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Currently running 12.04 LTS and I find that on a fresh install the system reboots when using Unity or Gnome, but runs stable when using Xfce.

This piqued my interest as to why this would be? How does Xfce differ from the other two? Specifically, how does it differ with regard to the graphics drivers? Logically, the drivers should be completely independent from the DE, but most sources seem to indicate that the culprit is the gfx drivers. So the question becomes two-fold:

  • How does one go about diagnosing a problem like random restarts?
  • Why would it not crash under Xfce, but under Gnome and Unity?

System Info:

  • Release 12.04 (precise) 32-bit
  • Kernel Linux 3.5.0-23-generic
  • GNOME3.4.2
  • Xfce4.8
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Very true - i am sorry. I was just frustrated at the situation and then have someone show up and down mark a question without a comment was very aggravating. – wmdvanzyl May 30 '13 at 6:35
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Replaced the motherboard - issue resolved. I suspected it might have something to do with the interaction of the motherboard with the graphics card, but i couldn't understand why the issue would pop up under Gnome and Unity, but not Xfce. It might have something to do with the drivers or perhaps the strain on the system. Either way, replacing the motherboard completely resolved the issue.

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I suppose i could change the question to: "Why does my computer randomly restart?" Since it was a hardware issue, the OS details are less important. Should i change the question? – wmdvanzyl May 30 '13 at 6:37
I think you can leave it as is.... I think your speculation about the reasons for unity vs. xfce is reasonable. – belacqua May 30 '13 at 13:40

Was it a Toshiba laptop? I have a random shutdown problem due to CPU overheating. XFCE likely uses less processing power than gnome, so CPU not always running flat out. I fixed it (under unity) by changing the processor mode to "ondemand"

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No it wasn't a laptop. XFCE is definitely "lighter" than some of the other desktop environments, albeit less popular. I have found that most of my issues under Unity or Gnome are related to graphics drivers, since Xfce ops to go with the default drivers and thus side-steps the issue. In this specific scenario swopping the hardware solved the issue, but i have no idea why. – wmdvanzyl Nov 24 '13 at 17:02

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