terminology questions

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by rhb1899, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. rhb1899 macrumors member

    rhb1899

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm fairly new to macs and in general to computers, and I fell upon Macrumors Forums only a week ago, but so far, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it! Everyone here is so damn friendly and helpful, it's great!
    I was cruising through some threads, trying to get information and I stumbled upon a few terms that lost me and I was hoping someone would be willing to explain them:

    1) "kernel panic" what is this?
    2) "archive and install" again, what is this? Why is it necessary? Does it take up extra space when you do it? When would you do it?
    3) What do people mean when they say "my mac crashed". Do they mean when a program freezes and you have to shut your computer down and restart it, do they mean when the whole system crashes and you have to redo everything on the computer. I'm used to PCs, and when my PC crashed, all hell broke loose (especially since I'm not good with computers). I was under the impression that Macs didn't crash very often.
    4) Why would you reinstall an OS on your computer?
    5) Lastly, people have told me it's a good idea to have a backup system for your computer and I agree, but how would you go about doing this for a mac? Would you just use some sort of external HD?

    Thanks in anticipation folks! Sorry if my questions seem simple/stupid...like I said, I'm really VERY new to macs. :eek:
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    The kernel is the very core of the OS. If it encounters a condition it is not expecting and cannot continue it panics. This means that you have to restart your computer NOW

    This is an OSX specific option during install. It allows you to upgrade to a new version of the OS (say from 10.3 to 10.4) safely and retaining all installed programs and settings.

    Depends on the person. I'd only use if for a kernel panic which is rare.

    You've broken it so badly you can't fix it!

    That's one option (and the one I use). You could regularly burn DVDs, upload to an FTP site...
     
  3. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604

    LimeiBook86

    Joined:
    May 4, 2002
    Location:
    Go Vegan
    #3
    Ok let's see if I can help.

    1) "kernel panic" what is this?
    A kernel panic is relative to "the blue screen of death" this is much more rare on the Mac though and most users never even see one, when some users may see them often. This is usually a rare event, when this happens just restart the computer and you should be fine.

    2) "archive and install" again, what is this? Why is it necessary? Does it take up extra space when you do it? When would you do it?
    This option saves your existing system files in a special archive when you re-install Mac OS X. After it is finsihed installing you can choose to automatically import your user information and settings into Mac OS X so you don’t have to reconfigure your printers or devices, Mail, iChat and other applications.

    3) What do people mean when they say "my mac crashed". Do they mean when a program freezes and you have to shut your computer down and restart it, do they mean when the whole system crashes and you have to redo everything on the computer. I'm used to PCs, and when my PC crashed, all hell broke loose (especially since I'm not good with computers). I was under the impression that Macs didn't crash very often.
    Macs shouldn't crash very often, most of the time when people say this they mean the screen froze up or they got a kernel panic, both of these are pretty rare and the chance of a Mac really crashing and losing your data is even more rare. One thing to prevent this is when your Mac is writing data to your hard drive or doing something important, never unplug it or force it to shutdown.

    4) Why would you reinstall an OS on your computer?
    This is if you just want to upgrade to a new version of Mac OS X without adding on to what's already on your Mac, at this point you don't need to wipe out all your data if you REALLY don't want to....but you should, and here is why. Say you have Mac OS X 10.3 (older version) and you want to update to Mac OS 10.4 (newer version) if you just upgrade all the old data and files on Mac OS X 10.3 will still be on your hard drive and these files take up a lot of space. Also most people find that every year or so they like to re-install Mac OS X, this usually gives you better performence but, remember to always backup your files since installing Mac OS X usually erases them.

    5) Lastly, people have told me it's a good idea to have a backup system for your computer and I agree, but how would you go about doing this for a mac? Would you just use some sort of external HD?
    A USB or FireWire external Hard Drive is always a good choice, backing up your data is one of the smartest things you can do wether your on a Mac or PC. You should always backup your data at least every 3 months if not earlier, there are a lot of programs for doing this, one is Backup from Apple but, that requires a .Mac (www.mac.com) subscription service ($99 a year).

    Welcome to the fourms! I hope I was able to answer all your questions ;) :D
     
  4. Benjamin macrumors 6502a

    Benjamin

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    *oh seems 3 of us where on the same questions and i was last :) oh well*

    1. A Kernel Panic is when this unix style OS core (kernel) comes into an instruction in an unexpected formate or that it fails to handle it properly. More info here: http://www.macmaps.com/kernelpanic.html and here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article2.html?artnum=106227

    2. Archive and install is away of keeping all your old files form the previous OS and installing a new one. More info here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=301270 and here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107120

    3. Most of the time people mix these up and its just really a generic way of saying my computer or software has problems. This doesn't always mean the computer needs to be rebuilt from the start, aka it could mean itunes failed or safari died, things like that. Thats why you should always be as specific as you can when describing problems. at least that has been my experience with this term.

    4. you really only need to reinstall the OS if it gets totally corrupted or if you want a fresh start.

    5. yes generally you should always have some sort of backup os so incase your system does somehow crash and can not boot you can boot into a clean install and recover files or reinstall. very rare imo. personally i have two lacie external drives that both have boot capabilities. In the external way you would just connect your external drive, use the installer disk and select the external drive for install.

    hope that clears up some stuff for you and happy you have joined the mac rumors community :)
     
  5. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604

    LimeiBook86

    Joined:
    May 4, 2002
    Location:
    Go Vegan
    #5
    Backing up data

    If you buy an external hard drive, you can just drag the files you wish to save or backup to the new hard drive. You can do this manually or find a program that can do it automatically. Also if you want a bootable external hard drive (In the rare even where you startup from it, if your main Mac hard drive should fail) you can install Mac OS X on the external hard drive using a Mac OS X install CD. This way even if your Mac's hard drive doesn't want to boot up you'll have the most important data on your backup hard drive and you can still boot into Mac OS X to attempt to recover the failed hard drive.

    Failed hard drives happen on any system (unfortunetly) so don't be firghtened by this too much, just try and backup your most important data often. Nobody can say when a hard drive will fail or go bad but, your better safe than sorry. I lost 132gb of data thanks to a bad 6 month old Maxtor drive and I've always backed up my data since.

    Good luck :)
     
  6. rhb1899 thread starter macrumors member

    rhb1899

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    #6
    wow.
    well, those explanations certainly helped...A LOT!
    Thanks!
    I appreciate the websites too, those were great.
    Thankfully my computer is still brand new, so I dont' have to worry about most of that stuff for a little while at least. But, now I know what to do if something DOES happen...
    and I'm definitely going to look into an external HD. I've read the firewire is the way to go...
    Thanks so much, again!
    :D
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #7
    Personally I like SuperDuper for backups. Cheap, good and does what it's mean to :D
     

Share This Page