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I'm having a bit of instability lately, and while I've given up on fixing it (I thought I'd broken something irreparably in Quantal so I wound up upgrading to Raring for lack of any better ideas, so I have to live with a little bit of instability for now), it occasionally (once a week, often when I'm on a Skype call) happens that X stops refreshing, but all process continue to run properly in the background (music will keep playing until it reaches the end of a file, Skype continues to work, ssh processes keep going).

Is there any way for me to get X to start responding again at times like this? Normally I'd just let everything run out as best I can and then hard reboot, but I'm wondering if there's any way I can save it. Ctrl+Alt+F1 doesn't seem to have any useful effect -- it gets rid of X on one display, but I never get an interactive shell back.


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marked as duplicate by Eliah Kagan, Thomas W., Seth, hhlp, con-f-use Mar 7 '13 at 10:04

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

I've even resorted to sshing into the machine from another one I have handy to try to kill processes, while it isn't responding to local input... – serilain Mar 6 '13 at 22:05
What do you mean you never get an interactive shell back? What do you see when you press Ctrl+Alt+F1? – Eliah Kagan Mar 6 '13 at 22:11
I see the output from the terminal immediately prior to starting x (e.g. apache stuff), but I never get a $ prompt. – serilain Mar 6 '13 at 22:12
Try Ctrl+Alt+F2 instead. What happens then? – Eliah Kagan Mar 6 '13 at 22:18
well, nothing now -- it seems that the keyboard and mouse stopped responding a few minutes after the display locked up (note that this doesn't always happen). for the time being I've gone in and scp'ed out a file I need to work on, so that I can avoid hard rebooting the machine while the ssh process completes. – serilain Mar 6 '13 at 22:23

Well, I managed to address my primary disincentive for hard rebooting -- I had a (long) ssh process running on that machine which I'd failed to nohup, but I needed a file from the machine to work on. Managed to take control of the process via an ssh connection from a different machine, and scp'ed the relevant file off meanwhile. Whee! Not the best solution, but at least I got to use my Linux brain.

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