to troubleshoot a kernel panic
How to troubleshoot a kernel panic | Macworld


Also, your Mac maintains logs of all of your kernel panics, and the logs can give you clues as to what caused the panics. The problem is that it's not easy to understand those logs. Here is some background information if you are brave enough to wade into this:

TN 2123 CrashReport Deciphere
http://developer.apple.com/mac/library/technotes/tn2004/tn2123.html
and
TN 2063: Understanding and Debugging Kernel Panics
http://developer.apple.com/technotes/tn2002/tn2063.html

Look for log files named "panic.log" here:

/Library/Logs/Diagnostic Reports
and here
/username/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports and PanicReports
 
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Kernel Panics are generally hard ware related. You get a black screen with the message 'You must restart your computer' in seven languages. Is this is what is happening?
 
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"Kernel Panics are generally hard ware related. You get a black screen with the message 'You must restart your computer' in seven languages. Is this is what is happening? "
Precisely! I have *no* new peripherals and have not hooked up my external hard drives yet this year.
Only peripheral is my Wacom Intuos 12" X 18" tablet which I've used with this iMac since 2009. So no new shocks to the system here. I'm running OSX10.6.8 as that's the very last version of OSX that Wacom drivers for my Intuos supports. Is this a nearing end of life warning for my Mac's hardware then?
 
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Hey Randy, much obliged for the in-depth response.
" If that ( new software, which does not apply ) isn't it, I would restart the Mac with the Shift key held down (invoking a Safe Boot, with all kernel extensions disabled) and see if the problem is gone while running in Safe mode. If the problem is gone while in Safe mode, the Kernel Panics are probably due to a software problem. It it persists while in Safe mode, the problem is most likely hardware related."
My one concern here is will this *Safe Mode* affect any of the usual content creation software I regularly use ( ie: Photoshop, FinalCutPro X , After Effects, iMovie, Motion5, WordPress, Google Webmaster Tools ) ?
 
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My one concern here is will this *Safe Mode* affect any of the usual content creation software I regularly use ( ie: Photoshop, FinalCutPro X , After Effects, iMovie, Motion5, WordPress, Google Webmaster Tools ) ?

While you are in Safe mode your Mac will be running with all of its kernel extensions turned off. Things might be out of place, and look funny in Safe mode. That's okay. Things will go back to normal on your next normal restart. *Don't change anything while in Safe mode*! You are only in Safe mode to see if kernel panics still occur. You can launch and quit applications, but they may not work perfectly. That's fine. Just don't do any work or change any of your work product (i.e. files).

If you don't change anything while in Safe mode, nothing will be harmed. You are in Safe mode for the sole purpose of seeing if things get better when your kernel extensions are disabled.

If you still get kernel panics while is Safe mode, then the problem isn't being caused by a bad kernel extension (i.e. it is likely a hardware problem). If you don't still get kernel panics while in Safe mode, then your problem is likely (but not assuredly) with one of your kernel extensions (i.e. software).

If booting into Safe mode is too scary, don't do it. Just take your Mac to an Apple store and have them diagnose it.
 
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If booting into Safe mode is too scary, don't do it. Just take your Mac to an Apple store and have them diagnose it.

I just re-read that, and I hope that it didn't come off as being too brusque. I sometimes type things too fast and don't realize what they will sound like when read.

My aim was to tell you how to diagnose your problem, which is what you asked for. Doing this yourself might seem daunting to most ordinary Mac users. I'm not trying to tell you that you *must* do things that you may be uncomfortable doing.

Apple can diagnose your Mac for you in seconds. But the problem might be with a peripheral or a cable, and most folks don't take all of their peripherals or cables with them to the Apple store. So rule out problems with peripheral hardware first, as I outlined, by running without them, before taking your Mac to Apple to have it looked at. Beyond that, you can let Apple handle diagnosing things, you shouldn't do anything that I suggested that is beyond your pay grade. ;D
 
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By the way...*do* try running without your digitizing tablet attached for a while. A digitizing tablet can go bad, and cause kernel panics.

It's worth ruling out, because you don't want to find yourself in one of those situations where your Mac tests out perfectly in the Apple store, but it panics as soon as you get back home.
 
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You could try reseating your ram (pull it out and put it back in - same location or swapped).
 

