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Thread: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

  1. #1
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    My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    I didn't even plan to make that pun - it really has been a headache as
    if possessed by demons - only after starting to type that it did I
    recall the "daemons" (see below). So I have an old and dying desktop at
    home with ubuntu (Disclaimer: though I've used ubuntu for some years,
    please assume I know *nothing* other than how to open a terminal..!)

    In January I got a shiny new laptop (Samsung, 4GB RAM, 500GB drive,
    and AMD "A6" processor). I solved the first "possession" all on my
    own. What was that? Getting rid of the windows 8 and installing the
    old Ubuntu (I had a CD from 2011 or so from the folks at osdisk). That
    alone was like pulling teeth, with a good month putting the laptop
    aside but by late Feb I had the laptop working just fine. I used it
    probably ten times but again put it aside "until I have time to
    upgrade" (my dread must have known something my conscious mind
    didn't!) until realizing it's almost April 2013 when support ends for
    that version of Ubuntu..so I got my laptop, and clicked the updater
    (that cardboard box icon thing in the command bar, "/usr/bin/updc" is
    what it's aliased to on my desktop computer) to upgrade to
    12.04...(my notes tell my terrible memory for names that it's "update manager")

    What could possibly go wrong? Nearly brand-new laptop, that had the
    earlier ubuntu running fine, a laptop I had not downloaded any
    software (other than a few updates from that updc and putting
    quick-launch icons at top bar) so no malware or clutter etc..like I
    said what could go wrong? So when I had a full afternoon I clicked on
    that button that "new version 12.04LTS is available!" and let it run..

    Three or so hours later it was done. I was not baby sitting the whole
    3 hours of course..but other than item I. below it behaved as if things
    went smoothly.

    Note: I hope it is item I. below so I include items II and following
    just to give more background in case it helps confirm diagnosis of
    what went wrong in I....because in the interest of time (and before my
    desktop whose hardware really risks problems..overheat causing loss of
    internet access) if you all think it would work to just re-do the
    whole install of the entire OS, I'm happy to do that (except I can't
    even log in any more, see last item..so I'd need to be reminded how to
    boot in safe mode and then which url I can download 12.04LTS from) Ok:

    I. During the install there were two times when I came back to peek at
    progress and there were messed up dialog boxes. This was not always
    the case; there were some normal, readable dialog boxes but two times,
    the *entire* dialog boxes was displayed as if it was written in a
    font whose entire alphabet consisted of a rectangular box: all the
    "sentences" and even the place where I knew it must have meant to say
    "ok" was in those rectangles (I wish I could be 100% sure but I'm
    only 90% sure I clicked on the lower-bottom button both times) I have
    screenshots; I'll try to attach:

    File1: 2013laptopubuntu-install.shutdownerror.jpg
    File2: other-ubuntu-install-error.P170413_18.08.jpg

    So that's probably where things went wrong.

    II. The first thing I noticed was initially things seemed to be
    working ok except for the interface (I eventually got to GNOME
    Classic) but really the first problem when when I tried to "Shut Down"
    and got an error "A program is still running: GNOME Settings Daemon"
    (this error, I'm sure, existed before I switched to GNOME classic
    since I did not get the classic until after my first time shutting
    down the laptop, and this error happened the very first time I shut
    down) See:

    File3: laptop.ubuntu.install.error1.jpg

    I eventually tried the strange suggestion of "lock screen" which was
    suggested in that dialog box and sure enough it didn't help. Just
    "Shut down anyway" or "Restart anyway" were the options I used.

