I have the late-2009 model of the iMac (with the latest version of Lion) and I use a rEFIt CD frequently to switch from OS X to Ubuntu and vice versa. Ubuntu 12.04 is installed on a partition of an external hard drive and the rest is used as a Time Machine.

I've noticed recently that at times, Ubuntu will suddenly freeze everything on the desktop except for the mouse. When this happens, I can unplug the external hard drive and nothing happens; the mouse (Bluetooth) continues to function, but clicking or hovering over anything makes it useless. At this point, I have to manually hold down the Mac's power button and reboot to the rEFIt CD. I've installed the graphics driver it needs and at this point, I can't see what could cause it to freeze like this. Should I just file a bug, or does anyone have any workaround suggestions to unresponsiveness? Thanks in advance.

EDIT it appears that after installing 'nvidia-current,' I have not experienced freezing issues. I'll update this post if it freezes again.

  • Just out of interest is your iMac Running Lion or Snow Leopard? – LinuxBill Jun 20 '12 at 22:45
  • @WilliamFleming It's running the latest version of Lion – Ethan Lee Jun 20 '12 at 23:26
  • Is Refit supported on Lion? I know it was for snow leopard, I had it on my old MacBook..wasn't sure if you could use it with Lion. Might need to get this working when I get home. – LinuxBill Jun 21 '12 at 9:00
  • @WilliamFleming I just use a rEFIt CD and hold down the C key when it boots up. I haven't really installed it in Lion if that's what you're asking. – Ethan Lee Jun 21 '12 at 16:14

If the driver re-installation seems to provide a long-term fix, please disregard this; but external devices can sometimes be unreliable because of cabling problems. If the cable connectors (on the cable, the computer, or the disk) are worn, the connection may be a bit loose, causing unreliability. A cable's wires could also be damaged because of a heavy object having been placed on it, a pet nibbling on it, or whatnot. Thus, as a general rule, replacing the cable should be one of the first things you try when you have problems with an external disk. Similarly, taking any USB hubs or extension cables out of the equation is generally worthwhile.


It seems that installing the NVIDIA drivers from their website has provided the fix for this problem. Thank you for your help!

If you need help installing NVIDIA drivers, it's worth starting here: How to install drivers for NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 on Precise

Thanks again!

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