[SOLVED] Dell E6320 + Mint 13 XFCE frequently hangs

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[SOLVED] Dell E6320 + Mint 13 XFCE frequently hangs

Postby SamuraiMark on Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:03 pm

All,

For as long as I have been running Mint on this laptop I have been experiencing reasonably frequent hangs and I have no idea what the cause is. The system just stops in the middle of whatever I am doing. No crash. No errors. Just stops dead and I have to power cycle the box. I do see the drive light flicker now and then when it is hung, but it is otherwise completely unresponsive. I have not tried pinging it or SSHing into when hung. I'll try that next time.

Recently I noticed one common denominator. After I power cycle and log back in, every single time without fail, the updater in the systray tells me it has updates available. So I did a little experiment. I reduced the update frequency and the hang frequency has gone down as well. So it seems these are correlated but I have no idea how to troubleshoot beyond where I am now.

Any tips would be appreciated. Is it possible the automatic update process is somehow freezing my system?

- Mark
Last edited by SamuraiMark on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dell E6320 + Mint 13 XFCE frequently hangs

Postby SamuraiMark on Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:46 am

So, whatever the problem is, it is not related to the updater. That is just coincidental.

Over the past 12 months or so I've gone from Mint 13 to Arch, back to Mint 13 and now Mint 14. I see the same behaviour no matter which distribution I am running. It seems pretty clear this is related to the hardware. I pulled my WLAN card thinking that might be the problem but no change there. There's still nothing in the logs that points to a root cause.

I allowed the BIOS hardware diagnostics run to completion, including full memory test. No failures.

My BIOS firmware is quite old. Unfortunately Dell doesn't appear to make it easy to update the firmware but I'll look into doing that. If that doesn't help then I suspect I'm stuck with this until the office replaces my laptop.

- Mark
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Re: Dell E6320 + Mint 13 XFCE frequently hangs

Postby edwardr on Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:50 pm

Could it be that your laptop is overheating? You might try installing xfce4-sensors-plugin and adding it to the notification area of your panel to keep an eye on your temperatures.
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Re: Dell E6320 + Mint 13 XFCE frequently hangs

Postby SamuraiMark on Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:16 pm

Thanks. I'll give that a shot, but I don't think it is overheating. From what I can see, overheats are logged to the BIOS. It did overheat once a long time ago. Closed the lid and stuck it in my backpack, but it didn't go to sleep. Overheated and shutdown. That event is in the BIOS logs. Nothing since.
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Re: Dell E6320 + Mint 13 XFCE frequently hangs [SOLVED]

Postby SamuraiMark on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:15 pm

Fixed by updating my laptop BIOS.
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