Kernel Panic on Boot



I hope this is the correct place to post this.

I am a PC user, and have been all my life. I am a computer junkie and have built many PC computers...however when it comes to a Mac, I am all but lost! :)

I was just given a PowerBook G4 that doesn't work by a friend of mine. She doesn't know what's wrong with it, and she bought a new MacBook and asked if I would like this PowerBook to try and fix it since I'm a computer junkie, so I said heck yes!

The problem is...I don't know where to start?!

So, I figured I'd come here and ask...I was referred to these forums by a friend of mine, so again forgive me if I'm posting this in the wrong place!

Here is what's going on:

When you boot the machine, it goes straight to what I've found to be the Kernel Panic screen. It doesn't boot any farther...I can't get into the OS by any means.

I found that you can boot a Mac into safe mode by holding down SHIFT, however that doesn't work still boots straight to the Kernel Panic screen.

I also found somewhere about the "Open Firmware" and I AM able to boot into that...I don't know if that's helpful or not.

I don't know if this is a software or hardware problem...I don't know what's wrong at all really!

Please help...I realize this isn't much info...but that's why I'm needing get more info! Only thing I know about it is its a PowerBook G4 Aluminum 15"...I found through the Open Firmware that I believe it has 1 GB of ram...but that's about it...any help with anything would be greatly appreciated!

My friend said she took it to the Geniuses and they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it...she said they told her they THINK the logic board went I'm just trying to figure out if that is infact the case, or if it's something else since they said they weren't sure that's what was wrong.

Thanks in advance!


Hi ShawneeNDN,

I would be suspicious of the memory modules. I don't recall the module configuration for the G-4 all that well, so I'll answer on my own experiences and see if it helps. Bad memory module can prevent or allow bootup; signs and symptoms are kernal panic. If it had been upgraded by addition of more memory modules DIMMS or SIMMS, then removal of all but the original modules, then rebooting, may narrow the troubleshooting effort.

If it's difficult to diddle with the memory modules, then try this:

Firewire connect it to your friend's newer, and working Mac, then boot the G-4 Macbook into the Target Disk mode. Hold down the "T" key while booting up; this turns your entire G-4 into an external hard drive, to appear on the desktop of your friend's newer Mac. See if you get the firewire symbol on the screen and if your friend can detect your hard drive.

Other readers of this MacOSX website will likely have better ideas.

If everything fails, don't throw money at the G-4, Instead buy yourself a MacBook Air with 4 gigs RAM and 128 SD Ram HD, or shoot the works and get a Mac Pro with plenty of RAM and fill all 4 bays with Terabyte drives and then add a dual external RAID drive to the two additional esata ports. Then sell off all your PC's, and become a Macaholic!

Hope this helps out