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Kernel Panic: (Spontaneously restarts)
"Your computer restarted because of a problem"

This document should be used to help troubleshoot if you experience;  spontaneously restart, unresponsiveness, random shut-downs, a message "Your computer restarted because of a problem." or a message "You shut down your computer because of a problem.".

About unexpected restarts

In rare situations, a Peared MacBook running OS X may encounter an unrecoverable issue affecting operations. When this happens, your MacBook must be restarted. This is sometimes due to what is known as a "kernel panic" because an underlying part of the operating system (the "kernel") has determined there is an issue that requires a restart. We have found in our testing that this error is often independent of your TarDisk's operation.  

If your computer experiences a kernel panic, a message may appear for a few seconds explaining that the computer has been restarted: "Your computer restarted because of a problem. Press a key or wait a few seconds to continue starting up." After a moment, the computer continues starting up. 

Preventing unexpected restarts

In most cases, kernel panics are not caused by an issue with the Pear'ed TarDisk itself. Instead, they are often caused by software that was installed, a problem with connected hardware or aging internal hardware. 

To help avoid kernel panics, install all available software updates until Software Update reports, "Your software is up to date." OS X updates help your Mac handle the kinds of issues that can cause kernel panics, such as malformed network packets, or third party software issues. For most kernel panics, updating your software is all you have to do.

After your computer restarts

Once your Mac restarts successfully, an alert message appears, "You shut down your computer because of a problem."

At this point, always Click Cancel. If you click "Open" you will re-open all apps that were active before you restarted and if one of those apps happen to be the cause of the initial issue, you will experience the same error again. If you do not click anything for 60 seconds, OS X will automatically continue as if you had clicked Open.

Note: If your computer is unable to recover from the issue, it may restart repeatedly, and then shut down. If this happens, or if you see the "computer restarted because of a problem" message frequently, see the Additional Information section of this article for guidance.

Understanding the issue.

Once you log in, OS X lets you know that, "Your computer was restarted because of a problem."

Click "More Info". Viewing the report may provide clues as to what caused the issue. 

Note: If you find the term "machine check" in the "Problem Details and System Configuration" field of this report, it may indicate a hardware-related issue. This may be a symptom of issues with any of your computer Hardware including your Peared TarDisk. See the "Additional Information" section of this article below for guidance.

Close the window to dismiss the report. If the issue doesn't happen again during the next few weeks, the issue is likely resolved.

Software known to cause kernel panics

OS X Mavericks/Yosemite/ElCaptain help you correct kernel panics related to software you may have installed. If the cause of the kernel panic is known, OSX offers to help you disable its related software:

  • If "More Info…" appears, click it to see more details about the issue, including possible workarounds or resolutions.
  • Selecting the option to "Ignore" does not alter the software that may be related to the issue.
  • "Move to Trash" moves software that is likely related to the issue to the Trash, but the Trash is not automatically emptied. When you select this option, an additional sheet appears:

  1. Click "Restart" to disable the software that may be responsible for the issue.
  2. When prompted, enter an administrator name and password.
  3. Click "Move to Trash".
  4. After restarting, the related software is in your Trash.
    Click the Trash icon in the Dock to see which software was removed. 
  5. Empty the Trash if you want to permanently remove the third party software.

Additional Information

Troubleshooting a recurring kernel panic

Diagnosing a recurring kernel panic is a multistep proces. To help diagnose recurring kernel panics, record the date and time it occurs, and any information that appears with the kernel panic message.

  • Was the computer starting up, shutting down, or performing a particular task when the recurring kernel panic happened? 
  • Is the kernel panic intermittent, or does it happen every time you do a certain thing? For example, were you playing a particular game, or printing at the time?
  • Does it occur only when a certain external device is connected, or a device is connected to a certain port?

 

Isolate hardware or software as the cause of the issue

To try to figure out if the issue is related to software or hardware, use the computer with a fresh installation of OS X on an external drive.

  1. Start the Mac from OS X Recovery
    If a kernel panic still occurs when started from Recovery, there is likely a hardware issue. See the "Hardware troubleshooting" section below for additional information.
  2. Open Disk Utility and use "Repair Disk" on your Mac's internal hard drive (named Macintosh HD by default). Important: If Disk Utility is unable to repair the internal drive, you should confirm that your Time Machine Backup is up-to-date. 
  3. Connect an external drive with at least 10 GB of free space. Note: Make sure the external drive does not cause kernel panics, and is the only device on its USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt port. Connecting the external drive and its cables to another Mac can help make sure the drive does not cause kernel panics. 
  4. Install OS X on the external drive.
  5. Start up from the external drive.
  6. Use Software Update to install all updates until it reports "Your software is up to date."
  7. Don't install additional software on the external drive, but instead use the Apple applications to surf the web, view QuickTime movies, email, print, scan, and/or other activities. Continue using your Mac for the amount of time it would usually take for the issue to occur.
  8. If a panic occurs, select the "Hardware troubleshooting" section below to further diagnose the issue.
    If a panic does not occur, select the "Software troubleshooting" section below article to further diagnose the issue.

