Mac OS X 10.4.4 (#4): Fix for memory not being recognized; Kernel panics caused by USB devices; Third-party apps; more

Mac OS X 10.4.4 (#4): Fix for memory not being recognized; Kernel panics caused by USB devices; Third-party apps; more


Fix for memory not being recognized We previously reported an issue where some memory slots (particularly the lower RAM slot on PowerBook G4s) are not recognized after the Mac OS X 10.4.4 update.

This is a common occurrence with various incremental Mac OS X updates, which can be more picky about RAM than their predecessors.

As noted in our previous coverage of this issue, the problem may be resultant of a latent logic board problem merely exposed by the Mac OS X update.

In some cases, the RAM is simply seated improperly. Removing the module, and re-installing it, making sure the connection is tight, has resulted in the previously disabled module working again for several readers.

Some users are not aware of the issue until they check the "About This Mac" pane accessible via the Apple menu or experience significant slow-down in a particular application

In other cases, performing a set of open firmware reset routines can result in the memory being properly recognized again.

To boot into Open Firmware, shut down your Mac, then start it up while holding down the Command, Option, O and F keys. At the prompt, enter the following commands (you may want to write them down on a piece of paper before beginning this process), pressing the return key after each:

  • reset-nvram
  • set-defaults
  • reset-all

after which your Mac will restart.

One reader who had success with this method writes:

"I just bought a quad G5 and put four 1GB sticks of ram in and only half of it was recognized. I tried everything one would normally do such as re-seating and even reordering but nothing worked until I did the Open Firmware resets. "

Kernel panics caused by USB devices 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.

Changing Active Directory passwords One MacFixIt reader reports problems changing Active Directory passwords (for accessing Windows machines) after the update to Mac OS X 10.4.4 -- an issue for which we are seeking confirmation.

The reader writes:

"I just updated to Mac OS X 10.4.4 and have run into an issue. I'm not sure if it's unique to me or a bug in Mac OS X 10.4.4. Up until Mac OS X 10.4.4 all releases of Tiger have allowed the user to change their password in our Active Directory network. All of our Macs are bound to our Active Directory and logins are validated through our domain controller." crashes Several users report increased frequency of crashes with under Mac OS X 10.4.4.

If you're having repeated crash problems in, a specific message may be causing the problem. Try holding the Shift key down while launching This will cause the application to refrain from automatically opening the message that crashed it in the first place, and allow you to delete the offending message from within

The problem might also be caused by iDisk.

.Mac's iDisk has been notorious for causing delays in various applications, in some cases due to network lag when accessing Open/Save dialog boxes.

MacFixIt reader Randy reports an issue with that was resolved by temporarily unmounting his iDisk:

"After upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4.4, I noticed that when my iDisk was syncing, I was unable to use Mail. I would launch mail and as soon as I selected a folder or menu item, Mail would quit.

"I restarted my G4/Mirror in Safe mode with the same results. While in Safe Mode, I turned off iDisk synching from the .Mac System Preference and restarted my Mac normally. Mail worked fine. The only anomaly was that one of my local mail folders displayed no messages when I knew that there were around 350 messages in that folder. After rebuilding the folder (select the folder than under the Mailbox menu select rebuild), everything was fine."

Volume key issues may be caused by keyboard settings We previously reported on an issue where volume can no longer be controlled from the keyboard after the application of Mac OS X 10.4.4.

It now appears that this problem may be caused, in some cases, by an inadvertent change in the keyboard setting, which can be restored to its proper configuration in the "International" pane of System Preferences under the "Input Menu" tab.

MacFixIt reader Daniel Crowley writes:

"I live in Ireland and use the Irish keyboard in International settings. When using this keyboard the volume keys do no work nor do the shortcut keys in Adobe applications. If I switch to the US keyboard then both the volume keys and the shortcut keys work again. The problem is that the machine keeps switching keyboards for no apparent reason. This only happens on my iBook and not on my iMac G5 both of which run identical systems."

Problems with Software Update Some users have reported issues with Software Update after the Mac OS X 10.4.4 update.

MacFixIt reader Edward McShane writes:

"Apparently I didn't wait long enough because after running the updater and, seemingly, getting cleanly through the update process, now the Software Update itself no longer works.

"I get a dialogue stating: "A networking error has occurred: bad server response (-1011)." Of course, running the "Network Diagnostics" program indicates all is normal. I am connected to the internet by satellite through Built-in Ethernet."

For various solutions to this problem, see our tutorial "When Software Update Won't Work (System cannot see or install updates)"

Increased FireWire interference On numerous occasions we've explored issues related to FireWire interference -- usually where the iPod and iSight refuse to cooperate in a friendly fashion.

