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What should I do when Ubuntu freezes?

So my computer has lately started freezing completely when I run some programs that, in the past, would work great.

What I am unsure about however, is what logs that are available to me that could help me track down the issue after a reboot?


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marked as duplicate by jokerdino, nitstorm, theDefector, Thomas W., Ringtail Nov 13 '12 at 1:16

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

First run said software in the Terminal, and see what it throws, –  Uri Herrera Jan 6 '12 at 8:02

3 Answers 3

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If you are running gnome, then you can check the logs using "gnome-system-log" tool, type


in the run dialog.

and check the syslog in the left hand side.

if you want to check the log using terminal,

then do,

tail -f /var/log/syslog
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If the whole machine is locking up, off the top of my head, these are the likely causes:

  • Overheating. You don't need logs to determine this, but fingers :)
  • GPU lockup. Is it an OpenGL (3D) application, and you don't normally run those? While locked up you should be able to ssh into it from another machine.
  • Thrashing. Does the hard drive light go on steadily when it locks up? Something is using too much RAM.
  • Other hardware problem. Run a memtest and/or another OS...
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"my computer has lately started freezing completely when I run some programs"

What are those programs? The answer to your question is heavily depend on those "some programs" Anyway, check


/var/log/kern.log Optionally you can use dmesg command to view kernel messages to check if something is wrong during boot process.

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