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I recently installed Ubuntu 16.04 on my laptop and have been having issues with it freezing almost daily. As the title says, things will grind to a halt, moving the mouse will become extremely lagged and I'm unable to use the keyboard except sometimes to open tty.

More often then not although tty starts loading I'm not able to sign in - either it won't proceed after I enter my password or it will never even prompt me to login, just sit blank with a blinking cursor.

A few times it has worked but even once I get there I don't know enough for what to look for and so every time this happens I have to do a hard restart.

My only thought is I didn't setup a swap partition because my understanding was it was bad for an SSD plus not needed since I have 8 gigs of RAM.

Any ideas on what could be causing this or how I could troubleshoot the problem next time it happens?

Edit

Here is the info from /var/log/syslog right before and after the last time it happened (right before I posted this)

Before Shutdown

Jun  8 19:19:55 laptop kernel: [  700.970090] [drm:intel_pipe_update_end [i915]] *ERROR* Atomic update failure on pipe B (start=41680 end=41681) time 153 us, min 1192, max 1199, scanline start 1189, end 1200
Jun  8 19:20:25 laptop kernel: [  731.128472] [drm:intel_pipe_update_end [i915]] *ERROR* Atomic update failure on pipe B (start=43488 end=43489) time 158 us, min 1192, max 1199, scanline start 1189, end 1201
Jun  8 19:22:59 laptop com.canonical.Unity.Scope.Applications[1448]: Error loading package indexes: Couldn't stat '/var/cache/software-center/xapian'
Jun  8 19:22:59 laptop com.canonical.Unity.Scope.Applications[1448]: (unity-scope-loader:3291): unity-applications-daemon-CRITICAL **: daemon.vala:144: Failed to load Software Center index. 'Apps Available for Download' will not be listed
Jun  8 19:23:21 laptop /usr/lib/snapd/snapd[797]: snapmgr.go:422: No snaps to auto-refresh found
Jun  8 19:23:21 laptop snapd[797]: 2017/06/08 19:23:21.053624 snapmgr.go:422: No snaps to auto-refresh found
Jun  8 19:23:21 laptop systemd[1]: Starting Cleanup of Temporary Directories...
Jun  8 19:23:21 laptop systemd-tmpfiles[3369]: [/usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/var.conf:14] Duplicate line for path "/var/log", ignoring.
Jun  8 19:23:21 laptop systemd[1]: Started Cleanup of Temporary Directories.
Jun  8 19:28:20 laptop /usr/lib/snapd/snapd[797]: snapmgr.go:496: DEBUG: Next refresh scheduled for 2017-06-09 03:06:41.495578511 -0400 EDT.

After Startup

Jun  8 19:43:16 laptop kernel: [ 2102.166916] [drm:intel_pipe_update_end [i915]] *ERROR* Atomic update failure on pipe B (start=125682 end=125683) time 187 us, min 1192, max 1199, scanline start 1185, end 1199
Jun  8 19:47:12 laptop kernel: [ 2338.296309] [drm:intel_pipe_update_end [i915]] *ERROR* Atomic update failure on pipe B (start=139838 end=139839) time 172 us, min 1192, max 1199, scanline start 1189, end 1202
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    Everybody needs a swap partition or a swapfile, even with a SSD. 8G RAM isn't a whole lot, so you may need swap. But that may not be your freezing problem. Best thing is to leave a terminal running with the top command, and try and see if something is taking a lot of CPU time when it gets laggy. That's a start. You can also review /var/log/syslog file around the time of the lags to see if you can identify something.
    – heynnema
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 23:48

1 Answer 1

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You probably need swap space

I'm going to post this as an answer because it can address what you're describing. That does not mean it is absolutely the answer for your situation.

I have a computer with no swap partition on it. What you have said pretty much describes what I see happen when my RAM fills completely. Waiting (for a long time) may result in the system killing processes to free up RAM so you can work again.

The bottom line is, you either need to watch your RAM to make sure it doesn't fill up, or you need to create some swap space. Creating swap space is probably the better of the two routes. If you don't want to swap to your SSD, put the swap space on a different device. If you really want to just watch your ram, pull up a terminal window and run watch -t -n1 free -m.

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  • Thanks for the input, I'm going to try to add a swap partition and see if that helps things.
    – kfoley
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 15:19
  • @cfmg Did it work? Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 19:10
  • I ended up installing Arch Linux and configuring a swap partition for it. I haven't had any issues with it so I think it was a fix, of course there's no way to know for certain as I switched OS's, but I think it's likely that adding a swap partition was the solution.
    – kfoley
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 1:51

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