Jaunty Beta continuously writing to hard drive

Asked by smoosh on 2009-03-30

First off, I have a Sony Vaio VGN FW139E. Ever since upgrading to Jaunty, if the cursor is over the desktop, it shows the busy/ thinking cursor. The hard drive access light is also constantly blinking. Also, a lot of times when I go to log out, a dialog box pops up saying that an unknown process wants to cancel logout. No real problem, but since it's on a laptop, the battery drains more quickly, and if it continues, it could start affecting my hard drive. Anybody else report this problem? I would file a bug report, but I have no idea what process is responsible for it. Thanks! Let me know if there are any tests I can run that will help!

Loren

Question information

Language:
English Edit question
Status:
Solved
For:
Ubuntu Edit question
Assignee:
No assignee Edit question
Solved by:
smoosh
Solved:
2009-04-03
Last query:
2009-04-03
Last reply:
2009-04-03
Anthony Hook (anthonyhook) said : #1

Loren,

You can open System -> Administration -> System Monitor and see if there's anything in particular that is chewing up your CPU. Click the Processes tab so the arrow is pointing up and see if anything in particular is doing this.

Anthony Hook (anthonyhook) said : #2

*Processes tab and then the CPU column so the arrow is pointing up.

smoosh (lolomcdoo) said : #3

I don't see anything unusual, but here is a screenshot for ya.

loren

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 12:07 AM, Anthony Hook <
<email address hidden>> wrote:

> Your question #65926 on Ubuntu changed:
> https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/65926
>
> Anthony Hook requested for more information:
> *Processes tab and then the CPU column so the arrow is pointing up.
>
> --
> To answer this request for more information, you can either reply to
> this email or enter your reply at the following page:
> https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/65926
>
> You received this question notification because you are a direct
> subscriber of the question.
>

Craig Huffstetler (xq) said : #4

We can not see attachments from e-mail in here. Can you post a link?

You can use this site to post your screen shot:
http://drop.io/
It's very simple.

Also, please open a terminal (Go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and type these commands. Also, open up a browser window and go to http://pastebin.ca/

The four commands that will help give us a clue of what you're running into over there:

First command to type or paste:
ps -e -o pid,args --forest > ps_forest

Second command to type or paste:
ps -e -o pcpu,cpu,nice,state,cputime,args --sort pcpu | sed '/^ 0.0 /d' > ps_cpu_usage

Third command to type or paste:
ps -e -orss=,args= | sort -b -k1,1n | pr -TW$COLUMNS > ps_mem_usage

Finally, the fourth command to type or paste:
top > top

Now, if you could type these to open the output of the commands in another window for easy copy + pasting into your browser window (pastebin.ca):

gedit ps_forest && gedit ps_cpu_usage && gedit ps_mem_usage && gedit top

Now in gedit session, go to EDIT > SELECT ALL, then EDIT > COPY
(After you close each GEdit window, the next file will open sequentially for you for ease of use...)

Now go into your browser and on Pastebin.ca's main form please paste the output of each command. If you could separate them for us that would be great. For example just seperate each with

====================== THIS IS FROM PS_FOREST ====================

====================== THIS IS FROM PS_CPU_USAGE =================

etc.

Thanks a lot. This will help us troubleshoot for you.

Sincerely,

Craig

smoosh (lolomcdoo) said : #5

Ok, pasted it all in, the url is: http://pastebin.ca/1378101

I guess you don't really need the screenshot anymore, it was just of the
open system monitor, which should alll be covered by the top pasting....

Thanks!

Loren

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 12:42 PM, Craig Huffstetler <
<email address hidden>> wrote:

