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Thread: Occasional Complete System Freze

  1. #11
    tea for one is offline Iced Almond Soy Ubuntu, No Foam
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    Does this laptop have an M2 SSD or a 2.5" SSD?

    From the freezing description in your original post, it seems similar to something I have experienced with an M2 2280 NVME SSD.

    I also intermittently had a completely frozen PC, unable to Ctrl Alt T for the terminal and also unable to access tty.

    I had to use REISUB to power off but this also taints the EFI (FAT32) partition, which then had to be tidied up with a file system check & repair.

    Fortunately, I have two drives in this PC and cloned my system to an older 2.5" SSD and the freezing does not happen any more.

    I sent the NVME drive back to the supplier 7 days ago and they haven't yet replied.

    Have you contacted Starlabs yet to see if they are aware of any faulty drives?

  2. #12
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    Quote Originally Posted by tea for one View Post
    Does this laptop have an M2 SSD or a 2.5" SSD?

    From the freezing description in your original post, it seems similar to something I have experienced with an M2 2280 NVME SSD.

    I also intermittently had a completely frozen PC, unable to Ctrl Alt T for the terminal and also unable to access tty.

    I had to use REISUB to power off but this also taints the EFI (FAT32) partition, which then had to be tidied up with a file system check & repair.

    Fortunately, I have two drives in this PC and cloned my system to an older 2.5" SSD and the freezing does not happen any more.

    I sent the NVME drive back to the supplier 7 days ago and they haven't yet replied.

    Have you contacted Starlabs yet to see if they are aware of any faulty drives?
    Sorry I don't know the answer to that. It just states '240GB Over-Provisioned SATA SSD'

    So I suspect not NVME, but don't really know.

    Contacting starlabs support is next on my list. Thought I'd ask here first though in case someone came up with a cunning diagnostic that pinned it to either hardware or OS. I'll also run a smartctl test as suggested by TheFu.

  3. #13
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    Quote Originally Posted by maglin2 View Post
    I will figure out how to get cpu temp displayed continuously though. I suspect that will be far more of a challenge with gnome than it was with kde.
    Conky is good for that. It can query all kinds of stuff (or run arbitrary things) and draws the result onto the desktop. The things you're interested in are easily accomplished with conky objects.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  4. #14
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    Quote Originally Posted by maglin2 View Post
    inxi just relates to fixed properties as far as I know, journalctl does cover the freeze period, so I guess you are referring to top and free? I don't how I would get top or free to autostart, log an iteration every so often to a text file, and delete all but the last few to keep space used reasonable. I'll ponder it!
    By the way firefox was running for top - it goes by the process name Mainthread I think for some reason
    Yes. inxi is the system-info in a minimal format. For example:
    Code:
    Seagate model: Star Drive SATA SSD
    Tells us it is an SSD, using the SATA connection, not NVMe, from Seagate. I wouldn't read too much into this. Lots of the SSD makers sell to other storage vendors who don't actually make SSDs. I think there are only 4 SSD manufacturers in the world, so all the others are re-branded.

    Didn't think my firefox doesn't show up as "MainThread", so that's new to me. The process table for some firefox processes on my desktop:
    Code:
    tf       22887 22624  1 Aug30 pts/2    00:20:20 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 6 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 56 -prefMapSize 545346 -parentBuildID 20200818235255 -appdir /usr/lib/firefox/browser 44 true tab
    tf       22918 22624  0 Aug30 pts/2    00:01:25 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 7 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 56 -prefMapSize 545346 -parentBuildID 20200818235255 -appdir /usr/lib/firefox/browser 44 true tab
    tf       22949 22624  0 Aug30 pts/2    00:05:37 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 8 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 56 -prefMapSize 545346 -parentBuildID 20200818235255 -appdir /usr/lib/firefox/browser 44 true tab
    tf       23063 22624  1 Aug30 pts/2    00:30:57 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 9 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 6527 -prefMapSize 545346 -parentBuildID 20200818235255 -appdir /usr/lib/firefox/browser 44 true tab
    tf       29618 22624  0 Aug30 pts/2    00:00:39 /usr/lib/firefox/firefox -contentproc -childID 10 -isForBrowser -prefsLen 7271 -prefMapSize 545346 -parentBuildID 20200818235255 -appdir /usr/lib/firefox/browser 44 true tab
    But top does show MainThread and PaintThread --- hum. People should be shot over doing things like that. Obfuscation of process names cannot be tolerated.

