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I need a little hand-holding to fix what is likely a small issue, please!

Discussion in 'Apple Mac' started by cmk59, Apr 19, 2010.

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  1. cmk59

    cmk59 Thread Starter

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    OK, here goes: Whilst I am old enough to know better (50), I'm still so new to a Mac (two years since I switched), I'll believe most anything from a "Mac Professional." Harumph. Hey, I'm a "disabled vet" on Morphine :D:p- so I know I can make easy mistakes - but I've double-checked my steps time and time again on this, so I'm hoping someone can help me:

    I had kernel panic issues, so my Mac Pro (on Leopard) went to the local (and highly reputed) "MacMan"(n). He reinstalled my system from Time Machine and took out all the 'third-party' programs I had installed (on the principle that there would / could be corrupted permissions), all the way to AppleJack and some of the games for which I paid good $$$. He also removed an (allegedly) bad hard drive. Now, I have long used AppleJack and have loved it's ease of use and what it does for my Mac, though he didn't approve of it for whatever reason. (Then again, he also still thinks Macs don't need any AV protection...though I just started using ClamXav instead of Norton, thanks to some recommendations from local Craigslist user boards.)

    But I digress. When I got my computer home, another KP struck after about 2 hours' run time. Normally when I have any such problem, I'll run AppleJack and it will be fixed. Not this time.

    I tried running AppleJack, but I can't get my computer to boot into Single User Mode; it just won't, but continues into a normal boot. I ran Onyx instead, and haven't had another panic, but other problems persist:

    I still can't boot into Single User Mode to run anything, let alone AppleJack, and I can't initialize my Bookworm.

    I tried hitting Command-option-O-F to reset the nvram, but again, no go. It booted up normally, without the second 'bong' and I must assume, no reset of the nvram, and no SUM boot.

    To top that off is the games issue: I only run Bookworm and Quinn (a Tetris clone). Quinn (a Freeware install) still runs fine, but Bookworm (the one I paid for) won't initialize. Instead, I get a message that "This must be run using an account under Computer Administration Access," after which it quits. I am the Admin and the only user of the computer; I've quintuple-checked...no other accounts exist or are active but mine. I've uninstalled and reinstalled both Bookworm and Applejack, to no avail - they indicate a normal, complete install, but I still can't bring either up. How can I be the Admin, and the only user, but still have this issue???:confused::mad:

    I'm pretty sure these issues are related, but I don't know how. Can anyone walk me through these, step-by-step? I'll even call via landline to be walked through it. I REALLY don't want to have to endure another Archive & Reinstall; my brain just can't take much more. I'm both at my wit's end and the end of my (limited) Mac knowledge, and I can't afford any more "professionals", both mentally and financially.

    Can anyone please help me?

    Chuck
    [email protected]
     
  2. liquid_vision

    liquid_vision

    Joined:
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    A mac pro remove 3rd party programs and reinstalled to fix a kernel panic?????????

    This to me is a very windows way of doing things. The general advice to winxp users is "format at reinstall everything" for any issue....

    Also, removing a hard drive to fix a kernel panic is like removing your foot to cure a headache....

    The first port of call for ANY kernel issue is the RAM.

    I assume you have another machine you can work on, as you are posting in here, but if not, borrow a helpful friend's machine, and go to

    http://www.memtestosx.org/joomla/index.php

    Download and burn the CD image, and boot your mac from it. Run a full memory test (if it's anything like the PC version, it might take a while).

    The likelihood is that if your memory is fine, the issue is related to hardware, rather than software.

    Removing applications also makes NO DIFFERENCE to the file permissions on the disk, and restoring from a time machine backup, if indeed the permisisons are an issue would simply put the problem back on the disk again.

    This mac "expert" charge you for the repair?

    I'm an ex apple tech for a major UK store, and can tell you right now, if this was carried out by any colleague,I would have opened up hell about it!!!