    III. Error 1 below immediately, but eventually many more errors:

    1. Firefox freezes whenever I right-click
    2. Using mouse (rather than keyboard)on Terminal (which I use to ssh,
    not just to diagnose) to File then "open tab" Froze the terminal..and
    later froze the computer
    3. Same for shift-control-t which supposedly does the same, but
    initially (the first few times using the laptop; it's been 48 hours
    and about 6-8 sessions using it along with about 25+ reboots;
    sometimes many reboots to get one functioning session)
    4. Mouse or keyboard to firefox's menus or url box? Firefox
    freezes...got it killed with xkill initially but like errors, next
    time it happened got worse and the system would eventually freeze the
    system or else kills firefox but won't relaunch
    5. Used Flash drive (in case laptop dies again since barely usable)
    to type in some notes...mouse to File menu in notepad..no freezing up,
    to "save as" no freeze...click "ok" THEN it freezes.. etc

    B. Some errors happened some times but not others:

    1. Alt-Tab to switch between windows...was working fine for a while
    (while lots of other errors were showing up) but more recently, it
    froze the laptop (I'm going by my notes but in most cases this means,
    mouse will worked to move icon but can't click on anything, not even
    "gears" menu to shut down)

    well no point typing in a completely exhaustive list from my notes,
    right?

    IV. As of today (Saturday Apr 20) when I turned on the laptop...can't
    even log in!
    This is the first time its done that. You get the
    vertical bar icon where the password is supposed to go, but keyword
    doesn't work...mouse can move icon for mouse but can't click
    anywhere...so can't log in.

    Well there it is...the complete mess the "upgrading" from the old
    ubuntu to 12.04 did on a new laptop :-(

    As I said, if there's a 50% or better chance of it working, I'm more
    than willing to let the laptop go for a few more hours just
    re-installing all of 12.04 (more time for my laptop, but much less
    time for me and you, than trying to fix each item in the list above)
    If so, ignore II and III, and could someone remind me how to get to
    log in (hopefully this won't fail too..) in safe mode and where to
    download from...if very unlikely to work before other steps
    (*shudder*) then pointers from you experts how to proceed instead of
    trying to re-install 12.04, would be most appreciated!
    Harel
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    The gist of your long "demon-possessed" prose is that you have a bad UPGRADE. No surprises there. Between 10.04 and 12.04 Ubuntu has undergone some major changes and personally I do not recommend Upgrade for the exactly the same issues you faced.

    Download the latest version of Ubuntu, either 12.04 LTS or 13.04beta2, which is quite stable and due for release shortly. And do a Fresh and Clean install.
    "Evolution is Nature's way of issuing upgrades."

  3. #3
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    fantab - yes, and putting "upgrade" into the keywords for this post is one of the few things I got right it seems ;-)

    I'll admit my "prose" is seldom brief, it really it an effort to avoid the "you didn't include enough info!" as much as my style hence my note that sections II and III can be skipped, but in bullet point:

    1. As I mentioned in bold in IV, I can't log into my laptop any more: I get the login screen but keyboard doesn't work to type into the password field (mouse moves cursor but can't slick on anything) There's a keyboard key or several to hold down at once to get me into safe mode, I think? Otherwise I'm stuck at the login screen when I boot the normal way.

    2. Assume this can be done, once I am finally logged in again and hoping it doesn't freeze up for me before I finish following directions, assuming I "don't know how to do anything other than open a terminal" where exactly do I go (and any instructions not dead obvious) to download 12.04LTS?


    Keep in mind even when I log in I can't right click in firefox NOR as I mentioned could I click in the url box nor use the file etc menus in firefox without the entire laptop freezing.just navigaging with left click to the correct url...which hopefully won't ask me to "right click and save" or right click anything..in order to be able to

    Thanks for help from anyone on these two points so I can have my laptop back! :-)

    P.S. this is not a separate question so much as curiosity to reduce my ignorance but what exactly is the difference between "downloading 12.04LTS" (so you can skip answering it if it's complicated) versus what I attempted, "upgrade from [old version] to 12.04LTS" ..and that makes the latter so much less error prone? And should one then sometimes preemprively choose the latter on purpose whenever there are "major changes" we should just say "no thanks!" when "update manager" offers to?

    Thanks for anyone's advice on
    Last edited by harelb; April 21st, 2013 at 09:09 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    Upgrade from 'Update Manager' to the next version works, usually. But since you have an 'older version' and I am assuming it to be 10.04, as you haven't told us what it is, its a big jump. For instance Ubuntu 10.04 used GTK2 while 12.04 uses GTK3, Gnome was at version 2 and it is now 3. These are a few 'major changes'. 'Upgrade' can go wrong, why I don't know. Perhaps because of conflicting replacements and leftovers.

