Lately, this has been happenly far too frequently.

I am running Ubuntu 16.04 on Lenovo X220 with an 960gb SSD added by myself.

Lately, virtually, every other day, while coding, my system goes crazy, i.e., the hard drive activity light switches on and the cursors stops responding to mousemove. The system fan speeds up (audibly).

Applications wise, always, I have around two browsers open (Firefox Dev version, Chrome or Opera), Atom editor, terminal with javascript node processes running on live server.

I have tried waiting for the system to get back to normal, however, most of times, I just give up after 10min or so and hard-switch off the system.

My questions is, what is the correct action to take, should I just leave the system as it and go away, hoping it will get back to normal after 30min or so? Or Is hard-switch off the right thing to do under the circumstances?

  • I feel you should take the access via ssh or telnet in such a scenario and check the running processes to find out which application is causing the issue. Apr 15, 2017 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


Looks like some process is running wild and grabbing all of your system resources. I would try to switch to any of the text-based consoles (Ctrl+Alt+Fn). On Ubuntu 1-6 are text based and on the 7th your xserver runs, e.g. Ctrl+Alt+F1 should be good.

If you can manage that, you probably can run top or similar to check for resource hogs.

If you're not too concerned about data loss, you can kill the offending process using the PID you got from top.

But this is just the cure for symptoms. You should note the offending process and do some more research why it suddenly runs rogue.

  • thank you, I have made a note of these steps and will action them next time. Any questions, will post back here.
    – Kayote
    Apr 15, 2017 at 20:31
  • how does one get back to Ubuntu GUI once in the bash screen? I get stuck there :)
    – Kayote
    Apr 28, 2017 at 15:04
  • 1
    @Kayote You just hit Ctrl+Alt+F7. Your GUI session is running on the virtual terminal 7 as just another application. That is called the xserver or X11. Apr 28, 2017 at 20:48

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