I have Ubuntu 11.10 installed and am using GNOME 3.2. I am left with no other option than to restart gdm or to reboot the system, when GNOME freezes.

GNOME freezes at times when resuming from suspend and every time I search in the dashboard, inspite of having GNOME 3.2 compatible theme installed.

Is there any option to restart shell from tty? Or is there any other solution to recover from the freeze?

  • Actually can I ask if when everything freezes you're still able to move the mouse or is mouse movement prevented as well? – Dason Oct 31 '11 at 18:16
  • I am able to move the mouse and login to the tty. – Vivek Oct 31 '11 at 20:06
  • This question should instead be filed as a bug report, thanks! Instructions here. – Jorge Castro Apr 26 '12 at 2:39
  • To me it only seems to happen if there are a lot of opened windows. – DanMan Feb 26 '14 at 9:24

Try switching to another tty (Ctrl-Alt-F1), login, then at the prompt type:

gnome-shell --display :0 --replace

Then switch back to the GUI (Ctrl-Alt-F7).

Also, are you sure its actually frozen? I have a problem where the password dialog isn't visible after the screen locks. Its actually there though and if you blind type your password and hit enter the screen unlocks. You might want to try that first.

  • 1
    this worked for me, but it was easier than what you describe. just Alt-F2 and type that command (I used :0.0), or even better put it in a ~/bin/thaw script. – mariotomo Sep 9 '17 at 0:23

Typically when gnome-shell fails to respond you can do 1 of two things:

  1. Alt+F2 and if you get a dialog for executing commands type restart
  2. Ctrl+Alt+F2 to switch to terminal console 2 (tty2), login and try killing gnome-screensaver and/or restarting a replacement gnome-shell with: pkill gnome-screensaver switch back to tty7 ( Ctrl+Alt+F7) to check your Gnome screen, if not, go back to tty2 and gnome-shell --display :0.0 --replace & (which was suggested before by steve and msdin respectively)

If both fail, then you need to restart your display manager (gdm, lightdm, kdm). Typically: sudo service gdm restart

  • 1
    +1 for saying :0.0 instead of only :0 in the 3rd option. It worked for me. – Davisein Jan 4 '14 at 22:40
  • pkill gnome-screensaver worked for me – Mihai Alexandru Bîrsan Nov 18 '14 at 13:50

I have been having a similar problem. When screen saver / lock is supposed to engage, instead the screen freezes (showing what the screen was showing prior). The mouse is enabled, but cannot see a login box. I haven't tried what is suggested by msdin (typing password blind). But the following did work for me, from Earl C Ruby III:

To unlock a locked-up desktop:

  1. Ctrl-Alt-F1 will give you a text-based terminal login.
  2. Log in with your user name and password.
  3. Type: “killall gnome-screensaver”
  4. Ctrl-Alt-F7 to get back to the (now unlocked) Gnome 3 desktop.

I've had a similar problem. I'm not sure if the only workaround I've found will work for you but it's worth a try.

I switch over to tty1 (Ctrl+Alt+F1) and log in which hopefully you can do. If you can't even switch then your problem is worse than mine! But assuming you make it that far I've found that putting the computer to sleep and bringing it back up again at least makes the computer responsive again. It's really not an ideal solution. But to do this

cd /etc/acpi
sudo ./sleep.sh

After that just hit the power button to bring it back up. If you switch back to your graphical terminal (Ctrl+Alt+F7) things might be responsive again.

Not ideal but it's better than a full restart especially if you had important stuff not yet saved.

I haven't yet found what is causing this otherwise there could be hope for a better solution. Somebody in the thread I linked to suggested that gnome-screen-saver is causing the problems but killing it after a freeze didn't fix anything and killing it at the start of a session didn't prevent a freeze for me.

  • Thanks for ur reply. I am able to switch over to tty when gnome freezes. So I will definitely give it a try. – Vivek Oct 31 '11 at 17:18
  • I tried this method. But after resuming from sleep, when I try switching back to GUI from tty, I am stuck up with the black screen with some messages. I am not able to make it up to the GUI. – Vivek Oct 31 '11 at 20:06
  • What do the messages say? – Dason Oct 31 '11 at 22:03
  • At times I am getting the black screen with messages, but at some times I am able to switch to GUI but with no luck. I get the same screen with gnome freezed as before. – Vivek Nov 1 '11 at 6:17

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