Hmmm, too hot?

Having done some further research on my kernel panicing iMac I am wondering if it is getting too hot?

I had the hard disk replaced recently under Applecare and there are a few posts on the Apple Discussions Forums that show a few people are having a similar problem to me. Alas there is no simple or easy solution, which is frustrating.

I am now trying to work out what is causing the iMac to work too hard so it gets too hot and it appears that Flash may be part of the problem.

I am not sure what to do next, I think I might see if I can improve the airflow around the iMac, and also if there is a way to force the on board fans to start running at a lower temperature, ie before it gets too hot and then crashes.

Longer term I might replace the hard drive, 1TB is too small anyhow, so I would put in a bigger disk, tempted to put in a small SSD and then replace the DVD-R drive with a traditional hard drive. Might lengthen the life of the iMac for another couple of years. It is an i7 with 8GB of RAM so it is still very powerful.

Blue Screen of Death on a Mac

iMac

I am getting very annoyed with my iMac at the moment. It is on a too regular basis having a kernel panic and freezing.

The symptoms are that though I can still move the mouse cursor, everything else is frozen, can’t click, right click or use the keyboard.

Generally it happens without me doing anything, though it did happen this morning for the first time with me in front of the computer. I was just scrolling through Safari.

The only solution at the moment is to power down and reboot. The Lion OS does then restore all my applications, but sometimes it corrupts the iPhoto library and this has to be rebuilt.

I actually thought it might be a problem with iPhoto or iTunes, but the most recent episode happened when those two applications weren’t running.

I have done a PRAM reset, and that doesn’t appear to have resolved the issue.

It has only been happening since I upgraded to Lion, but it is happening much more now, five times in the last three days, whereas before it was about once a week.

I am not sure if this is a hardware issue or a software issue. Doesn’t help (typically) that the iMac is now just over three years old and is out of AppleCare.

I am not sure where to go next. I am thinking about upgrading to Mountain Lion to see if that makes a difference, or go back to Snow Leopard.

By the way why is the title of the blog “Blue Screen of Death on a Mac” well when I once tried to sleep the Mac and then moved the mouse to wake it, the result was a blue screen!

Blue Screen on an iMac

Not quite one of those days, but nearly…

iMac

Got slightly annoyed with my iMac the other day. Came home from a day out, switched the iMac on and it just stuck there on the grey startup screen with the grey apple and the grey swirly thingymajig!

I was reminded of my iMac problem in May when attempting to upgrade to Lion, my hard drive failed…

I tried to start in safe mode… and that didn’t work.

I did manage to get into recover mode and verify and repair disk permissions.

I did try a few other things and none of them worked… it wasn’t helping that I couldn’t access apple.com through my broadband connection. No idea why that wasn’t working.

The only real option left, according to what I was reading was to reinstall Lion. In theory I could do that with Internet Recovery, however with the ADSL connection I am now on, downloading 4GB of Lion install file reliably wasn’t really an option. I do have the Lion install on a DVD, but even that didn’t work…

In the end I decided that, as I am still covered by Applecare, that I would take it the Genius Bar at my local Apple store; so I made an appointment for the following morning. I then put the iMac into Firewire Target Disk Mode and backed up my important files. Not too bad in some respects as I had done a full backup back in May, and incremental since then, so not too many files to sort out. This time though I did do a backup of the Home Library folder. I forgot to do that last time and lost a few important files as a result as the data was stored there rather than the Documents folder!

The following morning, I needed to drop my car off for a MOT, so after checking the files had backed up, I (for some reason) decided to restart the Mac and leaving the grey swirly thingymajig to swirl I drove off to the garage. Having dropped the car off, grabbed some breakfast and got a lift home, I decided I had better pack the iMac before heading off to the Apple store. I was therefore quite surprised to see that it had booted properly and I could see my desktop. I decided to check that it was working as it should and restarted the system…. it started correctly!

Hmmm, not sure exactly what the initial problem was then. I suspect that there was something that wasn’t working correctly from a software perspective and leaving the Mac to reboot for an hour or so was what it needed to sort itself out. Still a little concerned though.

I cancelled the Genius Bar appointment and have since then put the iMac through its paces without any problems.

The car passed the MOT too…

It was one of those days…

I have been meaning to upgrade my home iMac to Lion for a while now, with the end of MobileMe imminent (end of June) and wanting to use some features of iCloud on my iMac I knew that I would need to make the move.

What was key for me was to ensure that the process was as smooth as possible. The first thing I did was back up all my data files. Though I back up on a regular basis, this process was to ensure that all my photographs, video files and documents were transferred to a backup hard drive. Once this was done, the next stage was to run Disk Utility to repair permissions, that went fine.

So the next stage was to start the Lion install process, and at that point disaster struck!

The install routine failed!

Install failed. Mac OS X could not be installed on your computer. Mac OS X Lion couldn’t be installed, because the disk Macintosh HD is damaged and can’t be repaired. Click restart to restart your computer and try installing again.

Yes, tried again same message.

Ah well, I thought, so I then decided to restart back in OS X Snow Leopard… but the OS X Lion installer wouldn’t let me.

Tried Disk Utility to repair the hard drive with no success.

At this point I was glad I had taken a backup of my data.

After looking at Apple Discussions, I tried to use my Snow Leopard install DVD to fix the drive, however this didn’t work. After a couple of hours of trying to repair the drive using various solutions, I decided that I wasn’t going to be successful trying to do that. So made the plunge and decided to format the drive and reinstall.

However… that didn’t work! I kept getting errors with the OS X install routine failing to install on the drive. In the end I just gave up and using the iPad booked a slot at the Genuis Bar at my local Apple Store.

Taking the iMac to the store went very smoothly, they connected it up to their diagnostic software, confirmed that everything was working as it should, except the hard drive.

As I had taken out Applecare on the iMac, the cost of the replacement hard drive and fixing it would be covered, however it would take between 5-7 days!

Hopefully it will all be sorted by then.

Installed the Lion

I have now installed Mac OS X Lion on the kid’s computer. Well it’s a good test machine and it it goes all wrong, I can just format and reinstall Snow Leopard. It’s an older Core 2 Duo iMac so not state of the art, but still does a great job as a home computer.

The install process was quick and easy and the Mac seems to work just fine.

There are quite a few old apps on there and some now no longer work as they were for my old PowerPC Mac and relied on Rosetta, which isn’t part of Lion and doesn’t work on Lion.

No real problem as I don’t use those apps myself, but something to be aware of if you do use older apps. To find which Rosetta apps are on your system, use System Profiler.

System Profiler > Software > Applications

Select by Kind and look for PowerPC.

These apps won’t work in Lion, do you will either need to find alternative apps or not upgrade!

Though there are some fundamental differences between Snow Leopard and Lion, you can “ignore” much of the changes and have a system that feels and looks more like Snow Leopard than the iOSation of many of the features of Lion.

Having said that I quite like Launchpad and certainly much easier to use than the Applications folder in Finder.

Still not 100% sure if I will install Lion on my main production iMac as I do have a couple of key PowerPC apps that I still use and there aren’t currently Universal or Intel alternatives. Also still have a few concerns about Adobe. What I will do though is install it on an external drive connected to my iMac and by using that on a regular basis I will have a much better idea if I like it or not.