My Compaq PC with Ubuntu 12.04 used to work as it should when all of a sudden, the screen (along with the rest of the system) kept either freezing or crashing.

By freezing, the screen keeps stuck where it was. No mouse or keyboard shortcut can get it back to life.

By crashing, the screen shows a blur decomposition of whatever was showing before or, some other times, a black background with a whole pattern of short slopped lines on top (I describe as I am not allowed yet to put up images). No response neither to any shorcut keys.

Manual power off is needed before restarting. Sometimes then, the boot screen shows up distorted with vertically ligned-up whitw dots over the blue background (its a typical HP boot screen). The system won't start nor do nothing. Power off and unplugging is needed to be granted a new try. Sooner or later it restarts and boots normally.

Apparently random, looks though like it happens when massive resources are about to be used: at video/flash web sites (Chrome and Firefox), opening email manager (thunderbird), or just starting up.

All this happened sooo often with Ubuntu 12.04 and 13.10. Now I use a light Lubuntu and Midori as the browser, and it has happened just a couple of times in the past week. Which I can live with...

Anybody got any idea of what the reason can be? Ubuntu vira? Too old (5 years-old) hardware? Too many partitions for dual boot with Windows Vista (which by the way stopped starting up before all this happened on Ubuntu)? Windows vira spread over partitions???


  • 2
    Doesn't sound like software... I would investigate CPU and GPU temperatures as a first step.
    – GabrielF
    Jan 5, 2014 at 16:09
  • Try with a different graphic controller (driver). It happened to me before and what I did was to choose a different graphic controller, now things are ok.
    – user123492
    Jan 5, 2014 at 20:49
  • Thanks for the ideas, they really help you believe there must be some explanation. Now I also feel its something with the graphic controller. I couldn't make thru to the GPU temperature (different commands didn't work). But I did see there's lot of NVIDIA inside and I have no specific NVIDIA releases installed. I see a lot of Xorg driver versions in Synaptics for NVIDIA: 173, 304, 310, 319,... Which one would you recommend to use?
    – PetaZeta
    Jan 6, 2014 at 20:01
  • VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation C61 [GeForce 6150SE nForce 430] (rev a2) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
    – PetaZeta
    Jan 6, 2014 at 20:01

3 Answers 3


I definitely think to have solved the issue. After a row of clean installs and upgrades, one out of the several former problems remainded alive.

Now and then my PC would freeze: clear image of the screen but no response to any input device.

As it had a random appearance -though somehow connected with big, normally graphics-related CPU demands- and was even worse with Windows (no start up at all) I decided to stop thinking "digital" and going analog, just applied generous amounts of contact cleaner to CPU, RAM and anyother chip complex enough to show those tiny, thight to each other pins. They can as well stop conducting from micro-dust accumulation as falling into shortcut due toi humidity.

IT WORKS! Some days after the cleaning (I usde CRC 2-26) and a series of really brutal stress test to my computer, it has never frozen again -may it work slower during the test, as natural.

So, for all of you getting sudden unexpected freezings, give up messing around with your O.S. beyond what's reasonable and do an exhaustive dust and contact cleaning.


It sounds like the ISO you used to install Ubuntu may of been corrupted upon download. I recommend backing up all of your important files to a USB or removable HDD, then simply re-download an Ubuntu ISO, and install a fresh clean install. I know its worked for me in the past, and hopefully it works for you!

  • Thanks JBuch, I tried a fresh installation of 13.10 and crashes keep coming in a new way thoug: not randomly anymore, but always right after loggin in. So, Ithink I'll check out the nvidia theory above.
    – PetaZeta
    Jan 6, 2014 at 20:09

I would do a clean OS install and install the proprietary drivers for your graphics card and update the OS via update manager.

PS: Is your BIOS version the latest? Did you upgrade or clean install Ubuntu?

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