When I go to the Desktop and click on a media icon (for my flash drive, a CD, whatever it is), the following problems occur, in this approximate sequence:

  • Nautilus will close if it's open.
  • the desktop icons disappear
  • my Window List shows a button that says "Starting File Manager"
  • the icons reappear
  • the button in Window List disappears

Because of this problem, I can no longer drag and drop media, nor can I right-click to perform actions such as "Eject" and "Safely Remove Drive".

The same symptoms occur if I click a media icon (that is also present on the desktop) in Nautilus' Computer view, though notably not if I click in the places list on the left.

I have confirmed that this problem happens only if there is a CD in the drive (Matshita UJDA360).

Also, inserting a disc into the CD drive appears to kill all running programs and restart Nautilus (or X; I'm not sure). Applications like Brasero and Rhythmbox will not start while there is a disc in the drive. Removing the disc doesn't result in the list of media updating; it must be forced to update by clicking on one of the desktop icons and going through one of the above-described cycles.

It doesn't seem to matter what type of disc is in the drive. This has happened with CD-RWs I burned years ago using Roxio on Windows XP, the Ubuntu disc I installed from (burned with InfraRecorder Portable under Windows XP), and the retail game disc for Star Trek Armada II.

The first indication of a problem was Brasero dying when I tried to insert a disc for erasure and rewriting. Since then, I've drafted several different questions on various issues, finally combining them into this one when I realized that having a CD in the drive was the common link.

Could this be a simple driver issue? If Ubuntu is dynamically detecting my hardware on boot, can I specify drivers for devices that I know will be a problem if the default files are used?

I'm beginning to think that my laptop, an old Dell Inspiron 2650, is just too old or proprietary-driver-hungry (or something, maybe RAM-starved) for Ubuntu and Windows XP to play nicely alongside each other. Or maybe I just need to carefully take my wall-wart machine to a coffee shop for an afternoon so I can download updates and such from the Internet, as I lack a home connection.

tail /var/log/messages

$ tail /var/log/messages
Feb 14 02:17:19 Ubuntu2650 kernel: [   27.997962] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: Allocating FIFO number 1
Feb 14 02:17:19 Ubuntu2650 kernel: [   27.999175] [drm] nouveau 0000:01:00.0: nouveau_channel_alloc: initialised FIFO 1
Feb 14 02:17:22 Ubuntu2650 kernel: [   31.042600] EXT4-fs (sda5): re-mounted. Opts: errors=remount-ro,user_xattr,commit=0
Feb 14 02:17:25 Ubuntu2650 kernel: [   33.352617] EXT4-fs (sda5): re-mounted. Opts: errors=remount-ro,user_xattr,commit=0
Feb 14 02:17:39 Ubuntu2650 pulseaudio[1281]: ratelimit.c: 2 events suppressed
Feb 14 02:18:27 Ubuntu2650 pulseaudio[1281]: ratelimit.c: 1 events suppressed
Feb 14 02:18:36 Ubuntu2650 kernel: [  105.189977] show_signal_msg: 9 callbacks suppressed
Feb 14 02:18:36 Ubuntu2650 kernel: [  105.189989] nautilus[1463]: segfault at a349000 ip 04fdb446 sp b33d5f90 error 4 in libbrasero-media.so.1.2.0[4fca000+21000]
Feb 14 02:18:48 Ubuntu2650 kernel: [  116.282854] nautilus[1486]: segfault at 85cb000 ip 01c1c446 sp ae706f90 error 4 in libbrasero-media.so.1.2.0[1c0b000+21000]
Feb 14 02:20:06 Ubuntu2650 kernel: [  194.935572] nautilus[1557]: segfault at 9b59008 ip 03ea2446 sp af024f90 error 4 in libbrasero-media.so.1.2.0[3e91000+21000]
  • Added output of tail /var/log/messages run just after the Nautilus crash issue manifested itself. – dgw Feb 15 '11 at 22:52
  • Well, it's been a while since you asked and no replies. I think anyone would need more information. Can you glean what's happening from log files, or post results? sudo tail -f /var/log/messages Are errors being written to the log file as the problem happens? What are those errors? What about other files - ~/.xsession-errors and /var/log/syslog or others? – user8290 Feb 15 '11 at 23:28
  • Obvious additional questions: what Ubuntu version, what kernel version, did you run latest updates? – Olli Feb 20 '11 at 15:36
  • Tagged question with version. Kernel 2.6.35 IIRC; not at the machine right now. Last updates were run in January, I think. I'll add those to the question when I confirm. – dgw Feb 25 '11 at 2:40

I'd say this was failing hardware, although the segfaults are nasty too. If the CD drive suddenly becomes unconnected then you can get all sorts of weird problems. Check the cables, check it on a LiveCD boot (because it'll show a lot in that if it is hardware)

  • When I did a LiveCD boot, it always ended up crashing after a variable period of minutes. Could that be another indicator of a hardware problem? Also, this is a laptop, so checking the cables is difficult, pointless, or both. Nevertheless, I appreciate the answer! – dgw Apr 22 '11 at 0:29

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