Cross-Platform Crashing on a Macbook Pro
April 30, 2009 6:04 PM   Subscribe

I have Leopard and Windows 7 (7057) installed on my Late 2007 (possibly older, I got it refurbished) Macbook Pro 15". My problem is, every time I boot into either OS, I get a kernel panic or BSOD respectively. The fact that it happens in 2 different operating systems makes me almost positive that it's a hardware problem. Unfortunately, I don't know very much about computer hardware, so I don't really know what to troubleshoot first, and I don't want to void the warranty by opening the case (I plan to take it to the Apple Store if nobody here can solve the problem). Specifically, either operating system will crash about a minute into booting up. I don't think the problem can be too serious because everything graphically looks fine and all my files are intact. This leads me to think that maybe it's a RAM problem, and that it runs out of memory and crashes during bootup.

Safe Mode in Windows works fine (I'm using it now), and still reports the correct 2gb of RAM. I haven't done safe boot to OS X yet.

The Blue Screen says
"Uncorrectable Hardware Error" and below it gives the code
*** STOP: 0x00000124 (0x00000000,0x85BAE024,0xF2000000,0x00060151)

If it were just what I'm experiencing on Windows, I might think it was something to do with drivers, but it's on both operating systems.
posted by N2O1138 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Try taking out sticks of RAM individually. The problem may be you have a bad stick. If so, don't replace it through the apple store--it'll be much cheaper to do so through a third party.

If that doesn't work, take it to the apple store. They'll diagnose it for free, but it might be expensive to fix.
posted by mohrr at 6:13 PM on April 30, 2009

The computer should have come with a Tech Tools CD you can boot from to run hardware diagnostics - if not, you can get it (or an updated version) from this link.
posted by GJSchaller at 6:20 PM on April 30, 2009

Get rid of Windows 7 and reinstall 10.5.

Too many unknowns running a beta, unsupported OS.
posted by mrt at 6:58 PM on April 30, 2009

Have you tried running the Apple Hardware Test?
posted by wongcorgi at 7:05 PM on April 30, 2009

Response by poster: @mohrr: I was planning to take it anyway, and I said I didn't want to open the case... but does it sounds like it's a RAM problem to you?

@GJSchaller: I should run more diagnostics, but I figured I'd post here and give people time to respond.

@mrt: I'm probably going to uninstall 7057 and install the RC build anyway, but I don't think Windows 7 being there via Boot Camp should be a problem, because AFAIK the operating systems don't share any files and it's all on a separate partition.
posted by N2O1138 at 7:08 PM on April 30, 2009

Response by poster: and @wongcorgi: I didn't see your response before I just posted, I hadn't heard of Apple Hardware Test, but it sounds like a very good idea, and I'll probably try that next.
posted by N2O1138 at 7:10 PM on April 30, 2009

Until you find the problem with OS X, stop futzing around with Windows.

The easiest way to find the problem with OS X is to nuke everything and reinstall.
posted by mrt at 7:12 PM on April 30, 2009

The fact that it works for about a minute and then suddenly stops makes me think it might be a heat issue, for example a failed fan. Maybe that diagnostics disc can tell you whether the fans are still working.

Or, if you have time before it crashes, you can use something like iStats Pro in OS X to see the temperatures and fan speeds.
posted by dixie flatline at 7:22 PM on April 30, 2009

have you tried booting a live cd?.. maybe that will help.

You can run ubuntu or linux variation to see if its a hardware problem
posted by radsqd at 8:19 PM on April 30, 2009

I recently was getting a very bad BSOD, albeit in a totally different configuration from yours (just Windows XP on a PC). I posted a question about it and got some very helpful ideas here. I realize the situations are pretty different, but there might be some good advice in there. Ultimately, several folks thought my hard drive was failing, and I think they were right. (I'm using a different one now.)
posted by DavidNYC at 8:21 PM on April 30, 2009

Try running Memtest. If errors occur while it's running (conveniently totaled up in the "errors" column), your RAM is busted. At that point, pull out one of the sticks and run Memtest again. If you get no errors, the remaining stick is fine. If you do get errors, switch them. Thus, you'll know which (if any) of your RAM sticks has gone bad.

