September 24th, 2012 • 3:20 pm
Last week, I wrote about the fact that I was experiencing almost daily kernel panics since I had started using early builds of the Mac OS X 10.8.2 update. These kernel panics are still there for me in the official Mac OS X 10.8.2 release, i.e. build 12C54.
Some people enjoying playing a game of “blaming the user”. Personally, I prefer devoting my time and energy to trying to find solutions. While nothing is ever 100% certain until one has explored all possible scenarios (which can be a very time-consuming process), I usually rely on a mix of experience and intuition to narrow things down and find the most direct route to a solution.
This has worked pretty well for me over the years, and it looks like it has enabled me to find a solution to this particular problem as well.
As I said in my original post, I had strong reasons to suspect that the problem was due to an updated driver for my computer’s graphics cards, which are two GeForce GT 120 cards feeding two 30″ Apple Cinema monitors. Other reports online seemed to corroborate this theory.
So I decided to explore things further, by examining the contents of the System/Library/Extensions/ folder on my startup volume, which contains a large number of .kext files, including all kinds of drivers.
And sure enough, when I compared the files on my 10.8.2 volume to the files on a separate 10.8.1 volume, I saw that the file called “IOGraphicsFamily.kext” in particular had changed. In 10.8.1, it was version 2.3.4, with a last modified date of August 1, 2012. In 10.8.2, it was version 2.3.5, with a last modified of September 20, 2012.
Since I am a bit adventurous (but not too much), I decided I wouldn’t risk too much by trying to replace the 2.3.5 version with the 2.3.4 version. The worst that could happen is that it would make my system unbootable, and then I would have to put the 2.3.5 back in place and forget about this solution.
Of course, since these are system files that we are talking about here, I anticipated that there would be issues related to permissions, and sure enough, when I copied the 2.3.4 file from my separate volume to the appropriate location on my startup volume, it didn’t have the right owner/permissions. Since I am not all that comfortable with Terminal-based commands, I just ran the “Repair Permissions” command in Disk Utility on my startup volume, and it fixed that particular ownership/permissions issue, along with a slew of other, unrelated issues.
Then I rebooted and… everything has been running smoothly since then. It’s now been four days, and I haven’t had a single kernel panic. I don’t appear to have any graphics-related issues in 10.8.2.
The solution is a hack, but until Apple releases an official fix (which could take a while), it might help other affected people eliminate their kernel panics.
I will post an update if there are other developments.