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Kernel Panic not syncing: Quick Fix

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  • 4 min read

UNIX-based systems can sometimes be hard to troubleshoot, especially if the problem doesn’t let your system reach the GUI. Now there are a lot of things that can go wrong during a computer’s boot process, but the kernel not loading is perhaps the most troublesome. 

In this article, we’re taking a look at the kernel panic not syncing error in Linux and macOS systems, its causes and what you can do to fix the problem.

What causes this error?

There are a number of reasons why you might see kernel panic errors. Some common causes include:

  • Insufficient disk space.
  • Incompatible kernel version.
  • The kernel or system package wasn’t fully installed during an update. 
  • Missing initrd or initramfs file from the boot directory or the updated kernel configuration post-update.
  • Incompletely installed kernel or system packages due to insufficient space during an update. 

Also read: What does ./ mean in Linux?

How to fix this on Linux?

If you’re using Linux, try these two fixes.

Free up some space

The most obvious solution to the problem is to free up some space on your boot partition or drive to give the operating system some breathing space and install any missing dependencies. 

Alternatively, if you’ve just updated your OS, try removing the old kernel to free up some space. Here’s how.

Step 1: Boot into grub and select Advanced options.

Step 2: Log in with your credentials and run the df command. Check if the /boot directory is completely full or not.

Step 3: Remove the old Linux kernel by using the following command.

sudo apt-get autoremove

Now restart your PC and you should be able to boot without errors. 

Use a live CD/USB

If the aforementioned fix doesn’t work or creating space on the boot drive isn’t getting your OS started, chances are you’ve missed a critical system package or part of the kernel out due to insufficient space. This can be fixed by reinstalling the required parts or the entire core file package for the OS using a live CD or USB drive. 

Also read: How to fix Windows 2000 runtime error?

How to fix this on macOS?

If you’re facing the error on macOS, the solutions are a bit different. Try out these three fixes. 

Check your hardware

The first thing you should do is check to see if your hardware peripherals are causing a problem. You can do this by shutting down your mac and removing all hardware peripherals before rebooting. If the system boots fine, plug the devices once to single out the faulty peripheral.

Try Safe Mode

Another thing you can try is rebooting your Mac in safe mode to see if a software component is causing problems. Safe mode only loads up the core files required for the OS to boot and isolates all other software. 

All you have to do is hold down the Shift key when rebooting your Mac and select Safe Mode from the list of option that appears. If your computer boots fine, chances are a third-party program you recently installed is causing problems.

Update your programs or apps

Updating your programs without being able to access the GUI can be challenging, but luckily the default macOS package manager, homebrew, can update any outdated programs from the command line. You can update existing packages using the following command.

brew update

Also read: How to fix ‘Sudo command not found’ error on Linux?


Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: