All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

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Ryvius
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All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by Ryvius » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:21 pm

Dear Mint Community,

I have a strange problem with my desktop computer, in that it seems that all Debian derived (And therefore also all Ubuntu derived) distros freezes randomly. All other distros (Opensuse, Mageia, Manjaro etc.) does not have this problem. I have not tried Debian itself since it seems incapable of supporting two monitors.

I currently have LMDE2 MATE installed, which I also installed at the same time on my laptop which ran 17.2 KDE before. Laptop has always been running perfectly.

The freezing seems completely random to me, and my system becomes totally unreponsive. In the past, I could sometimes REISUB to a reboot, but that doesn't even seem to work any more.

Possible faults I can think of is a sub-optimal arrangement of my RAM. I have three different sticks of 4GB modules installed (only recently upgraded from two sticks) of different manufacturers. I also have two old hard drives plugged in, while they work fine one has some bad sectors. But if it was a hardware fault, I would think that other OSes also froze, so I'm guessing it's something in Debian.

I have been using Linux for almost three years now, but I don't know how I should debug this. I guess I should look in some log files, but I don't know where they are and what I should look for.

So I hope that you guys can help me.

Here is my thread when I asked for help in the Ubuntu forums: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2246846

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xenopeek
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by xenopeek » Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:45 pm

I see no mention here or on that other thread about what you have investigated so far. When a freeze happens, what actually happens?
- Does the screen go black, show a kernel panic, freezes everything (like video) but you can still move the mouse cursor, or what exactly?
- Do numlock and such keys still respond (does the indicator light on your keyboard change state).
- Can you still switch to a virtual console (using Ctrl+Alt+F1 through F6).
- If you can access a virtual console, have you investigated process states (using ps, top, whatever) and looked at dmesg output?
- After recovering from a freeze, have you investigated your /var/log/syslog (or syslog1) file around the exact time of the start of the freeze for relevant messages?
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kevinthefixer
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by kevinthefixer » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:31 pm

Another quick suggestion: just use one RAM stick, or just two that match. 4GB is plenty of RAM for anything short of intensive gaming, even in a resource-hungry OS like Windows. My LMDE installation typically uses 700-750 MB of RAM; there is no advantage to overkill here, and there may well be a serious problem with mismatched latency in different RAM sticks. And it won't cost anything to take all but one out and try it.

Ryvius
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by Ryvius » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:49 am

The screen freezes. Mouse cursor too.
Can't change Numlock and can't go to a virtual console. Can only hard reset the machine.

Pastebin of my syslog: http://pastebin.ca/3267351
As I said, I have no idea what to look for. The freeze happened at 13:44.

At the moment, the freezes seems to happen during browser usage, and happens after opening a new tab or something like that... I guess I can try with just one RAM stick, I do game a bit sometimes though so I would prefer to have more than 4GB.

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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by kevinthefixer » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:34 am

Another thought: are you sure this only happens with Debian-based distros? Not in Windows, or say Arch or Puppy? Awhile back I had a similar problem on a desktop with a Pentium dual-core, and it turned out that the thermal paste had attacked the processor heatsink (which was aluminum). New heatsink, new paste, no more problem. I'm sure the same effect could be reproduced by dust buildup or a bad processor fan.

Ryvius
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by Ryvius » Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:23 pm

Yes. I ran Windows for years on this machine. I've run Opensuse without any problems for months. My cooler is a big ass Noctua tower, and temperatures are fine.

Ryvius
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by Ryvius » Sat Dec 05, 2015 4:06 pm

After going down to only one RAM stick I've had a freeze free period, but then it just froze now in the middle of a game...

Is there any chance of getting any help with this? I don't have any idea what to do... What should I look for in the log files?

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austin.texas
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by austin.texas » Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:34 pm

It may be helpful to test the live Mint DVD or USB to see if the problem occurs there.
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kevinthefixer
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by kevinthefixer » Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:56 pm

How RAM-intensive is your game? Seems like changing the RAM setup made a difference. Have you done a memtest?

I believe I'd ask Santa for a couple of matched RAM sticks. With heatsinks.

Ryvius
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by Ryvius » Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:31 pm

I can try to see if I can make a persistent USB setup. I think I've had this happen with two different SSDs, so it probably can't be that either.

The game is XCOM and I've measured up to 1.1 GB memory usage. I did run Memtest a long time ago, not on the 3rd stick however. I'll run some more.
As much as I love the Debian family, I'd rather just install something else than getting new RAM...

Ryvius
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Re: All Debian derived distros freezes on my desktop

Post by Ryvius » Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:14 pm

I'm giving up on creating a persistent USB media. Not only does it seem excessively difficult to create from within Linux (the built-in Image Writer prevents the creation of a persistent partition by messing up the block sizes, and apparently that's not even a bug), I do not have a USB stick large enough to install XCom on, which is what causes the most freezes.

Any last ideas?

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