MacFixIt reader David McDonough reports that, in his case, the increased FireWire interference sensitivity started to occur under Mac OS X 10.4.4:

"There have been a number of reports of problems with the iPod after updating to Mac OS X 10.4.4 and installing the iPod update 2006-01-10. I experienced the problem with the iPod freezing part way into an iTunes update causing the iPod to lock up completely. (mine is a 3G by the way). [...] Checking my Firewire status in System profiler I found that my old Firewire iSight was connected but was listed as an 'unknown device'.

"Disconnecting the iSight and reconnecting resulted in the Mac recognizing it as an iSight but if I restart the computer the iSight is again unrecognized and I need to disconnect and reconnect. [...] When the iSight is plugged in the iPod runs extremely slowly. The iSight appears to be using a huge amount of bandwidth or causing some sort of interference. This is I emphasis with it plugged in and 'on' with the iris open, but not in use by any application (except that the updater reports that it is in use). The instant I pull the iSight out the iPod update accelerates dramatically and doesn't freeze. "

For more information on the interference phenomenon, see our tutorial: "Minimizing FireWire (iPod, iSight) interference."

Problems with installer packages Some users experience problems launching installer packages under Mac OS X 10.4.4. This problem may actually be related to an issue with .mpkg files.

As such, you may want to try using a utility like Pacifist to force an installation of the software.

One you have downloaded and launched Pacifist, click the "Open Package" button, then locate and open the iLife installation .mpkg file. Click the lock and enter your administrator password, then click the "Install" button.

Third-party applications

GIMP issues -- solution Readers have reported issues with some X11 applications, particularly the excellent GIMP image editor, which was recently updated as a Universal Binary.

MacFixIt reader Rayner Cheung writes:

"I upgraded to OS 10.4.4 yesterday and it seemed to be working fine ... until I wanted to launch the X Windows image manipulation program gimp (v. 2.2.8, latest). This X Windows application now won't launch at all, although X11 seems to launch fine, while both worked fine in OS 10.4.3. Tried an earlier version of gimp (2.2.6), but the result was the same. The launch-progress window for gimp shows up on screen, but remains blank. The application won't force quit from the Dock, while Activity Monitor shows the application using 90+% of the CPU."

Mat Caughron of the MacGIMP project tells MacFixIt:

"We've had a small number of issues pop up, so holding off on the official release of MacGIMP 2.2.8 until they've all been tracked down. I can confirm that it is indeed working for some users, so what we're doing obviously at this point is trying to isolate the issues at hand.

One thing that might be helpful is moving the preferences file like so:

mv ~/.gimp-2.2 ~/gimp-settings-backup [Ed.- Enter this command in the Terminal]

"This forces MacGIMP to rebuild preferences. More later as we get this release nailed down."

Update to latest version of PithHelmet Versions of PithHelmet prior to 2.6.4 are not compatible with Safari 2.0.3, which ships with Mac OS X 10.4.4. Update to the latest release for proper operation.

ATI Remote Wonder Some users report issues with ATI's Remote Wonder after the Mac OS X 10.4.4 update.

One reader writs:

"After updating to Mac OS X 10.4.4 my little ATI 'Remote Wonder' - which came with Eye-TV is no more functioning. I have tried to clear everything and reinstall from CD (Version 1.0 ex 2003) - impossible, cleared everything again and tried to install the new ATI driver 2.01 - impossible. The installation of these drivers fail, now I have no Remote Control for my Eye-TV. "

TurboTax One reader writes:

"After installing the Mac OS X 10.4.4 update thru software update I notice Turbo Tax no longer works it crashes on opening or using the one click update. Has anybody else reported this problem with any possible solutions. I emailed Intuit and have not received any response yet."

Photoshop Elements Marty G. reports issues with Photoshop Elements:

"I upgraded to Tiger 10.4.4. When using Photoshop Elements 3 after scanning a doc. and saving as the program quits every time on my Powermac G5. On my iBook G4 when opening as it starts to read the Prefs. it quits. I went back to 10.4.3 and no more problems. They both work as usual."

Retrospect Julian Smith writes:

"Since upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4.4, I'm unable to complete a backup with Retrospect. About ten minutes into the Duplication process Retrospect tells me that my startup disk is nearly full, when in fact it has 209 GB of free space."

If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned issues, please drop us a line at

Previous coverage:

  • previous coverage
  • Cocktail
  • Tiger Cache Cleaner
  • confirmation
  • delays
  • "When Software Update Won't Work (System cannot see or install updates)"
  • "Minimizing FireWire (iPod, iSight) interference."
  • Pacifist
  • 2.6.4
  • release
  • Mac OS X 10.4.4 (#3): Soun...
  • Mac OS X 10.4.4 (#2): Upgr...
  • Apple releases Mac OS X 10...
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