In many cases, errant USB devices can cause repeated kernel panics. A new batch of these conflicts appears to have cropped up under Mac OS X 10.4.4 -- typical with iterative Mac OS X releases.
One reader writes:
"When I plug in my USB mouse to either USB 2.0 port on the PowerBook, the mouse may work for a little while and stop working. I can use the mouse pad on the PowerBook. Shortly after removing the wireless USB connector from the USB port, Mac OS X goes in to a Kernel Panic. A few times Mac OS X has just locked up and I have to hold down the power button to power cycle the PowerBook.
"After restarting the PowerBook (warm boot) if I do not connect the wireless USB adapter to a USB port, I can continue using Mac OS X using the trackpad mouse. If I do plug in the wireless USB connector, the mouse will not work and shortly after removing the USB adapter Mac OS X will show a Kernel Panic."
If you are experiencing this issue, you may also find (using the Activity Monitor, located in Applications/Utilities) that the process kernel_task exhibits inordinately high processor usage.
Aside from the obvious solution of simply disconnecting the offending USB device, you may want to try resetting NVRAM via the following process:
Hold down the Command, Option, O and F keys at startup. When the prompt appears, type:
- reset-nvram (then press return)
- reset-all (then press return)
You may also want to doing a deep clean of system caches with a tool like Cocktail or Tiger Cache Cleaner. Doing so has been known to restore connectivity with, and eliminate problems caused by problematic USB devices and potentially corrupt kernel extension caches.
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