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I put my 1 year old iMac (running OSX 10.8.2 with all updates) to sleep in San Diego. I then tried to wake it up from Vegas using my other iMac (same OS) using the following command:

Cmd-K >> "vnc://192.168.1.49" #[running over a VPN]

I've done this sort of thing a million times with no problem but today the San Diego iMac didn't wake up. I sent my I.T. guy to investigate. He said the screen was black, and the machine was unresponsive to keyboard or mouse input. The harddisk was still running. The iMac was hot to the touch (as all iMacs are when they've been awake for an extended period).

He turned the machine off and turned it back on. Everything looked normal. He ran:

Cmd-Space >> "console"

The log was completely full. There were 4,000+ messages, each with the exact same date/time stamp and message. It was as follows:

2/12/13 11:29:29.000 PM kernel[0]: (default pager): [KERNEL]: ps_allocate_cluster - send HI_WAT_ALERT

It's like the machine was trying to wake itself at 11:30pm for some reason. And it failed. Everything appears ok now but this event concerns me. Any remedial action I should take?

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Your kernel panic results from your system trying to wake after sleep. Update both your Apple and 3rd party software to ensure you have the latest device drivers, kernel extensions, and apps that work well when awakening from sleep. –  Global nomad Feb 13 '13 at 17:36

1 Answer 1

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An occasional kernel panic is to be expected. If you begin to see this message more and more often, consider basic troubleshooting as per Apple's instructions:

To help diagnose recurring kernel panics, record the date and time it occurs, and any information that appears with the kernel panic message.

Was the computer starting up, shutting down, or performing a particular task when the recurring kernel panic happened? Is the kernel panic intermittent, or does it happen every time you do a certain thing? Does it occur only when a certain external device is connected, or a device is connected to a certain port? Isolate hardware or software as the cause of the kernel panic

Start the Mac from Recovery or its install media. Note: If a kernel panic still occurs, go to the "Hardware troubleshooting" section of this article. Open Disk Utility and use "Repair Disk" on Mac's internal hard drive (named Macintosh HD by default).

Important: If Disk Utility is unable to repair the internal drive, you should bring the Mac to a Genius at an Apple Store, or an Apple Authorized Service Provider for service and support. Be sure to ask that, if the drive needs reformatting or replacing, they contact you about escalating your case to a special data recovery service. If you plan to visit an Apple Retail store, make a reservation at the Genius Bar using http://www.apple.com/retail/geniusbar/ (available in some countries only).

Connect an external drive with at least 10 GB of free space. Note: Make sure the external drive does not cause kernel panics and is the only device on its USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt port. Connecting the external drive and its cables to another Mac can help make sure the drive does not cause kernel panics. Install OS X on the external drive. Start up from the external drive. Install all software updates until Software Update reports your software is up to date. Use the Apple applications on the external drive to surf the web, view QuickTime movies, email, print, scan, and/or other activities. Continue using the Mac for the amount of time it would usually take for the kernel panic to occur. If a panic occurs, go to the "Hardware troubleshooting" section of this article to further diagnose the issue. If a panic does not occur, go to the "Software troubleshooting" section of this article to further diagnose the issue.

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