Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

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kosa
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Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by kosa » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:10 am

Disclaimer: I'm not sure whether I should post this one here or under another category, since this is my first thread here, other than the one where I introduced myself that is. Here goes:

Lately I have been experiencing system freezes with no prior indication. That usually happens when I run several programs in parallel. When that happens, sometimes I am left with only my mouse cursor moving but not responding in left/right clicking, while other times the mouse cursor freezes up too. In any case and with a lot of patience on my side, the problem resolves on its own and my computer resumes functioning after some time. The browser of my preference is google chrome. I prefer chrome over chromium because I migrated on linux mint from Windows where I had set up chrome with the extensions of my preference and I wanted to keep using them without having to find alternatives for firefox, although believe me, I tried to A LOT to get used to using firefox as my primary browser after years!

Anyway, usually the problem occurs when I am trying to open a new tab in chrome or after I have just clicked on a link and am redirected there. The last time a system freeze happened was minutes ago. At that time I was concurrently using the following programs: google chrome, skype, two instances of nemo file manager, two instances of the terminal, one idle filezilla with one tab and gedit. The two instances of nemo I have because I am working in two different directory paths at the same time. The first instance of the terminal I have because I create or remove directories and/or files in /var/www/html. The second instance of the terminal I have because I used it to launch chrome from within the CLI in order to track google chrome errors, if any. Admittedly the latter has not helped me out much. In chrome I usually have 10 to 20 tabs open at the same time, 5 of them at most being youtube links waiting to be watched or playing back (one at a time) if that makes any difference. Finally my internet connection quality is very good, being a VDSL 32 Mbps with the actual down/up speeds varying between 18˅/2^ Mbps wireless and 26˅/2^ Mbps wired.

Below I include the results of running inxi -F in my terminal:

Code: Select all

System:    Host: kosa-VPCS11X9E Kernel: 3.19.0-32-generic x86_64 (64 bit) Desktop: Cinnamon 2.8.8
           Distro: Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa
Machine:   System: Sony product: VPCS11X9E v: C1043Z0Q
           Mobo: Sony model: VAIO Bios: INSYDE v: R0310Q3 date: 09/30/2010
CPU:       Dual core Intel Core i3 M 330 (-HT-MCP-) cache: 3072 KB 
           clock speeds: max: 2133 MHz 1: 1066 MHz 2: 1066 MHz 3: 1066 MHz 4: 1866 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller
           Display Server: X.Org 1.17.1 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1366x768@60.0hz
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Ironlake Mobile GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 10.5.9
Audio:     Card Intel 5 Series/3400 Series High Definition Audio driver: snd_hda_intel
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k3.19.0-32-generic
Network:   Card-1: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 driver: iwlwifi
           IF: wlan0 state: up mac: <filtered>
           Card-2: Qualcomm Atheros AR8131 Gigabit Ethernet driver: atl1c
           IF: eth0 state: down mac: <filtered>
           Card-3: Qualcomm Sony Gobi 2000 Wireless Modem (QDL mode) driver: qcserial
           IF: null-if-id state: N/A mac: N/A
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 1000.2GB (13.4% used) ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD10JPVX size: 1000.2GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 431G used: 121G (30%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 3.95GB used: 1.20GB (30%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda5
RAID:      No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 48.0C mobo: N/A
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 244 Uptime: 7 days Memory: 2813.0/3627.2MB Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.2.28 
Also here is the result of running inxi -m

Code: Select all

Memory:    Array-1 capacity: 0 devices: 2 EC: None
           Device-1: SODIMM1 size: 2 GB speed: N/A type: DDR3
           Device-2: SODIMM2 size: 2 GB speed: N/A type: DDR3
I am open in any kind of ideas and suggestions! Thank you in advance.
Last edited by karlchen on Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: camouflaged the MAC addresses in the Network section of the "inxi -F" report

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phd21
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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system FREEZING

Post by phd21 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:15 pm

Hi "kosa",

I would recommend using the results from running "inxi -Fxzd" which will not disclose any secure information, like your network interfaces Mac Addresses. I would edit your original post and erase the Mac Addresses.

System freezes can be hard to diagnose because there could be many reasons for this, bad system memory modules (Ram), physical errors on the hard drive, very low on hard drive space, running too many applications at one time without enough system memory (Ram), etc...

There is a program called "swapspace" you can install from the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM) which can help prevent system freezes when running too many applications for the current amount of system memory your computer has; but, when you run over your available system memory, then it will work slower because it is using hard drive space as virtual memory.

Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 18.3 & 19, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by karlchen » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:46 pm

Hello, kosa.

Here is an old-fashioned troubleshooting approach:
Reading the system generated logfiles and inspect them for error messages which
+ have been logged at the time a system freeze occured
+ might point to some hardware problem, driver problem, kernel problem
/var/log/syslog is a good starting point.

Regards,
Karl
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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by kosa » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:06 pm

I would like to thank you "phd21" for pointing out my mistake and helping me be more careful next time. I would also like to thank you "karlchen" for taking care of the editing on my behalf. And thank you both for responding so soon!