    Updates that update manager offers are different from version Upgrade. Updates are essential to keep your system upto date. So you cannot say "No thanks!" to updates. By Upgrade I mean a newer version of Ubuntu which released every six months for regular and two years for LTS versions.

    Most of your problems should get sorted out once you upgrade (doing a Fresh Clean install) to any Latest version of Ubuntu. Since you got a new laptop, are you sure that the "old ubuntu" would support new hardware? There can be issues and which you have...

    You can download the latest version from: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop : If don't have another computer assessible then you can use your "older version' Ubuntu CD to boot from, connect to internet, download and create Latest Ubuntu Disk.

    By the way, your new machine may have UEFI. It need special care when installing. Search the forums and you will find many threads about 'how to install ubuntu with Uefi. Older versions did not support UEFI.
    Last edited by fantab; April 21st, 2013 at 11:25 PM.
    "Evolution is Nature's way of issuing upgrades."

  5. #5
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    The new machine definitely did have UEFI...that was the reason it was like pulling teeth (well, a bunch of searching websites before I found the right combination of steps - there were more than one - to get it to work) to replace Windows 8 with the older ubuntu...finally found the CDs and they were 9.10 (gasp! but I'd have thought that update manager would be smart enough to notice my version is old and to either tell me "don't do it" or to take the extra time precautions to prevernt disaster..alas no, ;-)...yet I <strike>have to assume</strike> would hope that since I turned off uefi berfore (when I got 9.10 installed after a lot of struggle) that it is still off now...even with 9.10 repalced (in some defective way) with 12.04 and with logging in being impossible...

    so...hoping that is the case...I'll see if I can boot-from-CD from the 9.10...except, now that another quick google reminded me, the "hold down the shift key to reboot ubuntu in safe mode" is there a reason you don't recommend that and recomment boot-form-cd instead? I see my optoins in safe mode are:

    1. ubuntu, with linux 3.2.0-40-generic-pae
    2. ubntu.....3.2.0040...(recovery mode)
    3. previous linux versions
    4 memory test(memtest86+)
    5. memory test (memtest86+, serial console 115200)

    would item 2 or item 3 work as well or better than boot from cd?
    Last edited by harelb; April 22nd, 2013 at 01:28 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    "Updates are essential to keep your system upto date. So you cannot say "No thanks!" to updates. By Upgrade I mean a newer version of Ubuntu which released every six months for regular and two years for LTS versions. "

    I understood this part, that is, the difference between the "regular"/routine updates, versus a whole new version of ubuntu (liike 12.04lts) what I meant what that this same program "UpdateManager" has (when there *is* a new version of ubuntu) has an "upgrade to 12.04LTS" button in the very same dialog box that has the button to "check for updates" and the button for "ok" to the usual (routine) upgrades..I just means that based on what you said, I should have said "no thanks" to that button (to using UpdateManager to get 12.04) - and to instead use ubuntu.com as you suggest now - to get 12.04 (and also *not* to say "no thanks" to the routine updates) Well I got in safe mode and if it blows up in my face I'll post here or try boot from cd...let me try the ubuntu.com url you gave..crossing fingers..

  7. #7
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    Quote Originally Posted by harelb View Post
    "Updates are essential to keep your system upto date. So you cannot say "No thanks!" to updates. By Upgrade I mean a newer version of Ubuntu which released every six months for regular and two years for LTS versions. "

    I understood this part, that is, the difference between the "regular"/routine updates, versus a whole new version of ubuntu (liike 12.04lts) what I meant what that this same program "UpdateManager" has (when there *is* a new version of ubuntu) has an "upgrade to 12.04LTS" button in the very same dialog box that has the button to "check for updates" and the button for "ok" to the usual (routine) upgrades..I just means that based on what you said, I should have said "no thanks" to that button (to using UpdateManager to get 12.04) - and to instead use ubuntu.com as you suggest now - to get 12.04 (and also *not* to say "no thanks" to the routine updates) Well I got in safe mode and if it blows up in my face I'll post here or try boot from cd...let me try the ubuntu.com url you gave..crossing fingers..
    I have always heard that LTS to LTS dist-upgrade should work.

