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Kernel Panic Screensaver!

So awhile back I was thinking, “You know what would be funny? A screensaver that fakes a kernel panic!”

For those of you who might never have seen one, a kernel panic is basically the most shocking crash that you can get on a Mac. It’s Apple’s equivalent to the famed Blue Screen of Death.

What a great way to play a prank on someone, or frighten yourself.



So here is the end result, a harmless screensaver that faithfully emulates the horrifying experience of a kernel panic. It comes complete with a misleading Quartz Composer Preview so that the effect is all the more terrifying.

Update: KPSaver is now 64-bit and compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 and above. Legacy users can download the old version here.

Download KPSaver

83 Responses to “Kernel Panic Screensaver!”

  1. rudy Says:

    good job mark, it has fooled EVERYONE at work. One of my co-workers even ran out of the office as i was leaving for lunch to tell me that my machine KP’d.

  2. sean Says:

    What a fantastic idea.
    Now if i can only sneak it onto my colleagues Macs at work ;-)

  3. Ha Ha!! Kernel Panic Screen[saver]! « Expat-Leo’s Wordpress Says:

    [...] Doomlaser » Blog Archive » Kernel Panic Screensaver!: So awhile back I was thinking, “You know what would be funny? A screensaver that fakes a kernel panic!” [...]

  4. OSXDaily Says:

    Very creative and highly entertaining, it’s been featured on OSXDaily.com!

    http://osxdaily.com/2007/04/10/prank-your-friends-with-a-fake-kernel-panic/

  5. annon Says:

    Hi did you ever tryed with a dual screen mac? the main screen is copied to all other screens and the KP is shown on all screens. in real it is only shown on the first (or on laptops on the internal).
    anyway good work, but there is a little bit to improve :-)

  6. Macenstein » Macenstein Archive » The “Kernel Panic” Screensaver: Finally a use for Quartz Composer Says:

    [...] maniacally geeky folks over at Doomlaser have created the single most awesome screensaver since Mr. Sparkle. The Kernel Panic Screensaver [...]

  7. Pachi Says:

    “Heh, that’s just my screensav-OH SHIT.”

  8. sergej Says:

    yeah, creative idea, especially in view of the fact that Mark Russinovich’s famous Windows BSOD screensaver has been around for, what, over a decade? But nevertheless, kudos for getting the job done.

  9. Brian Says:

    Awesome!!!! But on dual screens, it does show on both— when it shouldn’t.

    Other than that, this is brillaint :P

  10. Metaly Says:

    I’m adding you to my RSS based on the awesome domain name alone. Pure genius.

  11. hudsong Says:

    Wow… I even panicked a bit when I knew it was coming.. my music stopped playing and everything! :)

  12. iStammtisch Says:

    Macs können auch mal abstürzen

    Martin vom Apfelblick hat einen coolen Bildschirmschoner gefunden: Er simuliert eine Kernel Panic. Selbst beim Abstürzen machen Macs noch eine elegantere Figur als Windows-PCs…

    Fun Fact: Bei Wikipedia hab ich ein animated gif einer Guru Meditat…

  13. K@ Says:

    why do i only get the first part of scrrensaver?
    it doesnt change from the first bit asking u to turn power of?

  14. TechBlog Says:

    Don’t panic! It’s just a screensaver

    In November, I wrote about a screensaver for Windows PCs that emulates a Blue Screen of Death. And in a wonderful twist, it’s offered up by none other than Microsoft. Of course, the Macintosh has an equivalent to the BSoD…

  15. Kernel Panic Screensaver at thomas fitzgerald.net Says:

    [...] Best prank you could ever play on a mac user! A screensaver that mimics OSX’s hard crash. Superb. [...]

  16. axel s Says:

    a really great job, i love it and my friends will hate that kind of humour… you are on big ideas ;-)

    get on with that ideas!

  17. Rusty Says:

    Thats a great prank, the only question is how do I install it remotely using ssh and then make it the default screen saver and then set the time to have it start in 3 minutes?

  18. danielpunt Says:

    Where can I download with al those lovely colors?

  19. Alex Peck Says:

    Markster, What’s a screensaver? See you Saturday night! U.A.

  20. Chris Says:

    So dso you need a mac for this to work?

  21. frozenflamestudios Says:

    Thanks for the tip, and good job on the screensaver.

  22. William Lower Says:

    Totally cruel.

    I love it!

  23. KPsaver: Pranks are Fun | MacApper Says:

    [...] just came across this little gem of a screensaver that basically emulates what a kernel panic looks like. For those that don’t [...]

  24. pman Says:

    Maby Windows version? :)

    There is a BSOD screen saver taht u can download.

