List All Third Party Kernel Extensions in OS X

Aug 3, 2010 - 5 Comments

Terminal

If you’re troubleshooting a Mac machine with some particularly odd issues that routine measures don’t seem to be resolving, it can be helpful to list what kernel extensions are activated, particularly third party kexts loaded in OS X.

Determining what kernel extensions are loaded and running is rather easy, and using grep you can then easily list all third party kexts. To accomplish this, you’ll use the kextstat command and pipe the output to grep, using the command line:

See All Third Party Kernel Extensions in Mac OS X

The full syntax to see third party kernel extensions is as follows:

kextstat | grep -v com.apple

The output is going to vary depending on what, if any, third party extensions are in the kernel. It may look something like this:

Index Refs Address Size Wired Name (Version) Linked Against
117 0 0xffdddfff8209ff910 0x2000 0x2000 com.radiosilenceapp.nke.PrivateEye (1) 4 1
119 0 0xfffff945818248770 0x3000 0x3000 com.whattheheckisthis.WeirdExtension (1) 5 2

If you see something out of place in that list, that could be a good place to start troubleshooting.

See All Kernel Extensions in OS X

Of course you can always list all kernel extensions (meaning, Apple’s official Mac OS X kexts included) by just typing the following command string:

kextstat

The output here is going to be significant, but it can still be valuable.

If you want to learn more about kextstat, just type ‘man kextstat’ to open the man page in the OS X Terminal.

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Posted by: Bill Ellis in Command Line, Mac OS X, Troubleshooting

5 Comments

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  1. [...] came across this little hint over at OSXDaily, a site I visit quite often because of the variety of topics [...]

  2. SteveW says:

    Thanks to Bill Ellis. Used kextstat to see what was installed and removed the software. My Display Sleep function stopped working with the OS X 10.7 install this morning. Now it works. I removed VirtualBox by its own uninstall program.

  3. [...] most people won’t need this application, or have any need to tweak with kext files and kernel extensions. This is usually the realm of deep troubleshooting and Hackintosh installations, but not necessary [...]

  4. Gryphon MacThoy says:

    “don’t need this…” poster:
    I found that old software I thought I had removed left broken and old kexts in my system. This tool helped me isolate them and remove them.

    I bet any user would be well served by an app that searches for kexts that no longer have their associated app in the system, and remove them. Product Idea! You’re welcome…

  5. wilsonr says:

    I have been creating kernel extensions by myself and I have found I can load an extension with com.apple.kext.falsekext as CFBundleIdentifier, and other as com.apple.driver.falsekext as Identifier. When I use kextstat and grep to detect third-party extensions, it is not listed. How can I detect this third party extensions that could affect my system and contains com.apple into his CFBundleIdentifier??

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