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1. Are you sure the computer is experiencing kernal panics? Some folks that haven't experienced them before…sometimes call something a kernel panic…when it may be something else.

Well, previous to my online researching the phenomena that I was forced to experience , I had no idea that the experience of what I've come to call OSX's *gray screen of death* ( like the scene in *Bladerunner* when Dr. Eldon Tyrrell obliged Dekkard's request for dimming the lights for Rachel's Voight-Kompt test and a huge screen of gray shade descends which darkens the entire room from the L.A. sunset ) had never happened to me before.
My description is what led me to the many article links to Kernal Panic. So, Yes, I'm pretty convinced by other's remarks that my iMac has, indeed , been experiencing *panic attacks*. Yours is a legitimate question. Just responding with a "Yes, I've done my homework on this."
Any other descriptive *link-supported* diagnosis would be welcome.

2. Did you do anything to the computer recently. Installed new software apps…or installed new hardware (such as ram)?

Nothing of the kind. Last traumatic operation was an OSX dumbing down from OSX 10.7 back to OSX10.6.8 way back about a year ago because Wacom , in its infinite wisdom , no longer has driver support for its Intuos tablets beyond OSX 10.6.8 and I just can't afford to drop $700 in order to upgrade to a 12"X 18" Intuos 3 . *no* problems since that OSX *Brain Salad Surgery* and I continued my free-hand digital calligraphy & painting without so much as a hiccup.
The only differential source factor that I can think off is *Firefox* which would crap-out on me if I would allow too many windows with too many tabs to be saved & thus to reach some tipping point built-up in the dock would would crash *Firefox* forcing a restore option. The gray screen of death only just started happening to me within the past 30 days and I guess the shock to my system triggered a level of denial before they started to get far too regular( 4X this week alone ) sort of like the build of that one symptom too many that forces one to confront having to finally suck it up and go to the doctor.
So, what's up MacDoc?

Believe it or not. A "Yes" answer to question #1…and a "No" answer to question #2 would have been fine.;)

A kernel panic comes down to "Is this a hardware or is it a software problem?" One way to determine this is to take a 2nd empty hard drive…install a fresh version of the OS on it…then boot the computer with this "new/fresh" drive.

- If this problem disappears…then it's a software/OS issue on the original drive.
- If the problem does not disappear…then it may be a hardware problem (since a fresh HD with a fresh install of the OS should not cause a kernel panic).

All external devices should be disconnected as well (including bluetooth devices).

- Nick
 
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Kernal Attacks : Testing For

*Don't change anything while in Safe mode*! You are only in Safe mode to see if kernel panics still occur. You can launch and quit applications, but they may not work perfectly. That's fine. Just_*don't do any work or change any of your work product* (i.e. files).

So just how long do you suggest that I cease actually doing any work within my *daily* content creation work applications if I understand your recommendations thus far?
If you don't change anything while in Safe mode, nothing will be harmed. You are in Safe mode for the sole purpose of seeing if things get better when your kernel extensions are disabled.

I'm seeing no *Panic attacks* since I applied Mac's Disk Utility only correction function , First Aid/
*Repair Permissions*, but then that's just today some 24 hours past the successful Disk Utility repair session. Result: "The volume taliesn appears to be OK." in green.
So far so good?
 
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*If* I do see a return of the *Kernal Panic Attack* I'll report back and try as best as I can report on the chain of events that led to it. I observed someone else here posting the panic attack code record to be reported to Apple. May I cut & paste that here as well as if reading the code tea leaves might be the most direct source of KP trigger identification and, if not all of it, what key lines of code would one be interested in to read for some diagnosis clues? TIA
 
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Odds on the Wacom causing this?
 
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Odds on the Wacom causing this?
Absolutely *none* because the Intuos is only attached when used and the *Panic Attacks* never happened during any it's usage and was already in a disconnected state during all 3 *KP* incidents this past week as were all 5 TB of my external h-drives. All peripherals duly mentioned in my Mac Specs. It suits me to keep my workstation simplified even though I'm dying to be able to afford a Cintiq of equal size to the very reliable 12" X 18" Intuos that I still use. Obviously it would be preferable to upgrade to a 27" i7 iMac w/ 16 GB's RAM and a 2 GB NVidia, but economic times still being tough & all and $5k not being as readily accessible at present.
 
