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Ubuntu 10.10 starts to have mini freezes every 2 seconds. If I am typing in any sort of input (for example the terminal or a text field in Firefox or a text editor), I can type a few letters and then the entire OS will freeze for about half a second and I will lose focus. I can then (if I'm quick) click back into the input and continuing typing before it freezes again.

This will continue until I try and do something like close Firefox, kill/start a process from the terminal or save my work from a text editor. At that point the entire system locks up and I have to force the virtual machine to close.

I only experience this if Ubuntu has been running for some time with a minimum of roughly 1 hour. I am running Ubuntu as a guest on Virtual box (version 4.0.4) from inside a Windows 7 host. Windows itself does not freeze or become inoperable at all during this time.

The only thing I can do is to restart Ubuntu and get as much work done before it decides to freeze again. Very frustrating.

What steps can I take to solve or further troubleshoot this problem?

Update

Following Takkat's instructions, I was already doing the following:

  • Had VT-x/AMD-V enabled
  • Latest version of virtual box
  • Guest additions installed
  • Disabled 3D acceleration
  • Enabled nested paging
  • RAM set to under half of total system RAM (3GB out of 8GB)

In addition, I did the following:

  • Disabled screensaver in Ubuntu
  • Reduced cores from 2 to 1
  • Increased Video memory

This seems to have completely fixed the problem. Thanks!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Freezes are generally hard to debug because your system becomes unresponsive then. This is even more the case when the cause of this could be anywhere

  • a problem of the host OS (Windows 7),
  • the guest OS (Ubuntu 10.10),
  • or from Virtual Box.

From your descriptions we can only guess what might be the cause. In your case the system slows down before freezing, indicating problems in memory management, or from applications that eat up the CPU power you gave your virtual environment.

In the Ubuntu guest you can find out if an application causes this by running top in a terminal (or if you prefer a GUI in System -> Administration -> System Monitor -> Processes) to list CPU and memory usage of individual processes.

Other valuable informations on problems, or error messages from applications can also be found in the .log files that can be viewed with System -> Administration -> Log File Viewer.

If you had suspicious findings there don't hesitate and edit your question to include these informations.


Sometimes it can help to increase the performance and stability of the guest OS with different settings (most can be done in the Virtual Box Manager GUI after a shut down of the guest OS):

  • disable screensaver in the guest OS
  • enable VT-x/AMD-V (if your host system can do this)
  • regularly update Virtual Box to current stable version
  • install Guest Additions
  • disable 3D acceleration
  • increase video memory
  • allow more RAM
  • but avoid to allow more than 50% of total system RAM
  • use one CPU core only
  • enable or disable Nested Paging
  • try using another audio driver (or disable audio)

Settings in bold are recommended in any case. The other points are suggestions on what you can try out to improve the performance of your virtual Ubuntu.

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