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Old 08-30-2008, 09:53 PM   #1
kozaru
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Registered: Aug 2008
Location: Netherlands
Distribution: SabayonLinux 3.5
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Angry Strange actions happening all the time


Hi all,
I have a problem that sometimes 'pops up' when on linux (never on windows). There are when this comes up a lot of tiny actions happening apparently random, sudden and often. It makes it hard to type messages and do things normally, because of
- numbers appearing at the cursor or being typed in (in some programs this triggers behaviour)
- page suddenly refreshing or going backward (firefox, konqueror)
- sound volume jumping around
- sound mute being toggled
- kmenu popping up
- arrows being typed in (in a terminal the typed in line disappears and the previous command appears, as if arrow up has been pressed or in plain text the cursor jumps around)
- backspace being used
This all also happens when unplugging the keyboard, so I'm not accidently triggering anything.
I ran sabayonlinux 3.4f before, but wiped that out to install version 3.5 and reinstated my /home directory. I already had this happening with 3.4f so a reinstall might not help.
Does anyone have ever heard of such a thing happening and got any clues at what it might be (malware, hacker, configuration file, ..????) or what to google on?
While typing this at least 20 of described things happened, so it's no small issue I want to solve in due time.
Thanks a lot if you can help!
 
Old 08-30-2008, 10:03 PM   #2
amani
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Even on the most unstable Linux distro, you should not get such behaviour.
Is your mouse ok?
Do you have an oversensitive touchpad?
Did you change the mouse and keyboard settings?
Describe your hardware.
Post the contents of /etc/X11/xorg.conf
 
Old 08-30-2008, 10:12 PM   #3
pinniped
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Perhaps it is a memory issue; if swap space is being used there will be big delays as data is swapped in and out.
 
Old 09-01-2008, 04:22 PM   #4
kozaru
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Registered: Aug 2008
Location: Netherlands
Distribution: SabayonLinux 3.5
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Hey there,
Thanks for the replies. This time booted I haven't had the things happening, though I know that it's some times on, some times off that this is happening so I hope I still will find out what's the problem.

My hardware is as follows, this is a desktop computer.

Processor (CPU): AMD Phenom(tm) 9500 Quad-Core Processor
Speed: 2,200.00 MHz

Total memory (RAM): 2.9 GB
Free memory: 2.1 GB (+ 295.8 MB Caches)
Total Swap: 3.0 GB
Free Swap: 3.0 GB

Graphics is an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro

I've got a wired mouse and keyboard and no wireless connections that might be transmitting anything. If I unplug mouse and keyboard the things are still happening.

xorg.conf is as follows:
Code:
Section "Module"
    SubSection  "extmod"
       Option    "omit xfree86-dga"
    EndSubSection
    Load	"i2c"
    Load	"ddc"
    Load	"synaptics"
    Load	"vbe"
   Load        "dri"
EndSection


Section "ServerFlags"
     Option 	"AllowMouseOpenFail" "true"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier		"Synaptics1"
    Driver		"synaptics"
    Option		"SendCoreEvents"	"true"
    Option		"Device"		"/dev/psaux"
    Option		"Protocol"		"auto-dev"
    Option		"HorizScrollDelta"	"0"
    Option		"SHMConfig"		"on"
EndSection


# **********************************************************************
# Core Pointer's InputDevice section
# **********************************************************************

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier	"Mouse1"
    Driver	"mouse"
    Option	"Device"	"/dev/psaux"
EndSection

# **********************************************************************
# Monitor section
# **********************************************************************

# Any number of monitor sections may be present

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier	"Generic Monitor"
    VertRefresh 43 - 60
    HorizSync	28 - 80
EndSection

# **********************************************************************
# Graphics device section
# **********************************************************************

# Any number of graphics device sections may be present

Section "Device"
    Identifier  "VESA"
    Driver    "fglrx"
    #Option "RenderAccel" "on"
    #Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps"
    #Option "BusType" "PCI"
    #Option "ColorTiling" "on"
    #Option "EnablePageFlip" "on"
    Option "AccelMethod" "XAA"
EndSection


# **********************************************************************
# Screen sections.
# **********************************************************************

Section "Screen"

# The Identifier, Device and Monitor lines must be present

    Identifier	"Screen 1"
    Device	"VESA"
    Monitor	"Generic Monitor"
    #Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "true"

# The favoured Depth and/or Bpp may be specified here

    DefaultDepth 24

    SubSection "Display"
        Depth		8
        ViewPort	0 0
        #Modes		"1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection

    SubSection "Display"
        Depth           16
        ViewPort        0 0
        #Modes		"1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection

    SubSection "Display"
        Depth           24
        ViewPort        0 0
        Modes		"1680x1050" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
    EndSubsection


EndSection


Section "ServerLayout"
# The Identifier line must be present

    Identifier	"Main Layout"
    Screen 0 	"Screen 1"
    InputDevice	"Mouse1" "CorePointer"
    #InputDevice "Synaptics1" "SendCoreEvents"

EndSection

Section "DRI"
    Mode 0666
EndSection

Section "Extensions"
   #Option "Composite" "Enable"
EndSection
Any other ideas? Thanks for thinking with me
 
Old 09-01-2008, 05:00 PM   #5
pixellany
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How about cleaning the computer and unplugging and re-plugging all connections--including the RAM.

This "low-tech" solution has repaired my computers more than once.

If you have never "been inside" and you don't know the anti-static procedures, consider having a shop do it for you.
 
