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Thread: After update, Ubuntu 16.04 freezes on/just before login screen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Beans
    3

    After update, Ubuntu 16.04 freezes on/just before login screen

    The initial problem
    I have a Thinkpad P51 with an Intel Core i7 that runs Ubuntu 16.04.. Two days ago (3 April) I installed a bunch of updates via the Ubuntu Software Center. After the update, a reboot was due. However, the system did not reach the login screen again - it froze just before the login screen would appear. The freeze was so complete that not even the Magic Sysreq was doing anything; turning the computer on and off again was the only option.

    What I tried so far
    I tried booting into older kernels. While my latest kernel (4.13.0-38-generic) froze repeatedly, older kernels like 4.13.0-37-generic still booted normally.One of my first guesses was that this issue is related to the Nvidia drivers, so I first tried booting 4.13.0-38-generic with the kernel option "nomodeswitch" and later switching to nouveau (using 'apt-get remove nvidia-384' under 4.13.0-37-generic). Neither helped, booting 4.13.0-38-generic ended in a freeze. At some point, also 4.13.0-37 started to freeze during boot and I was left with only 4.4.0-116-generic still booting. I tried dpkg-reconfigure on linux-signed-image-4.13.0-37-generic, but this did not make it 4.13.0-37-generic boot again.
    I checked my root partition (a logical volume on a LUKS-encrypted partition on an SSD) and my home partition (a logical volume on a LUKS-encrypted partition on a hard disk) from a thumbdrive with Ubuntu 16.04 using fsck, which did not report any errors. Also, I used the Lenovo-hardware diagnostics (built into EFI), which did not find problems with the CPU, memory or graphics card.
    About that time I read a little more and found a way to look up the recently installed packages (here) - see List of updates below.

    An important clue?
    When the system freezes, the fan gets somewhat louder, so I think that either the CPU or GPU are busy (however, the disk activity LED is permanently off when the system is frozen). I noticed that new CPU firmware was installed during the problematic update, so I tried switching back from intel-microcode version 3.20180312.0~ubuntu16.03.1 to version 3.20151106.1. This enabled me to start 4.13.0-37-generic again, so I thought I was close to a solution! However, after trying a dpkg-reconfigure with the 4.13.0-38-generic files all my kernels started to freeze just before or when bringing up the login screen (sometimes I am left with the Ubuntu logo and some no-longer-animated dots, sometimes I see a mouse pointer on a black screen and sometimes I see the login screen, but everything is frozen and not even Magic Sysreq helps).

    How I can access the system now
    1. Rescue console does not work with any kernel, I am left with a black screen before I even get a chance to decrypt my disks (one for root, one for home, encrypted using LUKS).
    2. Booting with the kernel option "text" works, I reach the emergency console.
    3. Booting a thumb drive with Ubuntu 16.04.03 works and I can decrypt and chroot to my root partition.


    My request
    Do you have any suggestions what I could try to identify the cause of the trouble and get the system running again? Of course, there is the option to reinstall Ubuntu and I know that I would keep all the files under home. Still, the system is configured in a non-trivial way regarding integration to an institute network and if possible I would avoid repeating this effort.



    List of updates
    (Most, but not all of these entries are from the update after which the freezing issue started. If I remember correctly, the nvidia* and linux-signed-image-4.13.0-37-generic packages are due to my first attempts of solving the problem, while all the other packages were automatically installed on 3 April.)

    Code:
    thunderbird-locale-en-gb
    thunderbird-locale-en-us
    libmono-data-tds4.0-cil
    intel-microcode
    nvidia-384
    libmono-system-identitymodel-selectors4.0-cil
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    plymouth
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    linux-image-extra-4.13.0-38-generic
    linux-generic-hwe-16.04
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    libssl-doc
    libmono-system-servicemodel4.0a-cil
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    icu-devtools
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    Last edited by Frogs Hair; April 6th, 2018 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Code Tags

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Beans
    4

    Re: After update, Ubuntu 16.04 freezes on/just before login screen

    I've had almost the same problem and it started at about the same time (about 3 days ago maybe). The main differences are that for me 4.4.0-112-generic is the most recent kernel to work. 4.4.0-116-generic and 4.4.0-119-generic both freeze at or just before the login. Also, for me the grub entries containing '(upstart)' and '(recovery mode)' both work. I assume that when you say that the rescue console doesn't work, you mean the option containing '(recovery mode)' doesn't let you get into a root terminal.

    Initially, changing the login manager from lightdm to sddm fixed the problem. I did this using the command (in the root recovery mode):

    Code:
    dpkg-reconfigure sddm
    and then selected sddm instead of lightdm.

