I've searched a lot for solutions to this and found nothing that worked or quite matched my symptoms.
I've had crashes and problems for YEARS with the same symptoms. Sometimes it happens a few times in one day, then it could wait a week or more with no restarts and no problems. Lately its everytime the computer runs. I noticed a couple years ago that this would happen almost immediately if I completely close the case by putting it's side on it and the screws in the back that hold it on. I can't make a lick of sense out of that... the side piece touches absolutely nothing hardware wise, not even a case closed switch.
The symptoms were pretty much the same in every version of Ubuntu I've used since 9.04 or so, but the error messages and numbers have changed a bit (didn't used to use EXT4 for instance).
Nothing will launch, the icons turn into pages with a red x on them and the system is unresponsive. At this point, it won't even shut down or restart usually. I always have to force the power off by toggling the power supply or holding the power button for until it shuts off. Then I restart, go into recovery mode and run an fsck where it says:
/dev/sda1: Superblock last mount time is in the future.
(by less than a day, probably due to the hardware clock being incorrectly set) FIXED
/dev/sda1: 513023/3662848 files (0.2% non-contiguous), 4153871/14648064 blocks
Finished, please press ENTER
Everything restarts normally, and an unknown amount of time goes by until the error repeats and work is lost, wife is frustrated, patience goes out the window...
If it is ever responsive enough to "shutdown," it never actually finishes shutting down, but just says:
EXT4-fs (sda1): previous I/O error to superblock detected
EXT4-fs error (device sda1): ext4_find_entry:935: inode #1440812
comm sh: reading directory lblock 0
So to try and work with this I have:
*used a different hard drive - complete fresh install, new solid state drive, start over
*changed motherboards to a newer fancier model (that was some time ago, two years back maybe)
*updated my BIOS to most current version
*Set BIOS to both optimized and fail-safe defaults (errors are the same regardless)
Please somebody help me....
What else can I do to diagnose this? I'm definitely out of my Linux league here. Thank you for reading and thank you SO much in advance for your suggestions and advice. I really really appreciate it!