Paranoid about my system


macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
The Cool Part of CA, USA
I don't know if this is what you're looking for or not, but I think based on what you say you're blowing kernel panics WAY out of proportion, and likely wasting a whole lot of your time.

If your Mac is panicing regularly, then yes, there's something significant wrong--either OS corruption, a bad driver, that rare piece of software that tickles an OS bug and causes systemwide crashes, or a hardware problem.

But if you have one single kernel panic, it's way too early to start panicking yourself--take a deep breath and keep in mind that, once in a while, the OS does just panic for no readily identifiable reason. It's happened to me maybe a half dozen times since 10.0, and ignoring them has never caused me any hassle. In all likelihood, reinstalling everything isn't even going to help.

Basically, if it's a single panic, then ignore it. If you get another one within a week, then you can start wondering and try to remember if you've installed anything recently. If so, THEN start doing the reinstall dance (though even then, I'd just uninstall the driver or stop using the new piece of software before I reinstalled anything).

Like you said, a standard application crash will write to the logs, as will a panic. Panics don't generally break anything, they're just a sign that there's a weakness in the OS or a kernel extension you've installed. Take it easy and relax.


macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2002
All up in your bidness
Yes, you are waaaaay too paranoid here. A kernel panic is just a crash of the OS (specifically, the kernel). It can be caused by things like bad RAM or a random glitch in RAM (it happens to all non-parity RAM once in a while), a bad driver or an unforeseen error in a chance interaction between different parts of the kernel. It's good that you keep backups but it's totally unnecessary to wipe your computer clean and reinstall the OS after one of these. Instead, see if you can figure out what's causing it - maybe it's that printer driver. Otherwise just chalk it up to random occurrence and reboot.


macrumors 603
Feb 2, 2002
Paranoia cha-cha-cha

If you like wasting time this much, there are plenty of other activities where you'll get a tan as you waste time... Try one of those.

Meantime, when you get kernel panics, have you tried um, restarting the computer like the dialog says? Good, now STOP THERE.

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
Look in the dictionary under "paranoid." I'm sure you'll find your picture there. ;)

A kernel panic is nearly always a hardware issue. Wiping hard drives and reinstalling OSX is not only unnecessary, it isn't going to cure any problems that you are likely to have.


macrumors 68030
Nov 7, 2003
dontmakemehurtu said:
Can someone tell me what really happens when your kernel panics?
Even if someone had access to your mac and was able to track down the kernel panic, they probably could explain what really happens cause it would be way over your head. the most you would get out of it is "such-and-such" application caused it, or "such-and-such" subsystem caused it. just accept that fact that all software has bugs, and their is teams of software engineers that work to fix them.

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
Quick, we need to start the MR chapter of Reformatters Anonymous.

You've completed step one of the program -- you've admitted that you have a problem. :)


macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2004
All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy...

Thanks Ozzy. :)

First, ditch the lexmark. HPs are pretty mac friendly. Canon and Epson are good too.

Oh, and toss that frickin' CD that comes with the printer in the trash. If OSX has the driver (most likely), you don't need to foul your mac with all the useless crappy code on that CD.


macrumors 6502
Dec 3, 2003
Near Houston, TX
For the life of me I will never get this. How do Macs kernel panic so often when other UNIX platforms never do? I have had a kernel panic on my Mac right in the middle of doing something (heh, when that happens there's a cool effect that shades the screen from top to bottom.) But I have only had a kernel panic on a different type of UNIX system at boot up, and that was an always or never thing that was due to driver problems. Does Apple have some type of core extension that say where OS 9 Macs would have bombed, it just brings up a kernel panic box (which really shouldn't be called that, since it doesn't say anywhere on it Your Kernel Has Panicked) or force the kernel to call a panic. In comparison, in Panther, I also had kernel panics where black text would just overlay my screen. (Actually, I only had one) what makes panic worse than the other apparant panics that it doesn't put the little dialog up?

Oh yeah, and in response to the thread...
I've gotten panicks a few times. All those I can remember were
I came home and the screensaver would be up with the panic on top of it.

I was in iTunes and a few seconds after I turned the visualizer on full screen it paniced, but the *music kept playing!*

Hmm, I'm sure there's a few more... but I can't think of em right now. Anyway, let loose some. :)

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
Kernel panics are nearly always indicative of a hardware issue. If your Mac panics on any sort of regular basis, you've probably got bad RAM or a faulty motherboard. OSX is rarely implicated. Something to consider while you're flailing around for other reasons.