    But, alas, I ran some more updates today (firefox and firefox-locale-en) and now even sddm freezes. With sddm it freezes with a blank screen except for a frozen cursor at the top left and with lightdm it freezes with a blank screen except for a frozen mouse pointer in the middle.

    My workaround now is to boot into terminal mode and then start the login manager manually. It's a pain but at least I get in. Here's what I did in case it is any help:

    1. I updated /etc/default/grub to take out the 'quiet splash' and include the following lines:

    Code:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="3"
    GRUB_TERMINAL=console
    Altogether, the file has these contents:
    Code:
    # If you change this file, run 'update-grub' afterwards to update
    # /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
    # For full documentation of the options in this file, see:
    #   info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration'
    
    
    GRUB_DEFAULT=0
    #GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=5
    GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=true
    GRUB_TIMEOUT=10
    GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=""
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="3"
    #GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""
    
    
    # Uncomment to enable BadRAM filtering, modify to suit your needs
    # This works with Linux (no patch required) and with any kernel that obtains
    # the memory map information from GRUB (GNU Mach, kernel of FreeBSD ...)
    #GRUB_BADRAM="0x01234567,0xfefefefe,0x89abcdef,0xefefefef"
    
    
    # Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)
    GRUB_TERMINAL=console
    
    
    # The resolution used on graphical terminal
    # note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
    # you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'
    #GRUB_GFXMODE=800x600x32
    #GRUB_GFXPAYLOAD=keep
    
    
    # Uncomment if you don't want GRUB to pass "root=UUID=xxx" parameter to Linux
    #GRUB_DISABLE_LINUX_UUID=true
    
    
    # Uncomment to disable generation of recovery mode menu entries
    #GRUB_DISABLE_RECOVERY="true"
    
    
    # Uncomment to get a beep at grub start
    #GRUB_INIT_TUNE="480 440 1"
    Then I ran update-grub.

    Code:
    update-grub
    2. Now it boots into a terminal although it froze once here too. To get the graphical environment going, each time I have to log in to the console, then issue the command

    Code:
    sudo service lightdm start
    and then the login manager comes up and I have to login yet again.

    It's a pain in the neck. I have an older laptop with the exact same configuration and it has no problems.

    Anyway, I hope this is of some help and I wish you luck in finding a solution.

    David
    Last edited by dga2; April 6th, 2018 at 02:02 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Beans
    3

    Re: After update, Ubuntu 16.04 freezes on/just before login screen

    Thanks for your input, David!
    Quote Originally Posted by dga2 View Post
    I assume that when you say that the rescue console doesn't work, you mean the option containing '(recovery mode)' doesn't let you get into a root terminal.
    Yes, that's exactly what I mean.

    My system is now booting reliably again, without a clear indication of what was wrong. What I did was booting into the emergency console using the kernel option "text", manually setting up my internet connection and then as root performing (typed from memory, might contain errors)
    Code:
    apt-get update
    dpkg --configure -a
    apt-get install -f
    apt-get install --reinstall nvidia-384
    apt-get install --reinstall plymouth
    .

    Plymouth, which was broken before these actions, did not work properly afterwards (i.e. every other boot hung at an early stage, but a restart with Ctrl+Alt+Del worked). Since I disabled plymouth via GRUB, every boot was successfull.
    Both 'dpkg --configure -a' and 'apt-get install -f' returned quickly and did not produce output that looked like any problems had been detected.This leaves the reinstallation of the nvidia drivers as the most likely reason for the cure - which is strange, as I had tried that before without success.

    Well, let's see whether the problem comes back.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Beans
    3

    Re: After update, Ubuntu 16.04 freezes on/just before login screen

    After weeks of daily use without problems, the freezing is occuring again. This time, I did not install any updates before the problem came up. After switching from dedicated graphics to internal graphics using the Nvidia Settings Manager I tried to log out, which left me with a working mouse cursor on blank background. I switched to the text console and tried to reboot using shutdown, but this did not work because of a problem with systemd-sleep. Hence I had to do an emergency sync using SysRq+S. After that I turned off the laptop by pressing the power button for sevetal seconds. Since that point my system freezes whenever it brings up the login screen after booting.

    Things that I tried but did not help:
    1. The steps listed in #3
    2. Uninstalling the Nvidia drivers and related software (Prime, Settings)
    3. Installing nvidia-396 from the graphics-drivers ppa
    4. Booting with "Dedicated graphics" selected in the BIOS instead of "Hybrid graphics"
    5. Reinstalling Xorg as described here.


    Any ideas what else I could do?

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