  25. Zib Redlektab Says:

    Awesome idea, wish the dual-screen thing worked properly. Also, I had a problem with the iTunes pausination. It didn’t pause, just lowered the volume to almost nothing, and when I awoke it it came back to normal for a second before dropping out again. I like the idea, but really wish it would actually pause the music before muting, and then restore the volume to the level it was before.

  26. man Says:

    I love it

  27. Day by Day » Blog Archive » Kernel Panic Screensaver Says:

    [...] for debugging instructions. As I was, I stumbled across this odd, and potentially shut down-causing screensaver. As the screensaver it will show the interface for a real kernel panic. Though I don’t want [...]

  28. Scott Says:

    Brilliant!

  29. KPSaver - Get Even With Someone (Only A Screen Saver) Says:

    [...] [...]

  30. thinkdavid Back on the Mac! « Says:

    [...] 6/2 – I installed the Kernel Panic screensaver from Doomlaser for fun. It emulates what happened to me perfectly! I already scared my sister [...]

  31. ?????????????????? Says:

    [...] Doomlaser » Blog Archive » Kernel Panic Screensaver! [...]

  32. lark Says:

    Please help. I am getting this message on my MacBook. How do I get rid of it? thanks much.

  33. Sam Says:

    I’ve been using this for several months and it still makes my heart race every single time I see it come on….

  34. violinist Says:

    Actually, if music is playing when u get a KP, u hear the music cut off, but repeat the last half-second constantly.

    For instance, if an audio file was playing while the machine KPs, you’d hear:

    “This is what happens when an audio file is playing during a kernel panic-ic-ic-ic-ic-ic-ic-ic-ic-ic-ic-ic…”

  35. Alex Celeste Says:

    The screensaver works on my MacBook (I downloaded it when I had an iBook G4), but instead of showing the kernel panic animation over the screen it turns the screen white then shows the animation.

    Just thought you’d like to know about that bug in your very neat screensaver.

  36. Mac OS X Pranks : Zaphu Says:

    [...] you really want to send someone into cardiac arrest download this kernel panic screensaver! For those of you who don’t know, this kernel panic indicator is like the “blue screen [...]

  37. riley Says:

    Thanks! This works like a charm, just tried it on my co-worker – I added it to my list of mac pranks here,

    http://www.zaphu.com/2007/08/22/mac-os-x-pranks/

  38. » Fake ad: iMacs are “Vista-capable” | The Apple Core | ZDNet.com Says:

    [...] will look like on your Mac (or fool your friends and family), you can download Mark Johns’ Kernel Panic Screensaver, posted at his Doomlaser [...]

  39. Fred Says:

    Your screensaver gave me a kernel panic.

  40. Confusing co-workers, family and friends for fun at DamienG Says:

    [...] out Doomlaser’s Kernel Panic Screensaver although be prepared for genuine confusion at their first exposure to an operating system crash [...]

  41. Bildschirmschoner Says:

    Haha. Que lindo! Este salvapantalla se tiene que installar on los mac de los otros. Gracias por tu post!

  42. Screensavers - Best Of | Graphics Says:

    [...] BlueScreen Screen SaverBluescreen is a screen saver that not only authentically mimics a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), but will simulate startup screens seen during a system boot. Available for all Windows versions except Vista. This could be extremely irritating, watch carefully. An analog solution for Mac OS X – Kernel Panic Screensaver. [...]

  43. » Screensavers - Best Of Says:

    [...] BlueScreen Screen SaverBluescreen is a screen saver that not only authentically mimics a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), but will simulate startup screens seen during a system boot. Available for all Windows versions except Vista. This could be extremely irritating, watch carefully. An analog solution for Mac OS X – Kernel Panic Screensaver. [...]

  44. dasfasdf Says:

    this is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Funny Screensaver Says:

    I ran into several scary screen savers but this one tops them all. It scared the sh… out of my boss. And yes, I still have a job :)
    It is extremely funny screen saver after the victim recovers from the shock. As a matter of fact it is not that scary as it is funny, in a sick, very sick way :)

  46. Drew’s Blog » My Mac crashed on me, and I lived to tell about it. Says:

    [...] blue screen of death. But I have now experienced it first hand. Some people even think this is a good joke (and it [...]

  47. David Says:

    How do I install this screensaver?

  48. DAlton White Says:

    Can You make one just like that one for windows? Preferribly Vista
    Or Does anyone know of a file conversion program so I can change it?

  49. Alessandro Says:

    Funny!

  50. Kernel Panic screensaver Says:

    [...] amico mi segnala un simpatico screensaver per OS X: Kernel Panic! Si scarica da qui. Aggiungi a del.icio.us 1 Views ZN utilizza WordPress Revolution v4.1 basato su iTheme di [...]