    Should the disk permissions be the issue, following these steps should correct them.

    btw, rest assured, I shall help with this issue, and wont take your hard disk out as a fallback :p

    ---------

    1) Open up Disk Utility (Finder > Go > Utilities > Disk Utility)
    2) Select your system disk from the menu on the left, and click "Verify Disk Permissions"
    3) If needed, once the verify is complete, select "Repair Disk Permissions" to fix any issues.

    If the drive is locked (I've encountered this on some machines,but not others - I can't find any discernible pattern between the disk being locked and anything else..), then you will have to boot from a MacOS DVD, and run the disk utility from there.

    I would give the permission check a try first, then go for the memory check.

    If neither of these help, drop me a line back, and I will see if I can be of any more assistance.

    Regards, Alex
     
  3. liquid_vision

    liquid_vision

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    ...oh, with regard to the virus issue on the MacOS.

    Technically, MacOS is almost impervious to viruses. I say almost,because in all situations, the user plays a part in virus spreading.

    Confidence trickery and social engineering are the foundation of spreading trojans, and even people with a lot of experience can pick up a well disguised trojan, and willingly install it thinking it is something else (I include myself in this, although it had only happened once).

    Virus scanners on non windows systems primarily serve to stop any viruses from being spread further by removing them from the machine they are on before they have chance to go anywhere else.

    ClamXav is actually a VERY good piece of software, and has so far managed to disinfect 30 odd windows machines from the safety of my Os X sandbox :)
     
  4. cmk59

    cmk59 Thread Starter

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    Alex,
    Funny you should say those things, as I thought the very same thing...I got pretty expert at the Windows stuff as XP was going down the tubes in favor of Vista, which I took as a GREAT time to jump to Mac!

    I ran Memtest and the OSX utilities, including repairing the permissions (which apparently Onyx didn't do very well, either). The memory checks out as stellar after a 30-hour loop test, and I, for some reason, am in the same boat; I still can't go into SUM or load/run the game. Knock wood, I haven't had another panic for almost 48 hours now, so maybe Onyx did some good. To that end, I'm on the "problem" Mac Pro typing this. No worries, RAM-wise. (As to that issue, I eventually want to replace the four 512mb Crucial sticks with four 2GB sticks, but you have to know that I'm still pretty partial to Crucial, as an OEM supplier to Apple...unless you have a better idea that won't cost me another mortgage! Then, I'm all ears!)

    As to charging, oh boy DID he ever charge me: between 3 visits, almost $300 altogether, and 1/3 of that for uninstalling programs I could've done myself!!! To top that off, he says he's a Mac guy, but he'd never heard of AppleJack?!? He's got the Apple Training certificates, but he could've printed them... ;p

    Thanks for answering so quickly; though I'm actually working Tuesday, I will be back at my Mac early on Wednesday to try, try again! Please also feel free to email my regular addy at [email protected] if you don't wish to take up forum space. (Besides, I may need to 'hit you up' for help again... ;)) )

    Chuck

    p.s. The U.K., eh? I spent 4 glorious years at RAF Upper Heyford in the USAF, and I absolutely LOVED it there (though I lived in the village of Wheatley, off the A34, if memory serves its location).
     
  5. cmk59

    cmk59 Thread Starter

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    Oh, and thanks for the endorsement of ClamXav...I'm still trying to figure out configurations (haha), but it came highly recommended, and I'm glad to be rid of that damnable Norton. Never DID like it, even on the PC. I'm no IM'er or heavy social networker, so I'm not worried on those fronts. Looking forward to your reply.

    Chuck
     
  6. Headrush

    Headrush

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    Just to verify, you are running 10.5.x, not 10.6.x? (Applejack has some 10.6 issues.)

    Uninstalling an app doesn't usually remove other support files that get installed in the user's home directory when the app is run. I would suggest that you create another user account (temporary) and log into that account and see if you can reproduce the problem.

    P.S. #1: "Command-option-O-F to reset the nvram"
    I don't know whether that was a typo or not but that just enters the Open Firmware terminal/prompt.

    Command-option-P-R resets the PRAM.

    P.S. #2: Usually permissions problems don't cause kernel panics.
     