  8. #8
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    Gosh, have you "always heard" that Verizon gives perfect service too and that it never rains on wedding days, from same source?

    And gee golly thanks for the completely gratuitous insult...I should hope trolls don't stend 1/10 as much time as I have on this..I coudl suspect you're a troll (the claim that *anything* "always" works, as in 100% of the time, is not reality-grounded) or I coudl suspect that the ubuntu.com page is "trolling" me for suggesting I try the install-from-usb, only to be pointed at a page asking me to download a DOS/windows executable when I'm going from ubuntu...but you know what? I don't go making while assumptions about the motivations of people from a post of two..plus I'm "feeding" you but even replying, so never mind ;-) (no the "feeding" joke isn't assuming you're a troll, but pointing out the absurdity of arguing) I'll post update here as to how it goes

    and I'm sure this is seen as "trolling" (since no one in the country doesn't have wireless or a router at home, right?) but I don't have wireless or a router so I literally am about to unplug the dsl connection from here and plug back into the laptop so I can download the .iso and see how things go..

    will report back..

  9. #9
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    ok the safe mode seems to have gotten me a somewhat stable laptop so I don't have to keep switching back to desktop to post here but other than that I don't seem to have any
    idea what I'm doing...namely..I thought the url fantab gave, http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop would let me save to disk and double click that but it wants to save to a CD...nothing wrong from that but with everything else gone wrong i didn't want to assume my disk burner would work in this same mode version of ubuntu I'm in now...so I tried save to usb..took me to http://www.pendrivelinux.com/univers...easy-as-1-2-3/ which turns out is a DOC/windows executibe..but I'm on ubuntu...gave up and decided to let it save raw CD image or some worhds to that effect, and said ok...but it says it's 18 hours to burn and is indeed super slow with 8MB so far downloaded..I think I know why...by the time I noticed I had already clicked ok but it said something like europe...I think it thinks I'm in europe and thinks that's where the nearest place to download from...so no wonder so slow (I've downloaded much bigger things/much faster) so I tried to kill firefox and see if it asks me again and if I can choose another location...nope, didn't work....so I'm stuk with 18 hours to download a cd image...no good..I'll try to erase browsing hist/cookies, reboot again in safe mode, and try again to download and see if it gives me a choice where to download from...

  10. #10
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    Re: My laptop is possessed by demons (daemons?)

    Quote Originally Posted by harelb View Post
    Gosh, have you "always heard" that Verizon gives perfect service too and that it never rains on wedding days, from same source?
    I understand that you may be frustrated, but we are all here to help each other out. LTS to LTS are supposed to work, but if it didn't than maybe saving your data and reinstalling might work.

    Quote Originally Posted by harelb View Post
    And gee golly thanks for the completely gratuitous insult...I should hope trolls don't stend 1/10 as much time as I have on this..I coudl suspect you're a troll (the claim that *anything* "always" works, as in 100% of the time, is not reality-grounded) or I coudl suspect that the ubuntu.com page is "trolling" me for suggesting I try the install-from-usb, only to be pointed at a page asking me to download a DOS/windows executable when I'm going from ubuntu...but you know what? I don't go making while assumptions about the motivations of people from a post of two..plus I'm "feeding" you but even replying, so never mind (no the "feeding" joke isn't assuming you're a troll, but pointing out the absurdity of arguing) I'll post update here as to how it goes

    and I'm sure this is seen as "trolling" (since no one in the country doesn't have wireless or a router at home, right?) but I don't have wireless or a router so I literally am about to unplug the dsl connection from here and plug back into the laptop so I can download the .iso and see how things go..

    will report back..
    It is just my signature. It is not directed at you or anybody else.

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