is there anything else I could check to find out why it happened in the first place?
1) backtrack everything you did leading to the panic.
2) search google. search forums.
(1) helped me make grub boot my kernel (yes, Linux); it turns out I had just given the kernel a bad `root' parameter.
(2) search on the exact message you get; write it down if you must.
I don't know `crash'--but with your second explanation, the first has become clear
Sorry I can't be of more help. You may want to read `Smart Questions' for ideas about what more information you can provide, so others can help you better.