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Mac OS X: How to log a kernel panic

Learn how to gather information about a kernel panic.

Log file locations

Mac OS X v10.5 and later

If a kernel panic occurs, information is added to a log file in the folder /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports (Mac OS X v10.6), or /Library/Logs/PanicReporter (Mac OS X v10.5).  

The name of each log file in this location includes the date and time when the kernel panic was logged.

Mac OS X 10.2 to 10.4.11

If a kernel panic occurs, information is added to a log file named "panic.log" in the folder /Library/Logs/ .


Gathering information about the Mac

You can gather most of the following information from System Profiler and the About This Mac window when the Mac is operating normally:

  • Computer name or model number, including processor and processor speed. For example: iMac, 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Information about the hard drive volume that is the startup disk. This should include the bus type (ATA, SCSI, or FireWire), bus number, device number, and volume format. Volume formats include Mac OS Standard (HFS), Mac OS Extended (HFS Plus), and UNIX File System (UFS).
  • The amount of physical memory (RAM) in the computer.
  • Information about any third-party hardware that has been added to the computer (which may have been removed during troubleshooting). This includes video cards, PCI or PC cards, additional drives, and any other hardware that did not come with the computer.


Document the situation


Were you installing Mac OS X, running a third-party application, using the Internet, or restarting after the installation of new hardware such as RAM or an external third-party device, for example? If you know the exact steps to reproduce a kernel panic, be sure to record them.

Also, please note whether or not the issue occurs when you start up in Safe Mode.


Providing the information to Apple


If you record a kernel panic, you can post this information to Apple Discussions. Please include detailed hardware configuration information in your post. You may do this by copying and pasting information from a System Profiler report into your post. Please also include any reproducible steps that lead to this message. Apple cannot respond to all postings.

If you photographed the kernel panic message instead of writing it down, please transcribe the text of the message in your Discussions post. If you are experiencing frequent kernel panic situations, consider contacting Apple Support by phone.

Additional Information

See also: If “You need to restart your computer” appears.

Last Modified: Jun 6, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Jun 6, 2012
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