Kernel Panic!

Just in case you were wondering why isn’t working: I’m in the midst of the dreaded kernel panic on my office computer. This is the one thing that can go completely and utterly wrong with the Apple’s OS 10, at least as far as I can tell. For Apple users who have never seen this before, it’s a black screen with a ton of computer gobbly-gook all over it and then the words “kernel” and “panic” buried into the last lines of the code. If that seems a little vague, believe me, if it happens to you, you’ll know it.

What caused it? Well, all I know I ran the routine Apple software update, I installed 10.3.7 and the new version of iTunes (or at least I thought I did), I restarted, and then ka-boom. The tech guru for the college said he always does two restarts before installing any updates, and the fact that I run my computer as a server and hardly ever do any restarts might have had something to do with it. I don’t know, maybe….

Complicating matters a bit is the previously mentioned tech guy. I don’t want to go into it all right now, but in the nutshell, this guy is having some labor problems, and combined with some other issues, he seems a bit, er, tense. You know that sketch on Saturday Night Live, “Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy?”

Anyway, it isn’t all bad. For one thing, my office computer isn’t really my “main” computer, and I’m serving up my class web pages through my web space. If I had been having these problems with the laptop I am working on right now, I would be more, well, panicked. But it’s not, so I find the whole thing kind of an interesting technical problem. For another, I was able to restart the computer in “target disk mode” (hold down “T” on restart, and after you get the firewire logo bouncing around on the screen, hook up a firewire cable to another computer and you can mount the hard drive of the computer in target disk mode) and back up key files with no problem. In other words, if I have to, I could erase the whole thing and start over.

Later on this morning, I’m going to attempt the solutions suggested on this helpful web site, including using DiskWarrior (thanks to Steve B.’s help). If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to deal with our local Nick or to do a disk wipe. I’m kind of leaning toward the wipe ’cause it might not be a bad idea to get a clean start.

I’m back and running, sort of, and only after spending far too much time dorking around with the solution. Essentially, DiskWarrior sorta fixed it, but not quite (it’s hard to explain), so I had to reinstall the OS. Frankly, I should have just done that in the first place. Live and learn, I suppose.

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