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So just how long do you suggest that I cease actually doing any work within my *daily* content creation work applications if I understand your recommendations thus far?

How often were you getting kernel panics?

If you have been seeing one kernel a week, then this might not be a practical troubleshooting technique.

Have a look at some of the kernel panic troubleshooting links that I gave you.

I'm seeing no *Panic attacks* since I applied Mac's Disk Utility only correction function , First Aid/
*Repair Permissions*, but then that's just today some 24 hours past the successful Disk Utility repair session. Result: "The volume taliesn appears to be OK." in green.
So far so good?

It is highly unlikely that repairing permissions would cure a kernel panic problem. It's even less likely if you ran 'Repair Permissions' and it told you that there were no permissions needing repair.
 
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How often were you getting kernel panics?

If you have been seeing one kernel a week, then this might not be a practical troubleshooting technique.

Last week alone I had 4 ,without warning, (not consecutively within a day ) when I started to have my own human *Panic Attacks*, but I suspect Firefox as it has crashed on me before because there seems to be a tipping point when too many ( perhaps 2 dozen during a busy day long session of research ) open tabs are accumulated and left in the dock and Firefox would just quit on me forcing a restore. It was during a normal day session of that kind and then working in Photoshop or another app like WordPress when I experienced last week's *KP*. I began copy & paste save's of these code reports to be sent onto Apple and then sent those copies to myself as emails for their time/date stamps as well.

How often were you getting kernel panics?

Have a look at some of the kernel panic troubleshooting links that I gave you.

I have and dutifully registered a Permalink attribution in gratitude for your thoughtful thoroughness in response as I appreciate now
because apparently my MacGuru friend is getting long in the tooth because that's what he recommended
I use for openers . ( I'm a MacUser since 1997, MacGuru guide since 1995 )

How often were you getting kernel panics?
It is highly unlikely that repairing permissions would cure a kernel panic problem. It's even less likely if you ran 'Repair Permissions' and it told you that there were no permissions needing repair.

Well , having never had the *KP* reason to do anything about anything before I used what my MacGuru friend 1st recommended.
As I stated above , perhaps signs of getting long in tooth.
Then on this MacForum I *did* ask if there was any particular line of code from that Mac-generated panic attack report that you would recommend to scrutinize that would shed any light at all on the lead-up to the *KP* triggers and if I may post them here in order to attempt a more precise diagnosis. There must be some useful intelligence to read there or why would Apple even want such a report?Never received any guidance either way on any path of inquiry so far . However no new *KP's* in 48 hrs for whatever reason.( Mercury being in Retrograde fr'instance ;-) So far so good while remaining on *full alert*.
 
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I suspect Firefox as it has crashed on me before because there seems to be a tipping point when too many ( perhaps 2 dozen during a busy day long session of research ) open tabs are accumulated...

A kernel panic is a major crash of your entire computer. Generally, an ordinary application that doesn't use kernel extensions to do its job won't cause a kernel panic. At most, if you have a corrupt application, it will suddenly quit, but it won't take down your entire computer.

Remember that I said that kernel panics are usually caused by hardware? And that most often they are due to something like bad RAM? You've just described a typical situation where I would very much suspect that you have problematic RAM.

As your browser opens more tabs, and therefore fills up available RAM, at some point it hits a bad register in your RAM, and boom, you get a kernel panic.

I usually troubleshoot that by removing all third party RAM (for one reason or another the OEM RAM is very rarely the culprit; the vendor will most likely want to blame it on the installer not being properly grounded while installing the RAM) and seeing if things get better. If they do, I send the third party RAM back for a replacement. Generally if you have purchased your third party RAM from a reputable source it has a lifetime warranty.

You can also use this excellent free utility to test your RAM:

Rember (free)
Rember - Kelley Computing
 

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the possibility of a bad hard drive.

In terms of hardware failure, the most likely component to fail on an older machine are the parts that are mechanical in nature (i.e. hard drives and fans). A hard drive with bad sectors that affect OS files will definitely cause a Kernel Panic. If you run Disk Utility and the KPs suddenly go way, it's a pretty good indicator that your hard drive is slowly failing.
 

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