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How to kill a Mac and Bring it back from the Dead again

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by Gingerdave, May 7, 2009.

  1. Gingerdave

    Gingerdave Megabyte Poster

    Hi guys, I recently had some fun with my Mac which I have posted up on on my blog, but I thought as it was IT related some of you may find it interesting so here it is:

    So after owning my Mac for about 8 months I managed to kill it, completely, no saving it and I got my first introduction to Kernel Panic (just remember to salute as he is not to be messed with!).

    First I need to explain how I broke the Mac and had my first introduction to the Kernel. All *Nix (Uniix, Linux, Mac etc) are all based on an index, and much like the Yellow Pages if you want to look for the Photography section you will look at the index page and go “oh its on Page 230”. This index means the OS can find anything quickly from your latest guilty purchase on iTunes (I know you bough groove is in the Heart – go on admit it) to the photos from your best friends wedding, but without this index it has less chance of finding what it is look for then trying to find clean socks in an all Male university halls of residence.

    Now imagine the scene, i am sat here trying to rid a stubborn file from the Trash (the OS X equivalent of the Windows Recycle Bin) and after some serious Google-Foo I found a set of commands that I had to enter that would rid me of these pesky files, only thing was I had to be running as an Administrator on the effected account. My normal practise is to run as a non privileged user so no rights to install anything and less chance of breaking things, so to make the changes I logged out of my Bad_Monkey account and instead switched over to my admin account and made the relevant permission changes, while I was there I thought I would change the name of the account from Bad_Monkey to just plain simple Monkey. This was all well and good, and I logged into the freshly renamed and empowered Monkey account, ran the commands I had found and…… Nothing, nada. Well that was unexpected, perhaps the permissions didn’t apply properly I thought so back to the admin account I went only to meet Kernel Panic. For those of you unfamiliar with this Gentlemen let me introduce him:


    So yep this is what you get, a nice splash screen saying reboot, the equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death, so I treated it the same, Reboot log back in. Fine I thought I deal with this in Windows, this is just the same. Oh how wrong I was The Kernel will not be so easily deterred. Over the next 10 minutes I logged into both accounts only to be foiled from making changes by the Kernel.

    At this point My good lady dragged me away from the Mac for a walk along the canal (and no that is not a euphemism – get your mind out of the gutter!). While we were out walking i have to admit I was not relaxing and enjoying the walk instead I was concocting my plan of attack. I got to wondering, what would i do if this was a windows box, well i would ask these questions:

    1. Is the data backed up?
    2. Are the system and software disks available?
    3. Will blanking the system be a worse cure then the problem?

    The answers to this questions came back as Yes, Yes and No, so now I have a plan of attack: Reinstall OS X, restore the data from the Time Machine drive and then reinstall the programs as necessary. The Kernel doesn’t stand a chance.

    I returned from the walk happy that I had a plan and immediately went to engage in battle with the Kernel again. I dug out the system disks and dropped the first DVD in, selected wipe and reinstall and then left it for 40 minutes or so to do its thing, checking in occasionally to see how it was going and swap DVD1 for DVD2 at the appropriate point and then doing the restart as necessary. With a chime the mac sprang back to life and then started to play the OS X intro video and then came a surprising screen, one that turned the tide in my favour, this screen asks a simple question and gives you some options as shown here:


    So I selected from time machine, it asked me which drive (the Time machine one) and what I wanted to restore (everything) and then I left it running, popping in occasionally till I was I given the logon screen I was used to. With some trepidation I logged into the Bad_Monkey account and………..

    Nothing, it was fine just sitting at the desktop waiting for me. I had vanquished Kernel Panic. There were a couple of things I had to reinstall including the NTFS driver I use to write data to my other 500gb drive. I plugged this drive in and BAM! the Kernel returns in a surprise ambush. I restarted the Mac and the same thing happened again, now at log on. By this point I am thoroughly confused until I remembered that Mac’s are indexed machines, during the restore the OS will have rebuilt the index but as the NTFS drive wasn’t connected at the time It will not have had the opportunity to rebuild the index. Now that I have worked that out the problem became how to solve it, and this is where my Mac was saved by my work laptop which runs little old XP.

    When the Mac indexes a location it stores the resulting information in the .Spotlight V100 file in the root of the drive, i deleted that out of the NTFS drive, disconnected it from the XP machine, plugged it back into the mac and all was well.

    So I suppose the moral of the story is if you decide to make large sweeping changes to the Mac’s file system – give it time to reindex everything or Kernel Panic will visit you as well.
    Certifications: A+,MCP, MCDST, VCP5 /VCP-DV 5, MCTS AD+ Net Inf 2008, MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012

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