Kernel Panic – Tip # 271

Share this article

As we’ve had to adjust to a more digital and remote life (thanks, pandemic), we have come to rely on our computers and devices even more. Personally, this means that I have many of the same apps on my phone that I have on my computer so that I can keep up with what’s going on whether I’m at my desk pouring over a document or in the produce aisle, looking for the perfect avocado to accent my pulled pork taco dish I have planned for dinner – connectivity is a must.

So, imagine the horror when my MacBook Pro felt the need, all on its own, to begin rebooting multiple times a day.  Like a never-ending April Fool’s joke, this would occur at the most inopportune times:  During a remote meeting I’ve organized, while I’m working on a document that has yet to be saved (ouch), or when I’m deep in a chat with a colleague.  ABRACADABRA…REBOOT! 

If I didn’t love and need this machine so much, I would ascend to the highest point in my house, open a window, and gleefully fling the wily beast to its permanent demise.  Ok…maybe I’m being a wee bit dramatic, but you get the picture.

With gleeful flinging not on my list of realistic options, I started to research the issue.  In short order, I happened onto the term kernel panic – not exactly the most confidence-inducing term for a desperate soul such as myself.  Basically, kernel panic means your machine keeps restarting for no obvious reason, often accompanied by various warning messages like, “You need to restart your computer.”  What to do?  In 90% of cases, software conflicts are to blame.  Key suspects include:

Not enough RAM or lack of hard drive space
Outdated drivers or plugins
Broken disk permissions
Conflicting apps
Hardware issues and incompatible peripherals

As I weighed my options, I employed the 80/20 Rule thinking tool from Situation Expert, asking the question, “Which aspect of the problem or solution causes the greatest consequences or results?”  Usually, 20% of the problem or solution causes 80% of the consequence or results, allowing me to focus on the right things.  The culprit?  I needed to reset my PRAM (memory that holds the core setting information for my machine) so everything under the hood would play nice again.  All told a five-minute fix.

That simple fix sure beats reinstalling the operating system!  Or picking up parts flung from an upstairs window.


Jonathan Workman

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”

Vignettes Learning Workshops
1. Developing Critical Thinking for Modern Learners
2. Microlearning for Disruptive Results
3. Instructional and Experience Design for Workflow Learning
4. The Masterful Virtual Trainer Online Workshop
5. Hyper Story-Based eLearning Design Workshop
6. Training Frontline Leaders as Learning Accelerators
7. HYBRID Remote and Hands-on Training
8. Advanced Skills in Webinars