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You’re working away on your laptop when it freezes up and displays a blue screen. Try not to panic (even though you’ve most likely lost hours of work). This error screen doesn’t mean that your computer needs to go to the repair shop per se. What Is a Kernel Panic?

This blue screen is better known as a kernel panic. What is a kernel panic? It’s a normal occurrence that happens when your computer encounters an error.

The operating system panics and goes into a type of recovery mode. The kernel panic can be troubleshot and dealt with.

Check out this guide to learn more about what it is and how you can stop it from occurring.

What is a Kernel Panic?

When your computer encounters an error that would be difficult for it to recover from, it panics and displays the blue screen of death. It’s a little more serious than one of your programs crashing but it doesn’t mean that you need to trash your computer.

It shuts itself down to stop complete system failure. Error codes are then sent out.

These codes display what happened that made your operating system shut down. Your computer will restart when it’s safe to do so again.

What Does it Look Like?

Kernel panic looks different on every single operating system. On Windows, the entire screen will turn blue and tell you that it needs to restart.

On older Mac systems, the computer will turn off all of a sudden and display a short message telling you that it had to restart. On newer systems, the screen fades to black before displaying the message.

On Linux systems, the computer won’t shut down unless a full kernel panic happens. When this occurs, your computer will blank out and display a varying degree of code.

How to Stop a Kernel Panic?

Not sure how to stop kernel panic? The answer is you can’t. Once it happens, all you can really do is restart your computer and hope to recover as much of your work as possible once it turns back on.

When your computer turns back on, you’ll have the option to send an error report to the developers. The developers won’t reach out to you to fix the problem but this report will help them sort out the problems and avoid them in their future systems.


When your computer goes into kernel panic, that doesn’t mean that it’s breaking down on you. If it’s happening so often that you can’t make progress with your work, however, it may be time for you to do a little troubleshooting to get to the bottom of it.

Look at the RAM

Upgrading your RAM can help your computer run better, however, it can also cause a kernel panic. Open up your computer and make sure that your RAM is nice and secure.

If you still have problems after that, remove the RAM and put the old one back in. If your computer runs without an issue, you know that your new RAM is faulty.

Check Your Add-Ons

Installing large add-ons such as printers and scanners can result in a kernel panic. These aren’t the only devices that can cause a problem.

Even a small add-on like a flash drive can cause an issue if left unchecked. This is especially true if you don’t eject the device before you pull it out.

Disk Errors

All computers come with some kind of basic disk repair software that’s built into the system. When you start up this software it will run diagnostics.

Sometimes when you run the diagnostic your computer will crash. If this happens, you’ll have to either boot it from your Recovery partition or from an outside device such as a flash drive.

Software Problems

Hardware malfunctions aren’t the only thing that will send your computer into kernel panic mode. Sometimes the software you’re running in the background will cause the issue.

Startup Programs

Check to make sure that all of your programs are up to date. If they are, isolate the software you downloaded right before you started to experience the kernel panic error.

Uninstall these programs and then reinstall them one at a time until you’re able to single out the culprit.

Update Your System

If you’re still running the old version of your operating system, that will make a kernel panic occur. So, if your computer has been prompting you to update for a while, go ahead and let download.

If you’re using a beta version of the latest software, that could be the root of your problem as well.

System Restore

If you’ve made a lot of changes to your system, one of those changes could have been what prompted the kernel panic.

You could go through and try to isolate the issue or you can run a system restore to put your computer back to the way it was before your issue started.

Putting an End to Kernel Panic

What is a kernel panic? It’s an issue that occurs when your computer encounters a fatal problem. The system shuts itself down until it’s safe to restart and boot up once more.

While it is annoying, it doesn’t mean that your computer is dying. There’s no reason to panic yourself unless the problem begins to get in the way of your work. If that happens, try out one of the troubleshooting steps we’ve highlighted here today.

Computers are fickle creatures. When yours begins to act up, check out our blog for even more troubleshooting advice.

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Jakaria Farhan

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