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Thread: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

  1. #1
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    Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    Hi, I don't think that I'm a complete beginner any more - maybe pre-intermediate! - but I need serious advice just now.

    I installed 18.04 on this dual-booting desktop a couple of months ago. I had put 20.04 on there, but was having problems getting a graphical add-on to work (Cairo Dock, to be specific), so reverted back to 18, where I knew at least that it worked. Things were mostly fine to start with, but in the last couple of weeks I've been seeing some quite frustrating behaviour. I see the "problem detected" popup quite a lot, especially just after restarting, but don't know exactly what the problem(s) is/are. I guess that I would like to know where to look in order to investigate properly myself.

    It's not just minor annoyances - there's serious instability there. Quite often the screen freezes in the middle of doing things, and there's no response to mouse or keyboard, so all I can do is hit the power button. And nobody likes doing that. Other dodgy behaviour: certain apps have been failing to open sometimes - most commonly Spotify and Skype, but it also happened to Chromium for a while (in fact I've now got two instances of Chromium installed because of that, which is a bit confusing). Most disturbingly, though, I'm getting failed starts where I have to run fsck on the drive to check for errors. Thankfully I'm learning a bit from all this, and am able to get back to the login screen, but of course I don't want it to be doing that all the time (well, it's happened at least a few times already).

    So - what do I do about this? Where do I go to check log files, and which needle will I be looking for in that haystack? And is it all worth it? That is to say - should I just accept that I'm going to have to upgrade to more recent versions if this particular system is so unstable? And if so, is the upgrade process guaranteed to go smoothly given what has been happening? I've seen problems with upgrades in the past. In the worst case, I've got the home directory backed up, plus a package list.

    Enough for now. Thanks very much for any help

  2. #2
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    When you see the problem detected popup, you should see Details on the left side of that window with a drop down arrow which should give you some information. Have you checked that? Log files are under the /var/log directory. What results do you get from running fsck on your partitions?

    so all I can do is hit the power button.
    Don't do that, you are likely causing additional problems. Try the method below:

    Holding down Alt and SysRq (which is the Print Screen key) while slowly typing REISUB will get you safely restarted.
    And if so, is the upgrade process guaranteed to go smoothly given what has been happening?
    You're kidding of course? You don't get guarantees like that for software you pay for so you certainly won't get it for free software.

  3. #3
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    Hi, thanks very much for the swift reply :~)

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    When you see the problem detected popup, you should see Details on the left side of that window with a drop down arrow which should give you some information. Have you checked that? Log files are under the /var/log directory.
    Yes, I sometimes look at those messages, but haven't been taking screenshots, or writing anything down. I'll try to do that the next two or three times, and will come back with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    What results do you get from running fsck on your partitions?
    Not quite sure what you mean there. I've only run fsck when I was stuck at startup and desperate to get things going again, and didn't write anything down.

    I just tried running fsck on the terminal, but got scary warning messages about causing severe filesystem damage, so of course I didn't execute anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    Don't do that, you are likely causing additional problems. Try the method below:
    Yes, OK. I've never heard about any of that. Of course I wasn't happy hitting the power button.

    Thanks anyway. Is this info all correct?

    https://www.thegeekstuff.com/2008/12...gic-sysrq-key/

    They're saying "REKSUB". I guess that was just a typo from you? I don't quite know what they mean about enabling the SysRq key. I don't see it on my keyboard, which is designed for Windows of course. Should I assume that it will be on the PrintScreen key once it's enabled?

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    You're kidding of course? You don't get guarantees like that for software you pay for so you certainly won't get it for free software.
    Ha, OK, fair enough :~) I guess I was kidding *myself, and hoping, in the face of evidence that I've already seen to the contrary.

  4. #4
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    Update (plus one thing that I hadn't mentioned)

    This is the popup that I get. Very limited - no arrow to check details (I do remember that that is what is supposed to happen, but that's not what I'm getting :~/ )


    Apart from that, I just had a system freeze, and did the ALT+SysRq thing, which caused the system to restart (only at the last letter, I think). After restarting, I got a total black screen responsive to nothing at all, but with the computer still on, so all I could do was turn the thing off

    I forgot to mention, by the way, one other important thing that has been happening. When I restart (not only when there's a screen freeze) it takes FOREVER, telling me that there are all kinds of stop jobs and processes that need ages to sort themselves out. Of course I can't wait half an hour for this every time, and so if there isn't a fix that I can find by looking through those logs, which are of course overwhelming for someone at my level, I think I'm going to have to reinstall, am I not??? Probably not with this version if it's so unreliable :~/
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    If you click "report problem ..." it will show exactly what problem that is.

  6. #6
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    Quote Originally Posted by monkeybrain20122 View Post
    If you click "report problem ..." it will show exactly what problem that is.
    I do, and it doesn't. Unless I'm supposed to be looking somewhere? In which case, please tell me where. Thank you.

  7. #7
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    They're saying "REKSUB". I guess that was just a typo from you?
    No, it is REISUB and is explained in more detail at the link below.

    http://blog.kember.net/articles/reis...linux-restart/

  8. #8
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    No, it is REISUB and is explained in more detail at the link below.

    http://blog.kember.net/articles/reis...linux-restart/
    OK, thanks. Well, I can confirm that that doesn't work. I had a massive system freeze a few minutes ago, and none of that worked, so I had no choice but to turn the whole thing off. Of course I don't want to do that, but what else can I do? I can also confirm that that should have worked. I tried it while there was no kernel panic or whatever it is, and it did indeed work - made the computer restart in the normal way. I can only assume that means that the system loses any contact with the USB ports when this freeze happens. But what do I know - I'm the beginner here.

    Anyway, look..... This thing is totally messed up for me. I currently can't get into Ubuntu at all. Getting this:



    I tried running fsck -yf nvme0n1p3 (ie on the drive in question), and nothing happens apart from getting this message:

    fsck from util-linux 2.31.1

    Of course I have no idea what I'm supposed to do about that.

    Anyway, it's just getting worse all the time. Shortly before this happened, I got a message upon logging on, telling me that the root filesystem is almost full. The root system is on a separate partition from home, so it's not my files or downloads clogging it up. I don't have that much heavy stuff installed on there either, so I don't know what that's all about. The partition is 60GB, which should be ample, shouldn't it?

    Currently back on Windows, and not happy at all to be here, as I was in the middle of a load of jobs and learning. Please advise!
    Last edited by heatopher2; September 7th, 2021 at 03:18 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    Why 18.04 ? Why did you not go for 20.04 which is also LTS...?

  10. #10
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    Re: Instability in Ubuntu 18.04

    Quote Originally Posted by ActionParsnip View Post
    Why 18.04 ? Why did you not go for 20.04 which is also LTS...?
    I could indeed, and if you read my first post in full you will see that I explained why I installed 18.04, and then that of course I am considering giving up on it and going to 20.04, because this current state of affairs is getting pretty tiresome, besides obviously being unproductive. However, I'm afraid that your question doesn't really help me with my immediate problem :~)
    Last edited by heatopher2; September 7th, 2021 at 05:04 PM.

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