Old 09-01-2008, 05:22 PM   #6
Jim@HiTek
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Sounds like a motherboard issue to me...

I've had the same symptoms when the interface chip was going bad or had a bad solder joint. I'd usually just swap out the motherboard to fix.
 
Old 09-02-2008, 07:52 AM   #7
kozaru
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Thanks for the ideas.
The idea of pixellany sounds like something worth trying so I'll get to that.

'just swapping the motherboard' like Jim@HiTek suggests isn't that easy, since I'm also dual booting with windows vista which I might lose doing this. Besides, it's not one of the easiest parts to replace so I won't be able to do that.
Neither am I sure that this is a motherboard thing. How would such behaviour be caused by it and how can I check that? I would only go through the trouble of having it replaced if I'm sure that's the cause.
 
Old 09-02-2008, 09:45 AM   #8
H_TeXMeX_H
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Anti-static procedures usually consist of:

- If you're working in a dry climate, do NOT wear socks and stand on a carpet while working inside the case.
- It's a good idea to have an anti-static arm-band, they're relatively cheap, you can usually get them at many computer stores or computer repair shops (they need them too).
- Before you start working touch the PSU to discharge static.
- This one is obvious, but you should obviously disconnect all power from the computer before starting.
- Be careful not to knock off or damage capacitors or other components on the MB.

Those are the main ones, google for more, but I've followed these and never fried anything in my computer.
 
Old 09-02-2008, 05:07 PM   #9
Jim@HiTek
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by kozaru View Post
I have a problem that sometimes 'pops up' when on linux (never on windows).
Sorry I missed that very important line above in your original post.

It NEVER happens in Windows? That may eliminate hardware issues (unless Linux has a more robust polling feature to allow hot swapping - I'm a Linux newbie so I don't know if it regularly polls the hardware like mouse, keyboard, etc.). I am more familiar with Windoze and it generally looks for hardware during boot and then no longer so if you boot without a mouse, it's dead to Win even if you plug it back in. Other then that, there is nothing in hardware I'm aware of that would behave differently unless told to by software.

Next question is are you sure? Did you run the tests concurrently so the temp inside the case and/or other conditions were the same for both OS tests?

Can you swap out any parts? In cases such as yours, when it's seemingly a hardware issue aggravated by software, I'll often dig into my spare parts bin and start swapping stuff out...video card, memory, NIC, etc. (Built in parts can usually be shut off in the BIOS/CMOS setup). Doing that might make the issue more clear.

Good luck! And keep us posted as to what you find...interesting problem.
 
Old 09-03-2008, 02:45 PM   #10
kozaru
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Thanks TeXMeX for the pointers, I'll look out for that. I think I'll ask someone that gets inside the box often to help me out so I can learn to do this safely.

Jim@HiTek, thanks for your interest in this topic. I must unfortunately say I do not know for sure if it would -never- happen under windows. I use windows a lot less than linux so the chance might have never come for it to pop up, however I think I use it often enough (for tasks requiring Adobe products and some university software) to have noticed it. I don't know what triggers the behaviour, since I also often enough do not have the behaviour under linux either. However when it pops up, there are so many symptoms it makes me reboot a few times so that I can get on working (especially typing) normally. So sometimes after reboot the things disappear, sometimes not!
This all makes the problem really vague, so that running tests is also hard. I can't run consistent tests, since it's an on and off problem. I will look though if the temperature is odd or any other hardware oddities. Do you maybe know of a good program to give an overview of such things?
Also I have never fiddled around with hardware, so I don't have spare parts lying around that I can swap around easily.
 
Old 09-03-2008, 03:56 PM   #11
H_TeXMeX_H
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Note that the processor you have is important here, you're not alone in having strange issues with it:
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...item=998&num=1
 
Old 09-06-2008, 01:13 PM   #12
Jim@HiTek
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Sorry I took so long to get back to you but my main office computer with WinXP croked and ended up with a reboot loop. Took some time to find the original CD. Stable OS my arse.

Anyway, your question: Do you maybe know of a good program to give an overview of such things?

Not any more. There use to be utilities that did a good job of exercising hardware which would cause problems to show up but I used them so seldom (other methods worked just as well) that I've lost touch with them.

Here's what I recommend, with help of someone who is hardware savvy, unplug it, open the case (using the anti-static advice above) and clean it out. It seems like it's a newer unit so that should be easy. Pay attention to the fans, blow out or vacuum out any accumulations of grim and dust.

Remove and replace (R&R) any expansion boards. Make sure you get them back in the same place.

R&R the memory sticks, you may need to give the motherboard some support from the back side so as not to bend it to much when replacing the sticks.

Carefully unplug then plug-in the hard drive cables. Both ends. Carefully! You don't want to break anything or bend any pins (most have a keyway so it's impossible to plug them in wrong...but not all).

Finally, when I'm working on a computer with symptoms like yours, I always R&R the main processor. This involves removing the heat sink assembly and being careful to keep as much of the heat sink compound (a thick white greasy substance between the processor and the heat sink) as possible to reuse. You can also buy some at a computer store.

What you're doing by all this is mechanically cleaning all the contacts. Just doing this action has 'fixed' many weird symptoms I've run into. But I always do a long burn-in afterward to be sure.

If you're not up to this, it's time to take it to a shop.

B-t-w, here in bigger towns, there are usually 'recycling' shops that take in the millions of discarded computers, strip them down, and resell many of the parts. Usually, I pay $3 for NICs, $2 for mice, $5 for newer video cards, $10 for 20GB hard drives, etc. Look for one of those shops near your town.
 
  


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