  7. cmk59

    cmk59 Thread Starter

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    ...Mea culpa on the "CMD-Option" thing...I didn't clarify that that was to get into the menu and type in the commands to zap the pram and return the system to its original setting (I was trying to say it without spelling it all out.

    As to the OS I'm running, it's (I believe, as I'm not at home now and on a PC) 10.5.8 - the most updated Leopard. (I haven't gone to Snow Leopard yet.) Before the 'MacMan' "worked":mad: on my computer, I ran AppleJack regularly to keep things humming smoothly:cool:. It bugs me (no pun intended) that I now can't even initialize it, let alone run it, to fix what's not working. The OS's permissions repair didn't fix either the AJ or the Bookworm issues. :((n)

    And as to the 'permissions thing' in general, I appreciate your input on that, as well as that I've already received. It appears that no one outside of the lone Apple store here really does know how a Mac runs, let alone how to keep it running smoothly. I'm really, really hoping to avoid doing another A&I, but either way you all ROCK.

    I thank you all and will keep and pass on everything you're giving me (hey, this forum and ClamXav are perfect examples of that and how I was always led to believe that Mac people are "family." As soon as I saw how it worked and how well, I almost immediately PayPal'ed the originator for his wonderful program - beats the pants off of Norton, IMHO) .

    Again, thanks for jumping in; I can use all the help I can get, especially as there are seemingly no Mac users around central Oklahoma (okay, one guy emailed me) who're intersted in forming a MUG south of Tulsa. A MUG would help in instances like this, I think. Any and all help you offer is gratefully accepted and appreciated!!!

    Chuck
    Chuck
     
  8. liquid_vision

    liquid_vision

    Joined:
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    Hmmmm.....

    I'm a little short on ideas at the moment, and I'm also smack bang in the middle of trying to finish a uni assignment at a net cafe in Madrid (stuck here due to the unpronounceable volcano...).

    I have however emailed a old colleague of mine with your issue, so hopefully he will be able to shed a little more light on things.

    I do have a few potential ideas up my sleve, but until a bit later on, I wont be able to try any of them out (it will involve trying to recreate your problem on a virtual machine...).

    The previous suggest of creating a new user account is actually a very good one...

    On a number of occasions on my G3 Yosemite, I had issues with login items/boot extensions which caused the system to crap out, and creating a new user account tended to fix them pretty much fine, although this would only really help should you run into problems with the kernel panics again, and would do nothing to solve your single user mode problem.

    As your RAM is showing as fine, it does narrow things down a fair bit though.

    Other potential causes of any issues are incompatible kernel extensions, or possibly driver faults, or even issues with overheating....

    Something that might be worth looking at is a program called smcFanControl.

    It allows your to monitor the temparature of the system, and to control the fan speeds individually.

    It would be interesting to see if the issues were related to the system overheating....

    I shall be back online later on, and will have hopefully freed up the evening, so I should be able to help a bit more then.

    Regards, Alex
     
  9. cmk59

    cmk59 Thread Starter

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    Bon chance, Alex. Thanks again!

    Chuck
     
  10. Headrush

    Headrush

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    Not exactly sure what that means but I'm actually quite versed.

    When trouble shooting any issue every step you try should eliminate possibilities and narrow the focus.

    The first two things you want to do is determine whether its a hardware or software issue and then if its software determine whether its system wide or restricted to a single user account. Trying logging in as a new user shows a problem with a single user account and is the easiest to fix and often is the cause. If not this you can continue to work at the other two possibilities.

    Reinstall is never a solution to me, it's just bypasses the problem which could arise again.

    You mention that in the pass running Applejack fixed your issues, but that was never a fix. If you continually have to do that something else is amiss and repeating running of AppleJack is just a bandage not solving the real issue.

    For the most part, KPs are caused by bad RAM, faulty drivers, overheating.
     
  11. cmk59

    cmk59 Thread Starter

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    What I'd meant to say is that I am in understandable awe of your abilities and willingness to help me keep from foundering. I truly and deeply appreciate both your knowledge and your desire to help....as I said, everyone who's answered really typifies the positive reputation of the Apple community, a big reason I had switched over.