Hardware troubleshooting

Disconnect the external drive used in the above test to determine if the kernel panic is due to a hardware issue.

Check peripheral devices first

Go to the next section if you have no devices attached to your Mac.

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Disconnect all peripheral devices. 
  3. Turn on your Mac.
  4. Use your Mac for the amount of time it would usually take for a kernel panic to occur.
  5. If a kernel panic does occur: Reseat the internal RAM and third-party hardware (ONLY applicable to MacBook Pro computers which have CD drives ).
    If a kernel panic does not occur: Power down the Mac and connect one peripheral device at a time and test until a kernel panic occurs.
    • Note: A combination of peripherals may be the cause of a kernel panic. Disconnect one peripheral at a time to see if it causes a kernel panic by itself. If the kernel panic does not occur, continue to add peripherals until you find the other peripheral needed to cause the kernel panic. 

Reset the SMC 

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source and to your computer.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time. 
    TarDisk SMC Reset
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.
  6. On MagSafe power adapters, the LED might change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.
To Reset the Pram:
  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. 
  3. Turn on your Mac.
    TarDisk PRAM reset
  4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys immediately after you hear the startup sound.
  5. Hold these keys until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for a second time continue holding until it chimes 3 x.
  6. Release the keys.

Check Peared TarDisk

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Reseat the Peared TarDisk. Remove the TarDisk and re-insert it ten times. [Remember never to use metal when removing a TarDisk, and instead use the supplied guitar pick or a credit card]. This process helps clean any dirt or oxidation that has previously accumulated in the SDXC slot.
  3. Make sure the TarDisk is installed in your SDXC slot and turn on your Mac.
  4. Use your Mac for the amount of time it would usually take for a kernel panic to occur.
  5. If the kernel panic does not occur, continue on to the software troubleshooting. 
    If a kernel panic does occur:  Make sure that your Time Machine Backup is up-to-date and proceed to Software troubleshooting.  

Software troubleshooting

Disconnect the external drive used in the above test to determine the kernel panic is due to a software based issue.

  1. Start the Mac from OS X Recovery and reinstall OS X on your Mac.
  2. Start from the installation of OS X you just created.
  3. Use Software Update to install all updates until it reports "Your software is up to date."
  4. Download and install any third-party software updates before reinstalling third-party software, especially drivers and kernel extensions.
         Examples include:
    • Virtualization software 
    • Drivers for add-on third party display cards
    • Anti-virus software
    • Networking software (especially software which enables third party network devices) 
    • Add-on file system support software; for example, software that lets your write to NTFS formatted media.

Unpear your MacBook

If you have completed all the steps above and are still experiencing Kernal panic episodes, it is important to now remove the TarDisk to isolate it from other issues on your system. 

The un-pearing process can be found hereThis general process solves any issue you have with your computer and removes all aspects of Pear. This guide, which is the equivalent to restoring your system from a backup, can be found here. Make sure that OSX has the latest updates installed, you are running OSX Yosemite or newer and your TimeMachine Backup has been updated. 

  1. Follow the step to unpear found here.
  2. If a kernel panic does occur; Take your MacBook to Apple as you are experiencing issues with your MacBook hardware.
  3. If a Kernel Panic does NOT occur; You can now re- Pear your system as the process of un-pearing re-sets the potential issues with your TarDisk. 

If you have completed all the steps above and are still experiencing Kernal panic episodes, it is important to now reinstall OSX on a clean system.  

Re-install OSX on your MacBook

If the issue continues, you will need to erase and install OS X as follows:

  1. Start the Mac from OS X Recovery.
  2. Complete a disk image backup via Disk Utility of the internal drive to an external drive with enough free space.
  3. Erase the internal drive using Disk Utility.
  4. Install OS X.
  5. Start from the internal drive.
  6. Use Software Update to install all updates until it reports "Your software is up to date."
  7. Re-install your third-party apps and copy your user data from the disk image backup you created in step 2. 
    Note: Avoid copying data from the /Library and /System folders on your backup disk image.

Advanced information about kernel panics and panic logs

You can check kernel panic logs for more information. The kernel panic text is added to the log after you restart the computer, assuming that you did not reset PRAM (the kernel panic text is stored in PRAM until you restart). In Mac OS X v10.6 or later, the logs are located in in /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports. Information that may aid developers in the investigation of a software issue may be in the log. The information may also provide clues as to what may have caused the kernel panic. 

Understanding and Debugging Kernel Panics – This technote addresses kernel panics: what they are, how to read panic logs and how to debug the code that caused the panic.

Kernel Core Dumps – This technote explains how you can enable remote kernel core dumps used to collect data about the kernel panic.

Note: If you are a software developer, booter settings and debug flags may cause different symptoms for kernel panics.