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My recent installation 10.10 on my laptop keeps freezing/crashing on start-up after working perfectly for one day.

The system just freezes, like a screnshot, and a restart is required. It happens directly after login or just as any application is selected.

Nothing new has been installed. I have just moved from XP so I would be very grateful if some one could please explain to me, as simply as possible, how to do the following...

  1. How to diagnose the problem so it can be fixed, remember it may have to be before the log in.

all help is greatly appreciated.

share|improve this question
Welcome to the Ubuntu community, you should split the "diagnose the problem" from the "system restore" into different questions, they are not related, this site is better used with one issue per question. – João Pinto Dec 31 '10 at 14:22
I am taking this as the crash question, you need to be more detailed, how does it crash ? does it present an error, black screen, etc ? – João Pinto Dec 31 '10 at 14:23
I have split the question as you have asked. – Rick Dec 31 '10 at 15:41
up vote 3 down vote accepted

When i have a problem like that i normally do the following:

  1. In the grub menu select the RECOVERY MODE
  2. When the blue menu appears select to run as root in the terminal/shell
  3. When you login in the shell as root type dmesg to see any problem of devices when you were loading the system.
  4. To see a more specific summary type cat /var/log/syslog which will show you EVERYTHING when you were loading the system.
  5. You can add | less to the command above like this cat /var/log/syslog | less so it shows you the info and you press down or up to see the output and press Q to quit.
  6. If everything shows good type startx which will start the gui desktop for gnome where the actual problem appears to be.
  7. startx will mention what problem he is having in the terminal so you can fix it.
  8. If by some chance the computer gets stuck when loading startx press CTRL+ALT+F2 or CTRL+ALT+F3 (OR F4,F5,F6) and type in your login user and password. Then type ps -ex so you can see the ID for gdm process or startx and just killall -9 startx / killall -9 gdm or kill -9 ID or whatever process it was loaded when you started startx. This way you will the process and the system is not stuck anymore.

With that you have dmesg, cat /var/log/syslog and startx to see where the problem is. At least for a quick look.

Let me know if it helps somehow. This is just a quick check for problems.

share|improve this answer
I have checked the logs, i cannot find a thing. Whats strange is that when I log in through the text console the crash seems to give me extended time. Instead of crashing after start up it crashes about 1 or 2 hours in. Is there really no easy way to diagnose a problem on ubuntu. I'm really, really disappointed. – Rick Dec 31 '10 at 20:02
@P102 - It actually depends on the problem. For example if you have a hardware failure that is not related to ubuntu or any other OS because it is a hardware failure (Like you CPU burned or something). You could verify if it crashes 2 or 3 more times at the same time (every 1 or 2 hours). If the time is less everytime you might have a cooling problem. If they time is the same you might have a service that is making the problem (using cron every hour or 2 hours). This are just some examples. – Luis Alvarado Dec 31 '10 at 20:05
I must admit I'm kinda stuck, I really do not want to crawl back to using XP, but at least I wont receive random crashes. The thing is when my laptop works ubuntu is wonderful, fast, looks beautiful and ultra responsive. The more I use it the more repulsive going back to XP seems to be. I have had cooling issues on this laptop before, and the logs say something about overheating plus the laptop is pretty old. right now its working perfectly and I'm confident that I will find a solution based on what you have said so thanks. – Rick Dec 31 '10 at 20:27
Just saying something out of the ubuntu world. Try to have the laptop with a LOT of space below it so it does not create a hot oven under it. Most hear problems are because the laptop has a nvidia card that creates tons of heat AND the laptop does not have enough space to push out all that hear from below. I always recommend laptop users to have it in an angle that has enough space below it for the heat to come out. – Luis Alvarado Dec 31 '10 at 20:35

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