Why'd my reliable mac crash so violently?
May 15, 2008 3:31 PM   Subscribe

My 15" Powerbook from 2003, running OS X.3, just froze up and demanded that I restart my computer. Why?

The screen grayed out and a message popped up telling me to restart my computer in English, German and a couple of other languages, in front of a graphic of the apple power logo.

Was it some kind of kernel crash? I've gone through my logs and don't see anything out of the ordinary.

I've never seen anything like this. Has my computer been hacked, or was it just running so long that a serious crash was bound to happen? (Disclosure: I've been using OS9 support recently.)
posted by thecaddy to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
That was a kernal panic. Once every 5 years isn't the end of the world. But if it happens again soon, it could be you're having a hardware problem.
posted by birdherder at 3:37 PM on May 15, 2008

You saw this, right? I doubt very much that you were hacked. If it's never happened before, I wouldn't worry about it over much. If it happens again soon, I'd break out the hardware diagnostics CD/DVD that came with the powerbook and have it thoroughly test itself.
posted by mumkin at 3:37 PM on May 15, 2008

That's Apple's equivalent to the Blue Screen of Death. The fact that you've never seen one before is a testament to the reliability of OS X, although I've seen a lot more of them in Leopard than I ever did in Tiger or Jaguar.

I wouldn't worry about it unless it keep reocurring.
posted by furtive at 3:38 PM on May 15, 2008

That happened to me constantly when I first installed Leopard. A quick re-install and a software/boot cache update got me running smooth again. I have no advice to offer, only consolation when I tell you it's not a permanent or unsolvable problem if it keeps happening. Since you're undoubtedly not under Apple Care any more, I'd take comfort in that fact :) Good luck.
posted by pedmands at 3:40 PM on May 15, 2008

IBooks from that period were quite prone to kernal panics; I've not heard of similar issues for Powerbooks. I second the diagnostic CD idea as well; in my experience the panics tend to throw off little things in the system that are easily fixed using the diagnostic programs.
posted by justnathan at 3:53 PM on May 15, 2008

Like everyone else so far has said, it's a kernel panic and probably no big deal. If it keeps happening, memory is the most likely culprit, either a chip that has gone bad or come loose. You can use something like memtest to check your ram if need be.
posted by pwicks at 3:57 PM on May 15, 2008

>Like everyone else so far has said, it's a kernel panic

Actually everyone else so far has spelled it "kernal" for some reason. It may help when searching for it, etc., to know that "kernel" is correct.

Apple's page on the subject.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:39 PM on May 15, 2008

AmbroseChapel, maybe everyone else is used to talking about Commodore 64's?
posted by threeze at 8:39 PM on May 15, 2008

Okay, thanks everybody. I figured it was something like that but I hadn't seen the screen before, and I had three other incidents in my panic log (all occasions where the computer did something else weird, now that I think about).

I'm on vacation but I'll make sure to run the diagnostic check when I get back to the house.

posted by thecaddy at 11:36 PM on May 15, 2008

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