A Sad Mac is an icon used by older-generation Apple Macintosh computers (using the Old World ROM since the original Macintosh 128K), to indicate that a severe hardware or software problem has prevented startup from occurring successfully. The Sad Mac icon was displayed on a black screen, along with a set of hexadecimal codes that indicated the type of problem at startup. Different codes were given for different errors. This was used in place of the normal Happy Mac icon, which indicated that the startup-time hardware tests were successful. In 68k models made after the Macintosh II, a tune (Chimes of Death) was played. Models prior to the Macintosh II crashed silently and displayed the Sad Mac, without playing any tone. PowerPC Macs played a sound effect of a car crash, and computers equipped with the PowerPC upgrade card used the three note brass fanfare death chime (A, E-natural, and E-flat) same as the Macintosh Performa 6200 and Macintosh Performa 6300.
A Sad Mac may be deliberately generated at startup by pressing the interrupt switch on Macintosh computers that had one installed, or by pressing Command and Power keys shortly after the startup chime. On some Macintoshes (e.g. PowerBook 540c) if the user presses the command and power keys before the screen comes up, it will play the chimes of death; the chimes are a fraction of normal speed and there is no Sad Mac displayed.
The strings of text that appears with the Sad Mac screen have different meanings on different models of the Macintosh system. Also, on older models like the Macintosh Plus, the Sad Mac has a checkerboard pattern around the icon instead of a black background, making the icon look like it has a gray border around it.
On the iPod, if damage or an error occurs in the hardware or the firmware, for example, if its files are deleted, or a serious unrecoverable hard drive error is found in a disk scan, a Sad iPod appears. This is similar to the Sad Mac, but instead of a computer, there is an iPod with a sad face, and doesn't play a death chime. The icon also lacks a nose, and the trail off is on the other side.
Sad browser tab
On the Google Chrome web browser, there are conditions that can "kill" the loading of a web page. This will cause the appearance of an alert that is referred to as the "Chrome White Screen of Death", which requires the user to refresh the page by force. The icon is displayed as a cartoonish sad browser tab with a comedic "x~x" facial expression, and a caption that states "He's dead, Jim.", "Aw, Snap!", etc.
- Macintosh startup: Sad Mac at Wikipedia