    Quote Originally Posted by maglin2 View Post
    I agree - though 20.04 does run really pretty well. More significantly it's for my wife, and it is, I think, the most attractive and user friendly Ubuntu interface for a novice (and frankly disinterested) user. When it doesn't freeze she's delighted with it! 5 year support is another plus - reduces the change frequency. Her only OS experience before this was a chromebook - which was simplicity itself and totally bombproof, but is now AUE. May yet have to buy another though.
    I might try her with Xubuntu or Lubuntu if I do a reinstall.
    Everyone has different tastes. Ubuntu-Mate is nice. I'm an LTS-only user and the Gnome3 variant is the only DE w/ 5 yrs of support. There are lots of other DEs, just with 3 yrs. I don't use any DE - fvwm is my WM, but it has been crazy stable for about 20 yrs and highly customizable.

    Just to change the GUI, there's no need to reinstall the OS. The GUI is NOT the OS, it is just another program or suite of programs. Installing a different DE is 1 apt install, logout, pick a different DE from the "gear" icon, then login. The trick is to use a different userid for each DE so settings don't conflict between DEs that are using the same underlying support libraries. So, XFCE and Mate and Cinnamon are all gnome2, so using a different userid for each why you try them out would be smart. Actually, I'd do that with any Gnome-base DE. For KDE, LXQT also uses the same Qt libraries, so I'd use a new userid while testing each of those. The safe answer is to always create a new userid for testing any DE ... but if you move to just MW-based GUIs, say openbox or fvwm, then we don't need to worry about settings clobbering each other.

    Skip this story:
    I have 2 Chromebooks. Only used ChromeOS for a few weeks before wiping. I found it much to frustrating to have nearly an ultrabook, dumbed down to the point that it couldn't connect to any of my network storage AND Google would push patches with no way to stop them. At the time, I was doing lots of international travel. Got a new OS the night before a long trip to Asia. Opened the chromebook in the airport and it was bricked. I wasn't going to have internet for a few weeks, so google totally screwed me. Canonical is doing that with snaps, though the keep 3 copies around for each snap package to mitigate that ... but on a system with 16G of total storage, snaps that are 900MB in size for a 32MB program are just too wasteful to be considered at all. Snaps are supposed to make life easier and more secure. They've failed at both for my needs. Sadly, a few programs I want and one that I must, must, have are only available as snaps now, so I can't purge them and just not use it.

    I think the best answer right now based on the problem description is to increase the swap to 4.1G. That would really be disable swap and create a new swap of the correct size, then enable it. mkswap is the command to format a block device as swap. In theory, with a 1G swap, you could add 3G more in a separate file, then add that using mkswap, edit the fstab, and sudo swapon -a, but who wants to have 2 swap devices/files to manage. Also, if you have a spinning HDD internal, I'd put the swap on that, not the SSD. Remember, the goal of swap is to let the user "feel" the system getting slower so she can take action to close extra programs.

  5. #15
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    The laptop has one SSD only (it's only 11", so there's not a lot of room). Anyway, I suspect there is no chance that the user would treat a longer 'system slowing' symptom from having more swap as anything other than a prompt to press keys repeatedly/more vigorously.

    The other suggestion of a different user ID running a different DE has more promise for diagnosis I think.

    I'll install panel widgets showing cpu temps, RAM use and swap use. Then a screen freeze will at least leave a visible signal of any prior overheating or out of memory.

    (I'll look into conky on vanilla Ubuntu first though - it's not something I've ever used, but I see there's a whopping thread about it, so a lot of folks must).

    I ran the short disk test with smartctl - it found no errors.

    Thanks again to all.
    Last edited by maglin2; September 1st, 2020 at 10:05 AM.

  6. #16
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKiller View Post
    Conky is good for that. It can query all kinds of stuff (or run arbitrary things) and draws the result onto the desktop. The things you're interested in are easily accomplished with conky objects.
    Can conky display be configured to be always on top of other windows and fully transparent (other than text)?
    Thanks

  7. #17
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    Quote Originally Posted by maglin2 View Post
    Can conky display be configured to be always on top of other windows and fully transparent (other than text)?
    Thanks
    Yes. Giving it the above window hint (rather than below) will put it on top of all other windows. Transparent with visible text is the way that most people have it, I think.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  8. #18
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    Thanks.
    Conky works, but I think looks really messy on top of a scrolling browser window.

    I've gone for a panel applet approach using gnome flashback for now. Temperatures, cpu load, RAM and swap use are all now displayed in the panel. If there's another freeze I'll hopefully get a bit more of a clue as to what's going on.

  9. #19
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    There is also GKrellM System Monitor to watch those parameters.

  10. #20
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    Re: Occasional Complete System Freze

    Quote Originally Posted by maglin2 View Post
    Thanks.
    Conky works, but I think looks really messy on top of a scrolling browser window.
    Well, putting it in top was your idea.

    I have mine drawn on the edge of my desktop, rarely covered because widescreen monitor.

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