  51. Jenny Says:

    I downloaded this on both my machines, but then I noticed something. When my iMac actually does KP, the screen goes grayscale. With this screensaver, it just gets like a gray haze, but you can still see all the colors. Just thought I’d mention that. Also, maybe that’s the difference between a KP on OSX Tiger and OSX Leopard. I run both.

  52. El hombre de Visuelle Kommunikation Says:

    Gefällt mir! Muss ich mir mal bei Gelenheit runterladen.

  53. Tony Says:

    What exactly causes a kernel to panic?

  54. peter thomsen Says:

    let the games begin! nice work—thanks.

  55. otheroom Says:

    This reminds me of an application that was floating around in OS 9. When it was run you’d get the little restart dialog window with the bomb making you think your computer crashed. When you rolled the mouse over the dialog to click on the restart button the window would jump away form the mouse. Great fun to put in someone’s startup items ;)

  56. [Mac] Screensaver ala Kernel Panic » Blog Archive » [Mac] Screensaver ala Kernel Panic Says:

    [...] als lustig, deshalb rate ich gerade Mac-Usern mit Herz-Problemen: Bitte nicht diesen Screensaver: Kernel Panic Screensaver! installieren [...]

  57. Spitzen Mac Freeware: Kernel Panic Screensaver » RANDPOP Spitzen Mac Freeware: Kernel Panic Screensaver Says:

    [...] das war eigentlich auch nur eine Frage der Zeit: ‚Kernel Panic Screensaver‚ ist ein Bildschirmschoner der den Absturz eines Macs unter OS X simuliert. Ganz nett und [...]

  58. MacBug.de » OT: Kernel Panic hausgemacht Says:

    [...] kostenlosen Download gibt es hier. Bookmark ablegen Diese Icons verzweigen auf soziale Netzwerke bei denen Nutzer neue Inhalte [...]

  59. ITSGOODBUTNOTGOOD Says:

    This thing is awesome but I got fired by my boss when I put this on his computer. That’s too bad for me….

  60. WillyG78 Says:

    >

    >
    >

    When someone steals his secret recipe and sells it on ebay ;)

    Finger Lickin Good!!!!

  61. WillyG78 Says:

    In reply to Tony
    *What exactly causes a kernel to panic?*

    When someone steals his secret recipe and sells it on ebay ;)

    Finger Lickin Good!!!!

  62. EnUfor Says:

    won’t allow me to install

  63. Seinfeldfan7898 Says:

    It wont work on my computer for some reason.

  64. Charlie P. Says:

    Dude make a version for snow leopard! I want to freak out my parents XD

  65. Joey Says:

    Can you update this for Mac OS X Snow Leopard? It won’t run. Thanks!

  66. Tim Says:

    Any chance to compile this in 64 bit so it will work on 10.6.4?

  67. nevyn Says:

    Aww, it’s broken on Snow Leopard :(

  68. ΒΑΡΙΕΣΤΕ ΕΔΩ Η ΛΥΣΗ | MacUse.net Says:

    [...] Fake a Kernel Panic [...]

  69. computerprogramer1 Says:

    haha! this fooled the apple store!

  70. computerprogramer325 Says:

    haha! this fooled the apple store!it was insane!!!!

  71. Para los maquer@s aburrid@s « topemac Says:

    [...] Emula un Kernel Panic (nunca vi uno real, quizás esta sea la forma de poder verlo) [...]

  72. Para los maquer@s aburrid@s « Says:

    [...] Emula un Kernel Panic (nunca vi uno real, quizás esta sea la forma de poder verlo) [...]

  73. john hart Says:

    Okay, so bribery time. What would it take to get you to recompile this little beauty to be Mac OS 10.6 compatible? I find that the world just isnt quite as awesome now that this gem isnt compatible.

  74. David Says:

    Hey, I was wondering if you could release a version for Snow Leopard (10.6). I loved this screen saver on leopard, an I want to keep using it. Thanks!

  75. Spitzen Mac Freeware: Kernel Panic Screensaver : EinGrafikbĂĽro Says:

    [...] das war eigentlich auch nur eine Frage der Zeit: ‘Kernel Panic Screensaver‘ ist ein Bildschirmschoner der den Absturz eines Macs unter OS X simuliert. Ganz nett und [...]

  76. emmanuelvq Says:

    Snow Leopard version please!!!!!!!!!!!!

  77. AMY Says:

    en mi compu no agarra se bloquea i es mac ox

  78. Tobias Says:

    I want it for Snow Leopard too. Please.

  79. Peter Says:

    Thanks for updating this for 10.6 onwards! ;)

  80. Dr. Awesome Says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you! Where do I send a bottle of scotch!?!?

  81. Gertrudis Brewbaker Says:

    Ok WOW, great preview image! That really had me fooled for a second, i tried redownloading :P

  82. utah Says:

    awesome it made me think that i had the black screen of DEATH!!!! :P

  83. utah Says:

    <3

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