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Thread: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf

    Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    I've had this problem for several months. It happens occasionally, and lately nearly on a daily basis, that my system hangs and freezes, especially when I'm using flash and/or java applications. A java download manager, and Youtube, feature heavily. Sometimes flash ads will cause it too, or graphics heavy work applications. What happens is that especially when I have a lot of things running, and I go to watch a flash video (Youtube), it will start up and then the screen blinks once after which the system becomes nonresponsive. I can move the mouse pointer, and sound may continue for a time, but I can't touch, move or do anything. In the past I was sometimes able to access a non-X terminal with Ctrl-Alt-F6 for example, and use that to kill the browser and possibly other things, which would sometimes be enough to save the session. Failing that, and nowadays nearly always, I am simply forced to a hard reboot via power button.

    Since it seems to occur mostly related to flash, I've tried different flash plugin versions. Using the Firefox extension Flash-Aid I tried all its three options: Adobe Flash stable, Adobe Flash beta, and the Google Chrome bundled flash. The freezes happened with all.

    I thought it might be related to my desktop environment. Typically I used the full hardware accelerated Unity environment in 11.04, but for the past week or so have gone through Unity 2D, Ubuntu Classic (Gnome 2) and Ubuntu Classic without effects. In all cases it continues to happen, although it took longer than usual before it did with Gnome 2 with no effects (Compiz, I guess).

    Since graphics may be a factor, I've also made sure I have the latest NVIDIA drivers (version 285.05.09) including uninstalling and reinstalling.

    Anyway, I'm quite out of ideas for what else to look at. I'm not even sure how to analyze the problem, to see what it is that's crashing. As far as I know, the flash plugin itself (or java for that matter) should not be able to hang the entire X server, so perhaps it's something deeper down?

    Very grateful for any suggestions. My system is still Ubuntu 11.04 32 bit version, and the hardware is a Lenovo ThinkPad T61, which has an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M graphics card.

  2. #2
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    I didn't have this problem until the last week or so. Increasingly I am getting flash related freeze on Chrome and an application not responding on Firefox. No idea where it came from...

  3. #3
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    Just deleted ~/.mozilla (something I seem to be doing on a more and more frequent basis) and that seems to have sorted out the Firefox problem. For the moment at least

  4. #4
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    It doesn't sound like we have the same problem. When the problem occurs for me, it doesn't freeze a browser and doesn't give a message, it freezes the entire X server. On occasion, especially if I act quickly after it gives the first ominous blink, I am able to shift to a "dumb" terminal and kill processes. Tonight I found also that holding down Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to kill the X server sometimes after a few seconds, shortly before it does kill the server, kills something else that makes the Youtube video or whatever start working again.

    Might add also that I upgraded to 11.10 about a week ago to see if that would help. I had no freezes for several days; it happened sometimes that I would get a similar blink across the screen as if it were about to hang, but after a second or so, it continued as before. Alas, now the problem is back like it was before. For the record, I have shifted from using Chrome to Chromium which as far as I know has separate configuration folders, so I don't believe the problem lies there either.

    Can noone offer any clue as to what might be the problem? Or at least give some suggestion as to how I can track down where the actual error lies? For all I know it could be the graphics cards, it could be drivers, it could be the flash plugin, or a number of other things. I'm bloody tired of it, and don't really have time to deal with it properly, but it's an extremely frustrating error. Especially when considering the old adage that misbehaving applications in Linux should not hang the system, which certainly is what happens here, whatever is misbehaving.

  5. #5
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    Occasionally it is a good idea to clear all your caches..

    in terminal:

    sudo apt-get install bleachbit
    sudo bleachbit

    and do a complete cleaning of your entire system.. and see if the problem remains.. Usually this will clear up issues like this when they happen on my own system and don't forget to do a power cycle of your system when you are done cleaning everything out with bleachbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by anlag View Post
    It doesn't sound like we have the same problem. When the problem occurs for me, it doesn't freeze a browser and doesn't give a message, it freezes the entire X server. On occasion, especially if I act quickly after it gives the first ominous blink, I am able to shift to a "dumb" terminal and kill processes. Tonight I found also that holding down Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to kill the X server sometimes after a few seconds, shortly before it does kill the server, kills something else that makes the Youtube video or whatever start working again.

    Might add also that I upgraded to 11.10 about a week ago to see if that would help. I had no freezes for several days; it happened sometimes that I would get a similar blink across the screen as if it were about to hang, but after a second or so, it continued as before. Alas, now the problem is back like it was before. For the record, I have shifted from using Chrome to Chromium which as far as I know has separate configuration folders, so I don't believe the problem lies there either.

    Can noone offer any clue as to what might be the problem? Or at least give some suggestion as to how I can track down where the actual error lies? For all I know it could be the graphics cards, it could be drivers, it could be the flash plugin, or a number of other things. I'm bloody tired of it, and don't really have time to deal with it properly, but it's an extremely frustrating error. Especially when considering the old adage that misbehaving applications in Linux should not hang the system, which certainly is what happens here, whatever is misbehaving.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    What is a power cycle?
    Be inspired by phreaking.
    http://tinyurl.com/about-phreaking
    And don't touch the Linux hat!
    Linux user #572109


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    Never mind. I googled power cycle.
    Be inspired by phreaking.
    http://tinyurl.com/about-phreaking
    And don't touch the Linux hat!
    Linux user #572109


  8. #8
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    Quote Originally Posted by oldtimer7777 View Post
    Occasionally it is a good idea to clear all your caches..

    in terminal:

    sudo apt-get install bleachbit
    sudo bleachbit

    and do a complete cleaning of your entire system.. and see if the problem remains.. Usually this will clear up issues like this when they happen on my own system and don't forget to do a power cycle of your system when you are done cleaning everything out with bleachbit.
    Thanks for the suggestion! I've installed it and done a cleaning of flash cache+cookies, browser cache and the vacuuming, system cache and various other options. I'll see how it goes from here. I appreciate it, seems a generally handy program as well.

  9. #9
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    Quote Originally Posted by anlag View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion! I've installed it and done a cleaning of flash cache+cookies, browser cache and the vacuuming, system cache and various other options. I'll see how it goes from here. I appreciate it, seems a generally handy program as well.
    I've seen bleachbit remove Gb's of data in one cleaning sometimes.. Very handy to use from time to time, and highly recommended too. You can even schedule it to run from time to time, which is probably a good idea.

  10. #10
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    Re: Persistent flash (?) related system freezes

    Indeed. I didn't think I picked all that many options, and it still cleaned out in the region of 1.3 Gb. It's worthwhile for that reason alone, and if it solves persistent and annoying issues, all the more so.

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