Catalina 10.15.6 is prone to kernel panics from a memory leak nightmare

Started by Rob Blessin Black Hole, September 19, 2020, 01:58:03 AM

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Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello NeXT Community: I spent most of Thursday and Friday trying to figure out what happened to my Mac Mini . What a nightmare this has been , one minute I'm working, the systems freezes not even activity monitor was responsive then the system went dark. When it rebooted,  I was being greeted by a flashing folder with a question mark , this is not good. Usually the Mac is rock solid a few quirks now and then but nothing ever like this , what the heck are the coders doing here ?  I'm livid , so proceed to doing research , thinking my drive just crashed , oh man I thought when was the last back up

. Holding the command key and r right after the chime for a really long long time , took me awhile to figure this out, brought me to disk utility , thank God a glimmer of hope.

In disk utility  first aid repair checked, volumes and containers and drive checked out , more puzzling , so I let it continue to boot , it seemed to hang and hang and hang, the graphics were not helping

so I thought can you boot MAC OS into verbose mode..... after hours and hours , so yes is the answer command - v , takes you to verbose mode ....
Text flying by and then

 it was hanging for an extremely long time , I looked at the code messages and dropped into google on my phone and found out I am not alone an article below shows what is happening.

So when you are running virtual software like vmware and virtual box and I'm not sure if Previous would cause this but with the latest version of Catalina a memory leak is the culprit which leads to a kernel panic and hoses a bunch of boot files . No joke .

My Mac mini is at my buddies at Don't Panic IT , I started to disassemble it , blew out some dust and was going to inspect the drive cable as we had upgraded to an ssd to see if it had come loose.

 I stopped when I knew I didn't have the right tools , these guys at don't panic  do it in their sleep lol

 I'm great with NeXT hardware but holy crap tons of tiny T6 screws, clips, delicate connectors and me with huge fingers not a good fit .

 I had a terabyte drive I had bought and intended to keep up with backups , we how that goes so yeah .

I know all my files are intact as I was able to peruse through them before it bombed again for a few minutes .

 So they are going to clone it by pulling the drive they have a cool tool for cloning drives but could not get to it until next week and I'm slammed worst possible time this could happen.

I made a decision and went a bought a new Mac Mini 2018 , hey this one lets me upgrade the ram to 64gb and have an external graphics box ..... of course all of the ports had changed , none of my Apple Cinema displays had the correct connectors nor did the dell 30" monitor , so back to best buy I bought a nice Samsung 32" 4K monitor and connected to hdmi.  I'm happy with it although I almost locked myself out of this forum , passwords saved out the wazoo but all on that bloody drive.
I'll have the old Mac Mini in my master bedroom which will be nice as my roommate Lisa sometimes refuses to get off the computer , it solves that issue as well.

So I guess the moral is make backups , I'm to stingy and don't trust the cloud to pay a subscription fee to Apple.

I hope this helps someone avoid this or that has experienced this and did not know what was happening and am hoping Previous won't cause this.... article below .  The virtual machine has to running in the background , in my case I sometimes have 2 of them makes it easy to copy files , create custom installs and Im thinking even this leak is not going to take down 64gb of ram ...Mini 2018 only has 8 now and other mini late 2014 was frozen at 4gb unupgradable soldered to the board , I'm glad apple changed that in this design.  It has also become cheap to do it.
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected]
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93


Sorry to hear about your experience Rob.

Apple has since issued a patch that addresses this issue.  Do you have all the latest updates installed?  If your machine is acting up during boot it sounds unlikely that it would be this issue...


FYI you can make a Mac boot in verbose mode all the time by hopping into a terminal and running
sudo nvram boot-args="-v"
I always do that practically first thing on a new Mac.  It makes the boot process more interesting to watch, and when you run into troubles, the information to help you out is often right there.

Also, if you boot a Retina Mac this way, it really shows off how tiny tiny those pixels are.  :D

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello Trexky: I think part of the issue was yes it was also installing updates . Does Mac OS have a usr adm messages or a copy of the logs ? Usually it produces a crash report and this case it did not as I say I have never experienced anything like this on Mac OS . This way I'll be able to show where it was hanging , I want to find out the root cause of it . Hey I'm Always learning and the verbose mode tip thanks Theta is cool , much more interesting than graphic mode :) I want to see if the "patch" was installed and actually worked.
I'm also running a. App called little snitch lol , it is supposed to block this pesky pop ups mainly Adobe from asking to update my old cs6  software I bought awhile back, To the Monthly subscription model , it is a pain I don't want to do that and I've found alternatives to photoshop Like gimp and dream weaver like kimono that work in some cases better for free. Little snitch appears in the boot scripts And want to make sure it is not throwing a monkey wrench into the works.
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected]
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93


Hey Rob, you can use Console app to view, sort and filter all logs on OS X.  Did you run hardware diagnostics?  In my experience the most likely source of panics on recent OS X would be either a rogue / misbehaving kernel extension or hardware itself.  RAM is always a potential culprit - you can run memtest86 from a USB stick to extensively test it.

What I would do is the following:

  • Remove your good drive with data and store in safe place
  • Install another empty drive
  • Install a fresh copy of OSX
  • Use for a while to see if it is stable - if it still crashes then it's the hardware

A good free tool for hardware stability testing is Prime95.  You can run it overnight on all CPU cores using all available RAM.  It will put a lot of heat into the computer and it will exercise the CPU and memory subsystem really well.

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello T-rexky: Thank you , I will do exactly that asit makes sense to isolate the hardware. If it is the ram ; Apple soldered the ram to the logic board so I'm assuming I would need to replace the logic board but it may make more sense to just find a good used one not 2014.  I' don't understand why Apple made a computer where you were unable to upgrade the ram after factory , other than greed lol as Apple makes a small fortune off of ram . My experience has been buying 3rd party ram and ssd saves a lot on Apple hardware.

