AirPort Extreme: Computer Doesn‘t Start After Installing Card

Learn what to do if your computer doesn't start up normally after you install an AirPort Extreme Card.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

After installing an AirPort Extreme card, the computer starts up into an unresponsive state known as a kernel panic. A message says to restart your computer, and it appears in several languages. In rare cases you might see lines of code-like text. To learn more about kernel panics, see technical document 106227, "Mac OS X: What Is a Kernel Panic?"


This can happen if the AirPort software on your computer is too old to be used with your AirPort Extreme Card. To resolve the issue, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Remove the AirPort Extreme Card.
  3. Restart the computer. It should start normally but may take a moment longer to check the disk.
  4. Optional: Connect the computer to the Internet using wired Ethernet or a dial-up modem.
  5. Update your software (this step may be done over an Internet connection or from software Installation CDs, if you have the right versions).

The following sections can help you with steps 4 and 5.

Connecting to the Internet

If you are going to update by downloading software, you need to connect a phone line or Ethernet cable to the computer. To use a phone line, you must have access to a dial-up Internet service provider account. Ethernet is used for broadband modems (such as cable and DSL) or when you are on an institutional network. If you have an AirPort Base Station, temporarily transfer its Ethernet or phone line to the computer.

Tip: Any time you move a broadband modem's Ethernet cable between a computer and a base station, you should unplug the modem's power source for a few seconds to ensure that it will recognize the newly-connected device. Many modems require this "reset" step when connecting to a different device. After you have updated your software and reconnected the Ethernet cable to your AirPort Base Station, you need to power cycle the modem again.

If you have Mac OS X 10.3 and need help connecting to the Internet, click the Assist Me button in the Network preference pane.

If you have Mac OS X 10.2.8 or earlier and need help connecting, see Mac OS X Internet and Networking Topics.

Updating Software

Method 1: Use Software Update

When you are connected to the Interenet, use the Software Update feature to ensure that you get the latest software versions.

Tip: Sometimes you have to update your Mac OS X software before you can use the latest AirPort software. For example: AirPort software version 3.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later.

Follow these steps:

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. From the View menu, choose Software Update.
  3. Click the Update Now button.
  4. Select any available AirPort or Mac OS X update, and follow the prompts to install them.

    Note:Because some updates are prerequisites for others, you may have to repeat steps 1 through 5 to be sure you have all relevant updates.

  5. Restart the computer, and wait for the restart to finish.
  6. Shut down the computer.
  7. Reinstall the AirPort Extreme Card.

Method 2: Use the in-box AirPort Installation Disc

Your AirPort Extreme Card should come with a software installation disc. You may install software from this disc rather than connecting to the Internet via wire. However, this does not guarantee the latest software version. If you reinstall the AirPort Extreme Card after using the CD and find that the issue still occurs, then you should follow Method 1.

Important: When reinstalling the AirPort Extreme card, be sure that it is inserted in the correct direction and fully seated. The issue may occur if the card is upside down or partially seated.
Published Date: Oct 11, 2016