The fact that it runs in safe mode is somewhat perplexing. A friend's computer recently bit the dust with somewhat similar symptoms (crashing hard after a period of use ranging from a few minutes to several hours), but it worked fine for quite some time in safe mode and worked for days at a time in Ubuntu when not running a real video card driver, so busted video card and/or heat issues seemed the likeliest culprit.

Uninstalling Windows 7 probably won't fix the problem, as it does sound like a hardware issue, but blowing away everything and trying with a clean install is always worth a try.
posted by sinfony at 9:02 PM on April 30, 2009

Safe mode wouldn't work if it was a serious hardware issue. Popping the ram out is a good suggestion: make certain it is unplugged & battery is out (although on your model I believe the ram is behind the batter so i don't think you get a choice). try 1 stick then the other.

Mac doesn't really have a safe mode but you can try booting holding the shift key down.

Another option is verbose mode so you can see what is going on.

If you use the cd that came with the machine: turn the unit on- pop the disk the drive hold the power for 10 seconds to turn it back off, then hold down the c key and turn the power back on. Hold the c key until the machine boots from the disk - which could be 2 or 3 minutes. I have a magic clipboard I use just for the purpose of holding keys down for me.
posted by zenon at 9:05 PM on April 30, 2009

My thought was that safe mode might lock the CPU into its lowest speed state (via SpeedStep), which could avoid a thermal shutdown that was happening with a normal boot. So I would definitely make checking the fans at least part of your diagnostic process.
posted by dixie flatline at 1:20 AM on May 1, 2009

hmm . download the windows debug tools. Unlike what most mac -people say blue screens are very helpfull and the emssages will tell you exactly what went wrong.

Try apple hardware test. IF that doesnt work if you can get the mini dump from windows you can use the windows debug tools to find out what actually crashed the machine.

A quick google search also turned up it could be a hdd problem or a video card problem.

This mac wouldnt happen to have an nvidia 8600 gpu in it does it?
posted by majortom1981 at 5:08 AM on May 1, 2009

ps if you can get the windows dump file off the hdd i can anylize it for you
posted by majortom1981 at 5:11 AM on May 1, 2009

Majortom makes an excellent point about the Nvidia 8600. Last year, it was revealed that they're all broken. And for what it's worth, dead computer i mentioned above had one of them. Furthermore, the problems with them seem to be heat-related, which helps explain why safe mode doesn't cause the problem.
posted by sinfony at 5:21 AM on May 1, 2009

Listen to the people who are advising you to try memtest86+.

Run it overnight and look for red in the bottom half of the screen in the morning. If you see any, pull one RAM stick and try again.

The total amount of RAM reported by your OS is a complete red herring; this only shows you the total nominal capacity of all the sticks you've installed, and has nothing whatsoever to do with how much of your RAM is actually functioning as intended.

If some small region of your RAM has lost its ability to remember things accurately (and there are assorted RAM failure modes that can cause just this), that inability won't cause any trouble until either the OS or some app attempts to actually use that region. Safe mode uses far less of the available RAM than normal mode, so it's statistically less likely to be using a failed region if such regions happen to be smallish and localized.

Memtest86+ (which you will find listed as a boot option in just about any Linux live CD) is a very small program, so if your RAM is working well enough to run your BIOS bootstrap, it will probably be working well enough to launch and run Memtest86+.

If Memtest86+ runs for a while and locks up, you're very likely looking at some form of power supply failure - either in the power supply proper, or involving the capacitors in the motherboard's on-board voltage converter.

It might also pay you to check your CPU heatsink fins for blockage by dust, though an overheated CPU is more likely simply to make you machine completely unresponsive than to cause a panic or BSOD.
posted by flabdablet at 8:21 AM on May 1, 2009

Don't futz with it. You have a problem that is currently easy to reproduce which is what any decent tech would be happy to see. I don't know what you hope to achieve by messing around with it.
posted by chairface at 9:57 AM on May 1, 2009

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