I like that they have listened to their customers and made the latest rev's of Mac Pro's and Mini's so you can upgrade them.

I think I'm going to buy an I Watch 6 as it looks amazing and don't get me wrong i do really appreciate the quality of Apple products , it is well worth the premium overall as for the most part everything is rock solid but the software seems glitchy as of late.
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected]
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93


Let's hope it is not the hardware.  Were you able to do a clean install?

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello T-rexky: So they are making a clone image as we speak , they pulled the drive so once that is done we should be able to troubleshoot it and I will have alll my stuff backed up :)

So I bought a 2018 Mac Mini to keep the business online as I've found it is good to have redundancy "a hot spare" and I'll move the old Mini reapiring to the upstairs office. Solves a couple issues for me a peaceful work area, if needed and when Lisa my roommate is on it and refuses to yield way I'm good lol.

2 things I would like to do with the new Mac Mini

 1) upgrade the ssd from 500gb to a Terrabyte or better . It looks like even 2 Terrabyte drives are within reason.
Does anyone have any recommendations on a good ssd Terrabyte or better and conversely ones to avoid?

2) I'm also going to max out the ram to 64Gb  2 *32Gb 2666Mhz Any recommendations on ram , I was thinking Crucial or Viking good success in the past.... your help / advice is sincerely appreciated.

Best Regards Rob Blessin
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected]
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93


Hey Rob, I'm curious how the troubleshooting has progressed.

For SSDs, if price is of primary concern, I had good experience with the Crucial MX500 SATA drives in non-current Macs.  But the 2018 internal SSD is soldered-on and not upgradeable.  So you are limited to external storage.

I also have been recently getting Crucial RAM.  They (Micron) make the silicon, the chips, the DIMMS & the programming.  If you get the Mac validated RAM it's guaranteed to work flawlessly.  And the price is right as well, especially here in Canada.

I have no experience with OWC SSDs and RAM, but many people swear by them.  A bit too expensive right now to import them here.

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello NeXT Community: So attempts to clone the drive were unsuccessful with a duplicator as it would not see the formatting on the ssd. So I took it over to my friend Sam at Edge Computing ,they specialize in DATA recovery. I thought about giving it a go with drill down software but I figure I have one good shot at this so leaving it to the experts is best. He will give me a fair price as well , heck I did not realize new ssd terabyte drives are $60 and the data recovery at worst will be $500 but more likely half that :).

The new 2018 Mac Mini , I bought Crucial Memory and verified it is compatible 64GB was $309 . I found a nice youttube video and watched it , they make the 2018 mini easy to work on 6 T6 Screws and unplug the wifi wire.
2 more screws on the logic board, 2 fan and shroud slid it out , a data cable and another connector .... then the whole logic board assembly slides out.  a few more screws on the ram cage remove it,  un clip the old ram install the new reassemble . I bought a nice tool kit with everything I need for $18 on eBay to make it easy.
Simply install the new ram , reassemble and power up and I'll follow the video while doing this .... :) So it saves me $100 in labor for a ~1/2 hour task, I'll take my time and probably upgrade to a larger ssd while I'm at it.

The Late 2014 Mac Mini was not designed to be easily upgrade or work on. Example soldering the ram to the logic board on the 2014, more screws than necessary and tricky location and fragile ribbon cables , ridiculous however you can upgrade to an ssd card which I had done a few years back.  So if it is a bad logic board I'll probably try and find a 2014 mini that has 16Gb of ram on it looks like I can pick up refurbished I7, 3.0 ghz 16Gb for $300 to $400 with warranty.
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected]
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93

Rob Blessin Black Hole

In closure , it took some doing but all data was recovered from my original ssd and I successfully migrated everything to my new Mac Mini . I also used the new tool kit to perform the 64Gb ram upgrade myself after watching several youtube videos , it made it so I can handle it.
I like compartmentalizing the screws with steps as they are all tiny screws lol.
So setting them in order of step makes it easy to retrace the steps .
the only real challenge was the tiny connectors themselves and I took care to remove them as guided by the videos. Only one tiny ribbon connector gave me trouble, when reconnecting it .... flipping 180 degrees it oriented it correctly nd it popped right into place.
I learned lomg ago that if you have to force something assembling a computer , take a step back as something is usually misaligned causing the problem.
Long story short,  I have a fully functional back up Mac Mini with a new ssd Terrabyte drive all my old stuff migrated and 4gb of ram , which you can not upgrade unfortunately and a new Macmini upgrade 64Gb , it is very fast I like it looking at actvity monitor no memory pressure running multiple apps and webmail memory hog , so Im back in the saddle with backup and an easy way to make backups..
Now I'm happily back to all the NeXT projects on deck with the side tools I need back in place to continue to be successful.
I bought a lot of 17, yes 17 Jaz disks off eBay  ; note to self make sure they say tested and formatted , I sent them back for refund lesson learned , none of them would initialise or format , the seller new it lol and refunded the $49 . If even one had worked I would have been OK,  at any rate I found another listing tested and formated on the way.... we shall see.

****** I discovered an issue welll documented with the 2018 mac MINI and it is verifed , it runs hot to the point where it will shut down :)  So I solved by downloading a free utility called Mac Fan Control which monitors the temperature and you can custom set the fan to kick in why this not part of the actualy utility package is kind of baffling as I read Mac Book Pros also have the same issue.

Otherwise I'm happy with the performance they included  a free year of Apple TV so I hooked it up through mirroring to my Sony Bravia but it unfortunately doesn't synch with Apple TV everything else works . May just be aconfiguration issue. I may now just buy an Apple TV as they are fairly cheap.

Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected]
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93