    As to AppleJack, I ran it regularly to 'tune up' my computer and keep it running optimally; not that it was doing anything vis a vis the KP's. I had hoped it would help (not knowing at the time where KP's normally eminated from), so I ran it several times a month. It could well still be that my RAM has a temperature issue on a high work load, so I'm going to install and run smcFanController (when I can get back to my computer) and see how things are then.

    My plan is, in a few months, to add cooling to both RAM cards when I upgrade the total RAM from 4GB to 10GB. Beyond that and remaining vigilant about keeping the innards clean, I'm at a loss as to anything more I could do, temp-wise. I just need to keep using the temp sensors and play with the smc program to work in the interim. (BTW, any input on the power question I posited regarding the planned extra cooling fan addition?)

    On a positive note, going on 3 days w/o a KP, so maybe the one I had last week was a fluke I 'fixed' with the permission repair?! :rolleyes: At least I can hope....:eek:

    Chuck
     
  12. Headrush

    Headrush

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    If you open the Terminal app from /Applications/Utilities and type the following:

    Code:
    sudo nano /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist
    Something similiar to the following should appear:

    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
            <key>Kernel</key>
            <string>mach_kernel</string>
            <key>Kernel Flags</key>
            <string>arch=x86_64</string>
    </dict>
    </plist>
    

    Using the arrow keys move down and add debug=0x144 to the kernel flags section so it appears like this:

    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
    <plist version="1.0">
    <dict>
            <key>Kernel</key>
            <string>mach_kernel</string>
            <key>Kernel Flags</key>
            <string>arch=x86_64 debug=0x144</string>
    </dict>
    </plist>
    
    Once done hit CTRL + o, and then return key. (This saves the change)
    After that hit CTRL + x to exit that terminal editor. (what we were just in)

    What this will do on future reboots is change what is displayed next time your machine has KP.
    This will give us more info and if possible getting a picture of it would be helpful. (Could write it down but probably a lot there)

    P.S. Making this change will not hurt your system in any way and doesn't affect its functionality.

    Maybe will get lucky and there won't be anymore KPs.

    Also, as for testing overheating, I'm not 100% which model Mac you have but often removing the side panel and using an ordinary house fan blowing onto the RAM and CPU will create enough air flow to determine whether its the culprit or not.
    But we'll wait for future KPs to see what happens.

    P.S. #2 Don't jump the gun just yet on that RAM purchase. Sure more memory can always help especially when dealing with large Photoshop files but with 4GB jumping between apps shouldn't be that bad and this could be a clue to the issues also. (Would need to know Photoshop version and type of images you're working with to know for sure.)

    You mentioned earlier the MacMan replaced the HD, are you 100% he did? Failing HDs and slow access HDs could also cause several of the issues you experienced.
     
  13. cmk59

    cmk59 Thread Starter

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    He didn't replace the hard drive as much as he moved things around. My original "home" drive that was "bad" was a 320GB unit that came with the computer. I later added two 500GB Seagate Drives, and he just made one of those the new "home" disc as he trashed the original. He then used Time Machine to 'restore' the system. (See why I'm so cheesed that I got charged at all? Even I could do THAT...)

    Oh, well. It's done now.

    As to the RAM upgrade, I'd been wanting to do that for some time, just so I didn't get the SBBOD whilst multitasking. (BTW, I'm using Adobe Creative Suite 3 Pro, and as I'm getting ready to start my MFA in Graphic Design, I'll be upgrading to CS5, thanks to the university...who's also sending me a MacBook Pro, though likely an older one, even if it's NIB!)

    I just figure that, temps being the issue they are on MP's, when I add a good deal more RAM, it wouldn't hurt to amp up the cooling some, too.

    As to the Terminal suggestion, I tried typing the command as you listed it. What I got was:

    Last login: Wed Apr 21 11:37:11 on console
    Chucksters-Computer:~ newowner$ sudo nano /Library/Preferences/SystemConFiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist

    WARNING: Improper use of the sudo command could lead to data loss or the deletion of important system files. Please double-check your typing when using sudo. Type "man sudo" for more information. To proceed, enter your password, or type Ctrl-C to abort.