> Your question #65926 on Ubuntu changed:
> https://answers.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/65926
>
> Status: Open => Needs information
>
> Craig Huffstetler requested for more information:
> We can not see attachments from e-mail in here. Can you post a link?
>
> You can use this site to post your screen shot:
> http://drop.io/
> It's very simple.
>
> Also, please open a terminal (Go to Applications > Accessories >
> Terminal) and type these commands. Also, open up a browser window and go
> to http://pastebin.ca/
>
> The four commands that will help give us a clue of what you're running
> into over there:
>
> First command to type or paste:
> ps -e -o pid,args --forest > ps_forest
>
> Second command to type or paste:
> ps -e -o pcpu,cpu,nice,state,cputime,args --sort pcpu | sed '/^ 0.0 /d' >
> ps_cpu_usage
>
> Third command to type or paste:
> ps -e -orss=,args= | sort -b -k1,1n | pr -TW$COLUMNS > ps_mem_usage
>
> Finally, the fourth command to type or paste:
> top > top
>
> Now, if you could type these to open the output of the commands in
> another window for easy copy + pasting into your browser window
> (pastebin.ca):
>
> gedit ps_forest && gedit ps_cpu_usage && gedit ps_mem_usage && gedit top
>
> Now in gedit session, go to EDIT > SELECT ALL, then EDIT > COPY
> (After you close each GEdit window, the next file will open sequentially
> for you for ease of use...)
>
> Now go into your browser and on Pastebin.ca's main form please paste the
> output of each command. If you could separate them for us that would be
> great. For example just seperate each with
>
> ====================== THIS IS FROM PS_FOREST ====================
>
> ====================== THIS IS FROM PS_CPU_USAGE =================
>
> etc.
>
> Thanks a lot. This will help us troubleshoot for you.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Craig
>
> --
> To answer this request for more information, you can either reply to
> this email or enter your reply at the following page:
> https://answers.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/65926
>
> You received this question notification because you are a direct
> subscriber of the question.
>

Craig Huffstetler (xq) said : #6

What's the command:

free -m

Tell you? You can paste that one in here.

Can you still give us a screenshot of your System Monitor? Also give us a screenshot of top running? It would help a lot. Because of the different symbols it uses, it "garbled" it on the paste. These can be put on drop.io

Thanks a lot.

smoosh (lolomcdoo) said : #7

loren@lOlO:~$ free -m
                    total used free shared buffers
cached
Mem: 3022 2157 865 0 267 1276
-/+ buffers/cache: 614 2408
Swap: 9930 0 9930

Also, created the drop, it's called drop.io/systemMonitor.

Let me know if your email program messes with the spacing of the free -m
paste above, and I will creat a screenshot of that too.

thanks!

Loren

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 1:15 PM, Craig Huffstetler <
<email address hidden>> wrote:

> Your question #65926 on Ubuntu changed:
> https://answers.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/65926
>
> Status: Open => Needs information
>
> Craig Huffstetler requested for more information:
> What's the command:
>
> free -m
>
> Tell you? You can paste that one in here.
>
> Can you still give us a screenshot of your System Monitor? Also give us
> a screenshot of top running? It would help a lot. Because of the
> different symbols it uses, it "garbled" it on the paste. These can be
> put on drop.io
>
> Thanks a lot.
>
> --
> To answer this request for more information, you can either reply to
> this email or enter your reply at the following page:
> https://answers.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/65926
>
> You received this question notification because you are a direct
> subscriber of the question.
>

Craig,

  The same thing is happening to me since yesterday (that I've noticed) in Jaunty. There are couple of unknown processes that last only for a second or two and rapidly change their PID, so they are impossible to catch and kill. It makes no difference what I use, the GNOME panel's system monitor or TOP (I will try IOTOP next), but nothing shows up to be taking a lot's of CPU time, yet the system is dramatically slower and the system monitor graph shows that the CPU is pegged up to 100%. It also doesn't matter whether I'm plugged in to the network or physically disconnected from it. The only way I was able to prevent this from occurring is by logging in as root. Somehow the root account is not exhibiting this issue, yet both accounts are protected by the same password (thinking along the lines of a possible hacker intrusion). The one strange thing I did notice is that the TOP tells me there are 2 users, but I don't see the same on my other system which is Intrepid. That one shows only 1 user being logged in and everything is normal (meaning the CPU is not going berserk). So, who's the mysterious 2nd user? I will try to run some of these same commands you gave smoosh and I'll see what turns up.

Dragan

smoosh (lolomcdoo) said : #9

My system actually stopped doing this. No idea why. I guess it was either an update somewhere, or that I finally figured out to disable Compiz and use just plain old compositing. Compiz was broken, but kept opening at startup, even though I told it not to under "startup applications". It would open, but then act exactly like Metacity (none of the effects worked). If I disabled it and then turned it on again, my screen would go all white and I had to kill my pooter with the power button. So I was messing with Screenlets just to see if by chance, they worked yet, got one to work, opened up the Compositing Screenlet, turned on compositing, and it worked, much to my surprise. But, like I said, I don't know if that had anything to do with this issue or not. I also changed my xorg.conf to the one posted in this thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1095823&highlight=jaunty+xorg.conf&page=2

One of those things fixed it. What kind of graphics card do you have Dragan? If it's not Ati, then it was probably an update that fixed it? Dunno, just guessing. Is your Compiz broken like mine was? Hope some of this info helps....

