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  1. #1

    Random, brief system hangs

    Once every hour to two hours, an application will randomly just freeze for about 3-4 seconds. It's really noticeable with the web browser and my media player since I use those the most. However, it's usually just one application. And the mouse still works.

    I was running Arch Linux until about a week ago and it had the same problem.

    I was thinking that systemd could be a common denominator, but that is just speculation.

    Really though, I'd really like this not to be a hardware issue... Currently / is on an SSD and /home is on a hard drive. If it were a hardware failure, I would think the most obvious part to blame would be the SSD since all of my programs run on it.

    I was considering installing DSL on the hard drive and running that for a while to test out the SSD and systemd hypotheses, but I would like to avoid doing that before asking the forum's opinion.

    Has anyone encountered this? What are your opinions on what to blame?


  2. #2
    Linux Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Turtle Island West
    What is SSD and DSL? Who to blame? Republicans? Perhaps it's all those left handed midget acrobats I've been hearing about. They're always making trouble. Or maybe your system goes into swap mode for a couple seconds because it doesn't have enough RAM for what you are trying to get it to do.

    Only a guess.

    Peace and Cheer.

  3. #3
    Many apologies.

    SSD=solid state drive
    DSL= damn small linux
    Who is to blame= those damn Communists... I meant hardware or software.

    I hadn't considered that... but I have 6gb of ram. I would think that were enough. I believe my swap is 4GB also.

    Currently my memory usage is hovering around 28%

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    Such issues can sometimes be difficult to track down.

    If you haven't done so already, try to determine what precesses are running at the time of the hang, then disable them one by one to see if the issue stops. You might be able to use 'top' to proceed with this. Watching the top output, you might find that some process is utilizing large chunks of cpu, or mem. If you have unused options enabled in your system bios, you could try disabling them to see if that makes any difference.

    Try disabling any non-essential hardware to see if that helps. Something else you could try is running a distro or two from a liveCD (that runs from RAM after loading) to see if the hangs continue. Sometimes, disconnecting

  6. #5

    I've been watching top for a while and during the hangs, nothing drastic happens with the output. I guess I will load up a live cd and run off of that for a while.

    I'm mostly worried that this is some bigger issue than a software one, or even just a storage media one. I would hate for a more-difficult-to-replace part to be the culprit.

  7. #6
    Linux Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Turtle Island West
    Did the problem just start recently, or has it been happening from the beginning? Solid State Drive sounds awesome, I've wanted one for a while but they're pricey. And I know when I'm doing big writes to a flash drive, the transfer goes, goes, goes, then hangs for half a minute or so while the flash drive catches up. But thats just the transfer process, it affects nothing else.

    And yeah, you seem to have RAM and SWAP to spare.

    Now, when you say 'system hang', does your mouse pointer still move, or is the system completely paralysed?

    I have one box that has a 5V supply issue on the mobo. Bad voltage regulator or something. When I plug USB things in, it hangs. But you can keep it going by leaning on the control key. It seems every key repeat allows one more processor cycle to get through. It fixes itself on reboot, but doesn't just snap out of it after a few seconds.

    I tried Damn Small Linux and found it highly wanting in many regards, and lacked many proper drivers. I'd try a different distro or Live CD like Oz said, and see if the problem goes away. If so, most likely a driver issue. If you're looking for a fairly small but effective distro, I found Precise Puppy Linux did everything I wanted, and can fly off a 2G USB stick no problem.

  8. #7
    Well it happened in the middle of my Arch installation and from the beginning of my Fedora install.

    I love it so much... I actually had to replace mine because it was having some problems. I don't think the hanging and the change in SSD coincided, but I could be wrong.

    It is only one program which hangs at a time, and seems to be restricted to just what that program is doing. If VLC has a problem, the thing it's playing halts, but the mouse still works and the web browser still browses.

    I don't seem to have any hangs when I specifically plug anything in.

    I'm not to sure it would be good to immediately blame the drivers though if I don't have the problem with the live cd. I would think it could also be one of the drives. That's why I was thinking about installing a smaller system just on the hard drive, to isolate the SSD.

    Now, if the problem persists, I have no idea what I would check next. If I don't get anything halting on the live CD, I'll install something on the hard drive and check that. Do you think a live Fedora CD would work fine? And technically, it wouldn't be a CD, I would be using a usb drive. I don't think that would be an issue though.

    Ideally, I would be able to migrate back to Fedora eventually...

  9. #8
    Well, I tried the Live USB and for the 30 minutes or so, I didn't experience any hangs. I am pretty sure I would have experienced one in that time frame.

    I decided to just start the SSD RMA process with Crucial, but they had a suggestion for a fix that I should try first.

    They said those problems are consistent with dirty bits (I think that's what they said...) and that I should initiate garbage collection by either booting into the BIOS for a laptop or just plugging in the SATA power cable to the SSD for a desktop and letting it sit for 6-8 hours.

    And... it did nothing. So, I'm going to resize my partition on the hard drive and install Fedora on there for a bit, to both test for hangs independent of the SSD and to act as a temporary system.
    Last edited by hayjude99; 12-19-2012 at 07:00 AM.

  10. #9
    So, I'm running on the hard drive installation of Fedora and it seems to be working fine. I guess it was the SSD. Thanks for the help anyway

    EDIT: NOOOOOOOOOOOO, it has started hanging again :/
    I'm going to try the live USB again and make sure that isn't hanging too.

    And then after that, replace the hard drive, I suppose... any alternative suggestions?
    Last edited by hayjude99; 12-20-2012 at 03:37 AM.

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