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I have been running Ubuntu on my Dell Vostro 1520 for a few months, and the latest 11.04 version of Ubuntu since it was released.

As of a few hours ago, my account keeps quitting every couple of minutes. The OS is still running, but I am returned to the login screen, and when I login, no applications or documents are open.

Is there a standard procedure I should follow to troubleshoot this?

When it quits I typically have Gedit, Google Chrome and the Terminal open, with a few tabs in Terminal running rails server, rails console, etc.

Many thanks,


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possible duplicate of Why does Ubuntu log out suddenly? – Jorge Castro May 30 '11 at 18:40

Is there a standard procedure I should follow to troubleshoot this?

  1. You start by looking at log files.

    • Hit super and start typing log file viewer. Logs ending on a dot and a digit are older logs. Most of these logs are specific to certain events (like boot.log only is useful when dealing with starting and stopping your system). syslog is a log file that shows system errors so is always a good start.

    • Then there is .xsession-errors in you home directory. Messages related to your GDM sessions are stored in this file. grep error ~/.xsession-errors will show lines that contain an error. There might be something useful in here. If you find anything useful/related to your problem search for it on or google (most of the errors you find will have happend to others).

  2. If it is random it might be related to your graphics card crashing your X server. Check that you have installed the recommended driver version and not the newest or an experimental driver. If this is the case it is best to check launchpad for bugs and if it is a new problem file a bug against this.

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