Why does my Macbook keep crashing?
October 1, 2008 12:14 PM   Subscribe

I have a 1 year old macbook which keeps freezing for no apparent reason. When it happens a message appears saying I have to restart the computer by holding down the power button. It started happening after I set up a 3G internet connection but I guess that's probably a coincidence. I can't think of anything else that could have caused it. Any ideas?
posted by Andy Harwood to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Sounds like you're getting a kernel panic, that fact that it coincides with your setting up a 3G internet connection is probably the culprit.
posted by wongcorgi at 12:26 PM on October 1, 2008

Kernel panics can be a sign of impending hardware issues, for example a failing hard drive or logic board. It's hard for non-hardware related problems to cause them.

How did you set up the 3G internet connection?
posted by unSane at 12:35 PM on October 1, 2008

Likely to be caused by the 3G connection. Kernel panics can be caused by software too, especially if related to hardware or low-level system tasks. Do you connect your phone via bluetooth? Are other bluetooth devices working without issues? Did you ever upgrade the ram?
posted by starzero at 12:38 PM on October 1, 2008

A 3g modem might have installed a kernel extension, which can definitely cause kernel panics. I'd try uninstalling the 3G or seeing if there are updated drivers available from the manufacturer of the modem.
posted by paanta at 12:48 PM on October 1, 2008

The 3G is worth looking at.

Another possibility: if you have aftermarket RAM, remove that chip and see if it still crashes. Some brands of RAM are less reliable. A friend just had that happen with an iMac. Constant kernal panic. She took out the 2nd RAM chip, and it went away completely. She bought a new chip in its place.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 12:55 PM on October 1, 2008

It started happening after I set up a 3G internet connection but I guess that's probably a coincidence.

Whenever someone's computer starts crashing, and they say, "it started when I installed X, but I don't think it's that," it's almost always X.
posted by mkultra at 1:26 PM on October 1, 2008

I have no idea about what these guys are talking about but if it turns out to be a hardware issue and you're out of warranty you could still try and taking it to a mac support store. I got a macbook last year and the HD crashed after two months, I took it into the store and the guys didn't even ask anything excpet for my name and phone number, no questions on whether or not I had a warranty or not. They don't care, they get reimbursed by mac either way so if you got some cool employees it's worth a shot.
posted by BrnP84 at 1:57 PM on October 1, 2008

Response by poster: If it is the 3G am I damaging the computer by keeping it installed or will it be completely back to normal when I remove it? I'm moving to a place with broadband on Sunday so I only need the 3G until then and in the mean time I'm not doing anything important with the mac so the freezes themselves aren't a huge problem.
posted by Andy Harwood at 2:01 PM on October 1, 2008

If you look at the top-level Library/Logs folder, there may be a "panic.log" which may tell you what component of the system is causing the hang.
posted by tomierna at 3:05 PM on October 1, 2008

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