I started by installing all the level 5 updates that where available in update manager, but haven't noticed any performance difference so far, nor have I experienced any system freezes as of yet either. Would it be any helpful upgrading to a newer kernel version next? If so, which one would you recommend me to install? I forgot to mention in my initial post, that not only does my system freeze when running chrome, but occasionally it also freezes when I'm trying to navigate around the file manager, say jumping from directory to directory. Another occurrence of a system freeze is when I try to close a window. What happens then is the following: I click on the little "x" to the far right upper corner of the current window and it seems as if my click is not registered so I end up clicking the "x" a second time. Again nothing happens but then after some time has passed the current window closes and then the window that was "behind" it closes too. The reason I'm pointing out these two separate cases, especially the latter one, is because I wanted to make it clear that it's not only a problem of memory-hungry processes freezing the system, but also simple ones like running or killing a file manager...

The strange thing is that only lately has the OS decreased in performance. It used to run exceptionally well from day one and for some months time, while having more than 30 chrome tabs open did not use to be an issue. As of disk space, that must not be a problem since there are currently more than 300 GB free disk space available. Is there a way for running a check for physical damage to the hard disk?

As for examining the log files, is there an easy way to search for errors?

Thanking you again,
kosa

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by kosa » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:11 pm

Ok, earlier today I noticed my system freezing repeatedly. At that time I was using four applications in total. The first one was google chrome with some 5 or 6 tabs open. All the tabs were pinned and about half of them were also suspended. Then I had another instance of chrome, only that one was in incognito mode. That instance had open about 8 tabs, one of them, the most memory-hungry one, was google adwords. There was one more memory-hungry tab open; that one had a youtube video waiting to be watched. Then I had one instance of nemo open and one skype session in chat mode only.

Then I had the bright idea of running free -h just out of curiosity. I was not prepared for what I faced! It seems all my memory is used up by just that many applications running simultaneously! :(

Code: Select all

free -h
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          3,5G       3,4G       174M       282M        16M       480M
-/+ buffers/cache:       2,9G       670M
Swap:         3,7G       2,1G       1,6G
I believe the main cause of my problem is my browser. But just to confirm that, is there any command that could help me determine which applications drain all my memory out?

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by kosa » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:06 pm

Ok, yesterday I found 4 + 4 GB of ram lying around so I replaced the 2 + 2 GB I had installed in my laptop. Then rebooted the system and everything seemed to work flawlessly. So now, at the time of this writing, I am currently running the following:
- chrome with 6 tabs pinned. One of the tabs is gmail inbox (idle), three tabs suspended (by the great suspender chrome extension), one tab running forums.linuxmint.com, and the last tab running linuxjourney.com
- chrome incognito with 4 tabs. One tab in google adwords, one tab in google keyword planner, and two tabs in ubersuggest.io
- one terminal (idle)
- one instance of nemo pointed at some random path
- one instance of skype in chat mode (no audio or video)

Then I needed to know how much memory my system was using. Please note that, however, I didn't experience any system lag whatsoever. Therefore I ran free -h again and the result was the following:

Code: Select all

free -h
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          7,5G       6,0G       1,4G       439M       218M       2,6G
-/+ buffers/cache:       3,2G       4,2G
Swap:         3,7G         0B       3,7G
As you can see, I have 6 GB out of a total 7,5GB being used without doing much. Of course that explains why my laptop was suffering until yesterday, but it does not address the one big question.

WHAT CONSUMES SO MUCH MEMORY!?

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by phd21 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:21 pm

Hi "kosa",

You are welcome ...

Why not run the "System Monitor" from your menu (might even be in your system tray panel in lower left) and you can sort by column heading, like Memory, CPU Usage, etc... You can also right click an item for more options. In my Linux Mint KDE 17.3 system it is called "Ksysguard" (System Monitor) and it is located in the System Menu which I always add to the system tray panel if it is not already there. FYI: In my system Firefox usually takes up the most memory because I have a lot of Tabs open, appx: 50-90 tabs open.

Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 18.3 & 19, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by kosa » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:45 pm

I came up with what I was hoping I would not! Chrome shows up in there 21 times in total! Of course I understand that because of the way chrome is built, every tab is considered as a task of its own. Therefore had I 10 tabs running, I would at least theoretically have 10 chrome instances in system monitor. However I am not having 21 tasks running at present, so why do I have 21 instances of chrome in system monitor. An instance of chrome ( chrome --type=zygote ) uses as little as 164,0 KiB of memory and then there are other chrome instances that use as much memory as 613,5 MiB (btw that is at the top of the whole list).

From top to bottom I have chrome showing up three times as an application, each using 613, 600, and 352 MiB of RAM. In number four there is chrome again, only this one, unlike the former three, has the official chrome icon. This one uses 211 MiB of memory. Then I have cinnamon taking up 147 MiB and skype with 137 MiB then some more chrome instances (6 or 7) using anywhere from 120 to 50 MiB of memory. And from there downwards the amounts of memory continually drop.

I read the system generated log files as per "karlchen" 's suggestion, but could not spot any error nor warning rows in there.

