I have two laptops with Ubuntu 10.04 installed. One of them had a problem; I was not sure if it was a hardware or software problem. Sometimes it would suddenly start working extremely slow (it needed a few minutes to open an application, such as a terminal window) and afterward the screen would become grey and inactive. After some time (5-10 minutes) it would start to work normally again.
I've installed Ubuntu 11.04 on an external drive. In the beginning it was working fine, but after some time (quite short) the same problem began to appear when the computer was running the system installed on the external drive. So I thought it was a hardware problem.
Yesterday I had to switch off the computer using the power button, since the problem persisted for at least half an hour. Since that time the system on the external drive has been completely broken; when I'm trying to boot the other computer with the system on the external drive, even GRUB doesn't show up (even after waiting about 20 minutes). When I boot the computer with the internal system, it can see the external drive partitions.
I was thinking that maybe that problem was connected with a virus; I've scanned the computer where the problem appeared with clamav, and found nothing.
Thanks for any tips.
P.S. The computer in question is Acer AS 3810T. CPU: Intel Core (tm)2 Solo processor SU3500(1.4GHz). RAM: 3GB DDR. Video card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500M HD
The external drive is ADATA HDD NH92.
Here are the screenshots showing the use of processor (on the panel) and System Monitor window (I'm not sure, but I think that there is something strange here, on the first screenshot the indicator of the use of processor is all blue and System Monitor doesn't show bigger use of processor):
The slowing down doesn't happend when I'm doing something which demands more of processor of memory use. Just from time to time.
Processor speed is set on "ondemand" and it's varying from 800 MHz to 1.4 Ghz.
It seems that it is the memory which is exessively used in the broken computer. The other one (Acer Aspire 2920Z; CPU Intel Premium Dual CPU t2370, 1.73GHz; RAM 2.0 GB), while exactly the same applications (at least the software that I run, I don't know about background processes) are in use, uses much less memory - the first one 95%, the other 60%. Applications used at the moment: two web browsers (Firefox and Chrome) and music player.
I have now on the top panel sytem monitor's indicators of use of CPU, RAM, system load (?) and swap. In the moment the system freezes first 3 of them are full (show 100%). Swap stays with the margin use, just few %. When it freezes I'm not able to check which process is taking most of CPU and memory, since no window works and either the muse coursor is blocked, or it mooves around the screed but doesn't make any effect. In the moment it freezed I had only the web browser open, but I was not using my computer at all, I just saw the screen loosing colours.
Since I've removed antivirus (clamav), the system is no longer freezing, but still it happens (without any visible reason) to slow down. I don't know if the antivirus was the reason (one of the reasons), since I've removed it I was not using my computer a lot.
I've done memory test by memtest, no errors.
Quite often in the top of the list of processes using the most CPU is flushplugin-installer. Should't I use Firefox? I thought it's not an application demending a very fast processor...