    I gave my command, but got bupkis. Nada. So, just for grins and giggles, I typed the line entry you showed with Kernel Flags in it:
    Password:*******Chucksters-Computer:~ newowner$ type:<key>Kernel Flags</key>
    -bash: syntax error near unexpected token `newline'


    After that, I exited the Terminal rather than do something else which I might regret.

    ***sigh*** What am I doing/not doing?

    Chuck



    Chuck
     
  14. liquid_vision

    liquid_vision

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    Hi Chuck.

    with regard to the "sudo" command, an explanation of what it is doing might be benefitial to you in understanding the purpose of the instruction.

    UNIX based operating systems have a user account called 'root'. Effectivly, root is the absolute system admin. The root user has control over everthing on the system, and can often make changes without being prompted to continue, or given any warning that their action can damage the system.

    The most common method of accessing any command on a system as root is to use sudo. Sudo allows any user to run a command with root privilages, so long as they are in the sudoers file (as an admin user on MacOS, this should be set up for you).

    The section of the command following 'sudo' (ie, nano /Library/Preferences/SystemConFiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist') instructs the system to run the program 'nano', which is a terminal based text editor.

    Running it as sudo simply means that you can save the file when you have changed it, as the /Library directory is a system folder, and is write protected by default.

    To use sudo, the user name you are logged in as must be a system administrator. If the logged in user is not an admin, the system will not allow the sudo command to run.

    On the System Preferences -> Users panel, make sure that the user you are logged in as is an admin.

    Then, try running the command again.

    You should be given a prompt asking for a password. This is the password for the account you are logged in as.

    Note here, that when you type your password, you will not see anything appearing on the screen. This is standard UNIX behaviour, so just type the password as you would normally, and hit enter.

    Assuming you have typed the password correctly, once you hit enter, the command will run,and you will see the output as Headrush said.

    If not, you will be given an error, and either returned to the command prompt, or you will be asked for your password again.


    The line '<key>Kernel Flags</key>' is not an instruction itself, but a configuration tag within a file, and this particular file contains the instructions that are passed to the system kernel when it boots, and as such, it cannot be typed in on the command line to make a change.

    It is worth noting, that although MacOS in general is very forgiving when it comes to case sensitivity, the UNIX system (including Linux, Minix and all other UNIX variations) ARE case sensitive, and I cannot stress the importance enough, that you MUST, as an absolute necessity make sure that the case of the commands you type are EXACTLY correct.

    Check, double check, then check again when editing plist files, or any other system file!

    I'd go so far as to say that EVERY Linux/UNIX admin has at some point, trashed a system because of an incorrectly typed instruction (I managed to destroy a Linux server I was half way through building a few weeks ago when distracted while typing a command).
     
  15. liquid_vision

    liquid_vision

    Joined:
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    While I agree this is a good way to test the overheating issue in the short term, I certainly would not advise it as a solution, and definitely would not run the system with side open unless there was a table fan there to assist with the cooling!!!!!

    Apple add enough fans with intelligent enough control to account for the extra RAM, and the airflow through the case is designed in such a way that running the machine with the side open will result in the system running hotter than with the side on.

    With the pre dual core G5 systems, it is risky running with the inner plastic screen off, and certainly with the older machines (G3 and G4 Desktops), running with the side open for more than about 20 minutes will result in an overheat and shut down!

    In the event that the machine IS overheating, it is usually the result of a dodgy fan, in which case, replacing it should correct the issue, although the more I read of your issues here, the less I suspect that overheating is the problem....

    If you are looking to help keep the RAM cool though, there are a number of manufacturers which produce passive cooling units (much like pc processor heatsinks) which can be stuck to the RAM modules, and should vent the extra heat nicely.

    The air flow through the MP case goes from front to back, and this extra heat would be dissipated pretty effectively.
     
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