I just used the following command:

iotop -o

It is the process called gconfd-2 that is constantly writing to the disk at a rate of about 30 K/s. What gives????

The top and the ps are comming up with bunch of stuff that don't reveal any process taking a significant amount of CPU time or any process without a name either. I guess these unnamed processes are the product of gconfd-2 and because of the constant IO access to the hard disk the system monitor thinks that the CPU is too busy, where in fact the IO is too busy interrupting CPU quite often and causing the slowdown of the system.

Smoosh, please just do 'sudo apt-get install iotop' at your console and then do the above mentioned command and tell us what you find.

Never mind, I just red your new post. I guess your situation was totally different. I'm using a dual-head ATI Radeon card (two monitors). Some updates came yesterday so I applied them and that's when I started noticing this high CPU utilization. My panel was no longer on the left monitor, but on the right so I went inot gconf editor to put it on monitor 1, it was defaulting to 0 for some reason. That's all I did. I'm also getting apport (problem reporting tool) telling me that my nautilus has crashed each time I log in, it's what paints the desktop and puts icons on it, but I don't see it being broken at all. Weired stuff!

smoosh (lolomcdoo) said : #12

Yeah, very weird. Hope mine doesn't start again, but I'm not holding my breath. Hmmm, my ATI car is a Radeon too, but it seems to be opposite for us. Mine was acting up until an update, and yours started around the same time mine stopped, after an update. They fixed mine and broke yours. Well, At least it seems like there is progress, or at least migration. Hope yers gets fixed soon!

Smoosh

Craig Huffstetler (xq) said : #13

And at first I was going to guess your music player due to constant "searching" for music. I was going to assume:

a) You were searching for new music (archiving a lot of music);
or b) Your music player was playing catch up on new files because of a new installation (like changing music players or an upgrade/import).

However, if gconf2d is the culprit the above will indeed find out if that is the culprit. You can also do this, in addition to install iotop and giving us the out:

tail /var/log/messages

And I bet it is *full* of errors from gconfd-2...

Craig Huffstetler (xq) said : #14

Oops, posted to late. I'm glad this is resolved. Maybe it was the sound of music ;-)

Cheers,

Craig

I Googled up a few things and tried something one person suggested, which is to clean my ~/.config folder. I didn't want to clean up the entire folder so I logged in as root and then only deleted some saved sessions (some were from yesterday). I simply snooped around the .config folder and all sub-folders for any suspicious temporary files or stuff I thought wasn't necessary to have and that finally did the trick for me. One thing I recall doing before it started going berserk on me is that I placed a check-mark next to the option called "Automatically remember running applications when logging out" in the Startup Applications Preferences app. I'll be watching it to see if it will crop up again, but so far so good.

My video card is an older one, model 7000/VE, a.k.a Radeon RV100 QY. I had to customize my xorg.conf right from the start because compiz was terribly slow and impractical without it. This is nothing new for this type of video card, I also had to do it for other distributions as well.

The only errors that I can find in the messages are very similar if not just the constant repeats of these 3 (the computer name hidden for privacy):

$ less /var/log/messages | grep error

Apr 2 09:37:49 [hidden-name] kernel: [ 2360.781678] nautilus[4664]: segfault at 4400001f ip b7961e76 sp bfc21ab0 error 4 in libgconf-2.so.4.1.5[b7941000+2e000]
Apr 2 09:38:16 [hidden-name] kernel: [ 2387.948390] awn-applet-acti[5611]: segfault at 12 ip b77f6d99 sp bfe74c80 error 4 in libgdk-x11-2.0.so.0.1600.0[b77dd000+89000]
Apr 2 12:18:26 [hidden-name] kernel: [11997.590492] compiz.real[5527]: segfault at 2da0 ip b71127d5 sp bfd75f90 error 4 in libthumbnail.so[b7110000+7000]

I know that my shiny switcher applet never loads on start-up (it crashes), but after I close avant and open it again it loads up fine. So, that takes care of why the awn has those errors, but why the nautilus and compiz are complaining I don't know.