So I guess it must be chrome's nature of draining my system off of its memory?

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by phd21 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:34 pm

Hi "kosa",

1.) Browsers & Memory: There are ways to reduce memory usage in your browsers:
- like installing Tab add-ons (plug-ins, extensions) Tab Mix Plus for Firefox, Tree Tab, etc... and or in setup and configuration options making sure that all the tabs are not automatically loaded during browser startup until you click them.

- I have found that "Ad Block" or "Ad Block Plus" have lately been using much more memory than they used too. So, I recommend removing those, and installing "ublock origin". Some of the newer browsers and their updates already have built-in ad blocking, like "Opera", so no need to install another ad blocking add-on.

- tabs displaying multi-media content, YouTube, News wesbites, etc... will use more memory, so bookmark them (one or all), or store them in some tab add-on until needed.

- I found that the "Opera" browser is more memory efficient (& faster) on my system than other browsers, even though I still use Firefox the most. I do have the excellent Google Chrome browser installed as well, now that I have a 64-bit computer. Tip: I use the V7 add-ons with Opera including "stash" tabs until needed, tab vault, etc...

- There also numerous "copy tab(s)" add-ons where you can copy tabs to memory, bookmark them, or store them, even email a list to yourself for reference, then close all those tabs you are currently not using at the moment to reduce memory.

- "Disconnect" is another good add-on for Firefox, not sure if it (or something like it) is available for other browsers.

2. Optimize your Linux Mint system:

Speed up your Mint! (Great Linux website)
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/3

3.) View Memory usage:

5 commands to check memory usage on Linux
https://www.linux.com/blog/5-commands-c ... sage-linux

Linux Check Memory Usage
https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/linux-check-memory-usage/

Understanding memory
http://careers.directi.com/display/tu/U ... tilization

Reduce your Linux memory footprint, A few tweaks can boost performance
https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/libr ... ux-memory/

Tips for Optimizing Linux Memory Usage
https://www.linuxjournal.com/article/2770

Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 18.3 & 19, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by kosa » Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:59 pm

Hey, I didn't have a chance to reply earlier, sorry about that. I wanted to thank you for all the links and suggestions. I will have to do some reading first, before I get back to you in full detail. :D

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by peterldg » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:17 am

I think the easiest thing to try would be editing your swappiness: https://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/998

I had a very similar issue with my hardware. When the system wrote to the swap file it would sometimes freeze. I changed swappiness from the default 60 to 10 and everything is silky smooth.

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by kosa » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:02 am

Hi and thanks for the input.

Unfortunately, in my case, I had already done that before I decided to ask here for help. Although it can have helped others in the past, it did not change significantly the way my system responded.

I'm still reading and still testing out things. :)

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by ColdBoot » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:49 am

Have you also tried disabling the "Use prediction service to load pages more quickly" under Privacy settings? It is trying to preload the links found in active page and sure is eating some memory and bandwidth. You may also try disabling all the "Usa a web service..." settings and see how it goes.

Besides, with 32Mb/s connection, do you really need to keep 10-20 tabs open at all times, 4 of them being buffering videos, which also eat memory significantly. I mean, It loads any page instantly....

Last, how about creating a folder with your favourite bookmarks and loading them only when needed in a single tab and noticing what impact it has on memory use and your workflow?
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Intel G1820, DDR3 8GB, Nvidia GT720(2GB)

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by qwertyblahblah » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:37 am

Disable hardware acceleration in Chrome

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Re: Mint 17.3 & chrome - system freezing

Post by kosa » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:16 am

Ok, it's been some time since my last post. I have tried most, if not all, of the above suggestions, but did not make any real difference. Especially disabling the hardware acceleration caused some major screen tearing while playing back video content or while quickly scrolling up and down.

What seems to have worked so far, is my trying to use the computer in a different way. That basically means introducing firefox to my browsing the internet. It would have been ideal if I could put chrome aside 100% but unfortunately I can't. My biggest complaints about firefox are two and I'll just mention them here without going into full detail, otherwise I would not only go off topic, but off hardware support category too. My biggest complaint is its lack of previewing check-box elements in web pages. This seems to be a gtk related bug ( https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1262136 ) :( The second complaint I have is a minor one, but a complaint nonetheless. It's the way it displays errors such as error 500. Basically it just shows a blank page with not much into it, whereas chrome displays the number of the error.

Fortunately I can at least have firefox handling the biggest load of my browsing (that is a big number of tabs simultaneously open) and then I have chrome with no more than 10 tabs open, but those tabs are work related, so I can turn them off when the work is over and it does not hang my computer.

At least now my memory usage percentages have dropped significantly! Having my usual tabs open in firefox plus the usual programs running, only consumes a big fraction of the memory chrome used to consume for the same tabs. Plus firefox only shows up once in the system monitor, whereas chrome occupied more than 20 rows in there!

Last but not least, I see cinnamon consuming up to 550 MB of memory each time I open system monitor. Is that a lot or not for a desktop environment?

I do not consider this problem solved yet, but rather as a temporary alternative solution.

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