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Travis, Mac-Trained Product Designer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 759
Experience:  19+ Years of Mac Experience, BSA in Design and 6 Years of Mac Training from University of Cincinnati
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My Mac Book Pro is frozen. The screen goes just says You need

Customer Question

My Mac Book Pro is frozen. The screen goes just says "You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button for several seconds or press the Restart button."

I do that, I hear the chime, then the scree goes gray, and the same message comes back on. what should I do?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Travis replied 6 years ago.
If the following suggestions work, please let me know and you can Accept the answer (and if possible, leave positive feedback). If not, please DO NOT Accept the answer yet. Instead, let me know and we'll try some more things or I can refer you to another Expert who may be able to help you further.

What you are experiencing is a type of Kernel Panic. This means that it is either Hardware failure or the System File Structure is in serious disarray.

- - - Remove new hardware - - -
Have you recently made any changes to the machine or added any hardware? If so, remove the hardware (memory cards?) and try to restart.

- - - Unplug EVERYTHING - - -
Next, unplug everything but the mouse and keyboard and try to restart. Kernel Panic still? If so, read on. Otherwise, something you just removed caused the panic.

- - - Disk Repair off Install Disk - - -
If that doesn't work, start the machine off of the Mac OS X Install Disc by holding C at startup while the disk is in. Don't let go of the "C" until it starts from the Install Disk. You'll know it's started from the System Disk when it loads to a screen asking your to choose your language.
NOTE: If you can't get the mac to startup from the Install Disk, try starting up from the Install Disk in an external DVD Drive. If that doesn't work, try inserting the DVD, shutting down the mac, then powering up while holding down the "Option" key, then choosing the Install Disk when the startup manager appears ( When it starts up, quit the installer (if necessary) and run Disk Utility on the Hard Drive. Verify and Repair the Disk if necessary.

- - - fsck repair in Single User - - -
If you can't get the machine to start from the Install Disc, then let's try to start up into Single User Mode and run Disk Utility from the command prompt.
1) Start the mac and hold down the apple key (Command) and the S key until the machine starts into Single User Mode.
2) After the Apple logo (if the hard drive can mount), it will have a black screen with white text. You can release the apple key and the S key. When it finally stops loading and you are given a prompt, type the command below (it's in bold so you know what exactly to type) EXACTLY as I have it (there is only a space between "k" and "-") and then press return:

/sbin/fsck -fy

fsck will go through five "phases" and then display info about your hard disk's state. Once it finishes, it'll display this message if no issue were found:
** The volume (name_of_volume) appears to be OK
If fsck found issues and has done anything, it will display this message:
If the above message appears, repeat the fsck command until fsck tells you that your volume "appears to be OK"
The first-pass repairs may uncover additional issues, so it's normal to have to do it more than once.
3) When fsck reports that your volume is OK, type the command below (it's in bold so you know what exactly to type) EXACTLY as I have it and then press return:


Does the machine boot up now? Or are you still stuck? If it still crashes, try a Safeboot startup.

- - - Safeboot Startup - - -
1) Shut down your computer completely.
2) Start up the computer and immediately after the startup chime, press and hold the Shift key
3) Once the gray Apple and progress indicator appear, release the Shift key. If it gets stuck on the Kernel Panic again, skip down to the "Diagnostic Startup".
4) Note: Startup will likely take substantially longer than normal. 20 minutes is not unheard of.
5) You should have to login to your account, even if it normally does so automatically.
6) Shut down the computer.

Restart normally. Does it still go to the Kernel Panic? If so, restart the computer and run the Apple Hardware Test

- - - PRAM Reset - - -
Next, let's reset the PRAM on the computer. I know you've done this already, but let's do it again now.
1) Shut down the computer.
2) While the computer is shut down, locate these keys: command (has an apple on it), option (sometimes called alt), P, and R.
3) Turn the computer on, then press and hold Command-Option-P-R before the gray screen appears.
4) Hold these keys down until you hear the startup sound a total of 3 times. It can be a couple of seconds or a couple of minutes between start up sounds.
5) Release the keys. Do you get the kernel panic still?

- - - Archive and Install - - -
The "Archive and Install" option on reinstalling the Mac OS X will preserve your user data and files, but you may need to reinstall some third party software and fonts.
There is a comprehensive website detailing the Archive and Install process online. I recommend you check it out before proceeding.
If you are still experiencing the Kernel Panic after all of this....

- - - Remove / Replace Memory - - -
Next thing is try removing one of the memory sticks in the machine and starting up. If you still get a panic, then put this one back in and remove the other one, etc. It may be bad memory. What we are trying to do is figure out what exactly is causing the kernel panic. Then we'll know how to combat it.

If you are still experiencing the Kernel Panic after all even the memory swapping / replacing then the problem is likely hardware (logic board, RAM risers, CPU, etc). You will have to take the mac to a certified repair center and allow them to diagnose the computer hands on to determine the part(s) that need replaced. Sorry.

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