Random freezes on xubuntu 9.04

Asked by matsu

I am experiencing random freezes using xubuntu 9.04 and need help diagnosing the problem. I am using a Toshiba P4000 laptop. I have tried installing a newer kernel (Karmic) and the freeze continues. I have also downgraded to a 2.6.27 kernel to see if I notice any difference in the problem. Prior to trying xubuntu on this machine, I had OpenSuse 11.1 and SimplyMepis 8 and experienced a freeze in both of them as well. Prior to that, I ran Debian Etch on this laptop and it was very stable (never crashed once).

I suspect that there is something in the newer kernel that doesn't like my older hardware.

I have a near duplicate of this setup on two other machines and they are completely stable, so I am pretty sure it isn't an issue with the packages I'm running.

Can anyone shed some light on this? If I find that an older kernel works, what are my options?

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marcobra (Marco Braida) (marcobra) said :

Please tell have you already checked your RAM memory... ? you can do this check booting from Ubuntu standard desktop live cd...
Thank you

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Kevin Hunter (hunteke) said :

As I recall, those laptops run rather hot. Are you making sure to keep it well ventilated? Heat is *not good at all* for computers, and the problem is often exacerbated in laptops because folks don't know or forget to let them breathe.

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Kevin Hunter (hunteke) said :

And the crux is that an overheating processor often will turn itself off rather than risk further damage, or possible injury, etc. That would manifest as a system freeze.

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Tom (tom6) said :

Hi :)

Good point, i think this machine also has an intel graphics chipset/card?
Is this still an issue or has it been resolved yet?

Regards from
Tom :)

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matsu (matsuzine) said :

Hi, thanks for the responses.

Memory check turned up no problems. It's possible that overheating is an issue, since the laptop does run fairly hot, but I think it is interesting that I started noticing the freezes as soon as I installed a newer distro (ran very stably on Etch for years). If it is overheating, any recommendations?

My P4000 has a Trident chipset, so I don't think its related to the intel problem.

I am still testing it with the older (Ibex?) kernel to see if that does the trick. So far, no freezes. I have been experiencing lock ups once every 1-2 hours prior to that, so I should be able to tell fairly quickly.

If I do determine that something in the kernel isn't playing nicely with my hardware / software, what would be the step? Is there any harm in running using an older kernel (realizing that at some point certain upgrades might be impossible because packages might depend on a newer kernel)?

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Tom (tom6) said :

Hmmm, i would be tempted to try a Slackware distro as they tend to avoid having any services or anything running unless you have specifically started it for some reason. There are other distros that are also being produced specifically to be more environmentally friendly (to save on battery power). It might be worth setting up a dual-boot scenario where you can keep trying out different distros until you find one that suits you needs better. I think kernels are heading towards becoming more environmentally friendly so at some point you should be able to upgrade to the ultra-latest kernel. I'm not really very sure about all this but i would start at DistroWatch
and perhaps try Wolvix first
as it aims to be very light but also very usable.

Good luck and regards from
Tom :)

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