There is a thing I never heard of called “kernal panic.” This is a term to describe a sudden, terrifying system failure that can happen to a Mac. We’ve all heard of the “blue screen of death.” Well, this is the Mac version, also known as the “black screen of death” and yesterday, I experienced it first hand, and I have to say, it was way more dramatic that what happens to a PC when it crashes.
I had just begun to work when a semi-transparent gray veil slowly fell over the image. It dropped from the top of the monitor and smoothly scrolled down over the display, like a curtain over a stage. Then the words (in four languages). Here’s an image of what I saw:
A most shocking computer crash! I shut the machine down. Restarted. Blackness. Nothing but blackness. No startup noises, no wiring of the fan, nothing. I ran from my office, banged on the bathroom door (brni was showering) and told him I needed him right away.
Some might think I overreacted, but I have over 7000 image files that I was convinced I’d lost. I hadn’t done a full backup since December, and only one minor backup for the job I’m working on a few days ago. So, this was a majorly HUGE loss.
Thinking back a day later, it’s quite amazing to me how panicked I was. How the breaking of a computer, an appliance, a tool, could cause a reaction akin to a medical emergency or the death of a loved one.
After Brni valiantly tried to perform Mac-CPR on the thing, he declared it thoroughly dead. There was nothing to do but rip the hard drive from it’s gaping belly and run to the Mac store to see if we could salvage my files. An hour later, we were home with a shiny new iMac and this cute little case that looked just like a tiny Mac Pro in which we placed the disembodied hard drive in, basically turning it into an external drive. My files were all there!
So, a warning to all Mac owners: back up on an external drive every day and make portable backups to DVD as often as you need. Oftener even. And, BUY THE 3 YEAR WARRANTY!