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Old 07-25-2005, 12:25 PM   #1
little_penguin
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My system is crashing 5 times a day! Is linux really more stable than windows?


I am an ex-window xp user, and now I use suse 9.2 with kde desktop, I was happy with suse, but recently my system is crashing a lot, it is happening up to 5 times a day every day, I never eever had this many crashes on windows xp. It seems to happen at random times really, it either freezes completly and I need to just press the reboot button on my desktop or it automaticly reboots itself, I dont mind the odd crash here and there as windows xp did that too, but 5 times a day seems that it is going beyond a joke, it is so frustrating when this happens, esepcially when I am working on something and the whole system just shuts down, I am serious considering again heading back to windows, but I thought I would give suse one last go by posting this message (hopefully it doesnt crash whilst Im typing this message)
can anyone help with this? I like linux a lot and would rather not go back to windows, but I need good system stability, to be honest this whole problem has shocked me, isnt linux stability supposed to be the whole selling point of linux? It seems crazy that in my case windows xp is being more stable!

I would be grateful for any help as I have no clue about how to fix this, thank you.
 
Old 07-25-2005, 12:34 PM   #2
abisko00
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This many system freezes are definitely not normal for a Linux system.

If you want help on this problem, you need to supply us with more data on your hardware and applications you are running. "It's crashing" doesn't help a lot.

Just a guess: do you run a very fast system? If not, you may experience the run of the updatedb process as lockup. This process is started by cron and creates a database of all files on your system, which helps to find them with the 'locate' command. Unfortunately, in SUSE the default is to run this process every day. But you can move the script from /etc/cron.daily to /etc/cron.weekly. If you never use the 'locate' command, you could also delete the package 'findutils-locate' from your system.
 
Old 07-25-2005, 12:36 PM   #3
darkleaf
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Could overheating be a problem? Have all the wires properly attached? Guess there were a few other things that you could check for hardware or easy to fix problems but I can't remember them. I'd start with hardware as there's less hardware than software to check and maybe it can lead to a software problem.

Also check the logs in /var/log to find anything strange. Also check "dmesg"
 
Old 07-25-2005, 02:31 PM   #4
springshades
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I might also wonder if your ram is starting to have issues. You can do a quick google for memtest86, make a boot up diagnostic disk, then run a quick 20 minutes (or so) test to see if your ram has any errors in it. It could definitely cause a problem like this. Overheating is definitely another thing to look at... this isn't the most fun thing to do, but you can run your computer hot for awhile and then take a side off UNPLUG THE COMPUTER, and then kind of get a feeling for how warm things are getting inside. A little hot is usually not a big deal, but nothing should feel like it could burn you.

If it's software... Well, with Linux I'd say that it's usually far faster to just back up and reinstall rather than hunting down which one of the 3 bajillion config files or 2 thousand programs or modules that is causing your problems. There isn't really an equivalent of the repair install in Win XP, so it's down to a reinstall which is fast and effective. You might try a different distro and see if you get the same errors. If you do, it's most likely some hardware problem. If you reinstall Suse and still get errors, it's either hardware or a problem with support for your hardware in that distro.
 
Old 07-28-2005, 08:32 AM   #5
little_penguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by abisko00
This many system freezes are definitely not normal for a Linux system.

If you want help on this problem, you need to supply us with more data on your hardware and applications you are running. "It's crashing" doesn't help a lot.

Just a guess: do you run a very fast system? If not, you may experience the run of the updatedb process as lockup. This process is started by cron and creates a database of all files on your system, which helps to find them with the 'locate' command. Unfortunately, in SUSE the default is to run this process every day. But you can move the script from /etc/cron.daily to /etc/cron.weekly. If you never use the 'locate' command, you could also delete the package 'findutils-locate' from your system.

Okay, that is good to know that this isnt normal, so hopefully it can be fixed somehow

How would I provide more information? What sort of information would you need?

I am not sure if my system is fast or not, I am not hugely technical really, how would I find this out?
The database thing you are talking about, is there a way to change this using yast? I am not very comfortable with consule usage.

Thanks
 
Old 07-28-2005, 08:34 AM   #6
little_penguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by darkleaf
Could overheating be a problem? Have all the wires properly attached? Guess there were a few other things that you could check for hardware or easy to fix problems but I can't remember them. I'd start with hardware as there's less hardware than software to check and maybe it can lead to a software problem.

Also check the logs in /var/log to find anything strange. Also check "dmesg"

How would I go about checking the logs, is there a way to do this in yast? Also, how would I know what was strange and what was normal?

Thanks
 
Old 07-28-2005, 08:39 AM   #7
little_penguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by springshades
I might also wonder if your ram is starting to have issues. You can do a quick google for memtest86, make a boot up diagnostic disk, then run a quick 20 minutes (or so) test to see if your ram has any errors in it. It could definitely cause a problem like this. Overheating is definitely another thing to look at... this isn't the most fun thing to do, but you can run your computer hot for awhile and then take a side off UNPLUG THE COMPUTER, and then kind of get a feeling for how warm things are getting inside. A little hot is usually not a big deal, but nothing should feel like it could burn you.

If it's software... Well, with Linux I'd say that it's usually far faster to just back up and reinstall rather than hunting down which one of the 3 bajillion config files or 2 thousand programs or modules that is causing your problems. There isn't really an equivalent of the repair install in Win XP, so it's down to a reinstall which is fast and effective. You might try a different distro and see if you get the same errors. If you do, it's most likely some hardware problem. If you reinstall Suse and still get errors, it's either hardware or a problem with support for your hardware in that distro.

I ran the memory test program before, but it came up with no errors. I also formated my drive and reinstalled suse from scratch but it is still doing the same thing

If it is overheating what would cause that? What would be the signs of it?
 
Old 07-28-2005, 09:47 AM   #8
springshades
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Quote:
If it is overheating what would cause that? What would be the signs of it?
In my experience overheating is very rare with current desktop computers that you buy. However, I have friends with laptops that have a chance of overheating everytime they play a game for more than an hour or so. Signs that it is overheating and not something else might include: if it mainly freezes after heavy use/activity but doesn't freeze very often when you are leaving your computer idle, if it freezes when you leave it on for longer than normal, if it is overly hot inside the case, and if it doesn't freeze as often if you leave the side cover off the computer while using it. There are utilities for checking the temperature, but nothing is quite as effective as simply sticking a thermometer in the case to see what the temperature is after you use it for awhile.

You can check to make sure that all of the fans are actually working (I'm assuming that your CPU fan is working or else you really wouldn't be able to run your computer at all). If you find that it is too hot inside your case, the nice thing about overheating is that it's fairly cheap to fix (for a desktop computer anyway). Adding an extra case fan is something like 5 or 10 bucks (US$), and upgrading a cpu fan is about 15 or 20. Usually just an extra case fan is sufficient.

Quote:
I also formated my drive and reinstalled suse from scratch but it is still doing the same thing
That's sad... I'm sorry. It would have been so much easier if that had fixed it. I'd rather not have you install another distro after all that, but if you have access to a fast internet connection (maybe a local library or something if your home internet connection is too slow?), maybe you could try booting with a Live CD. Maybe try the Mepis Live CD, the Ubuntu Live CD, Knoppix. Then use it for a day or so the way you normally would. This would eliminate the possibility that it is Suse in particular that doesn't like your computer.

Quote:
How would I go about checking the logs, is there a way to do this in yast?
First of all, I'd say this is a good thing to learn, so I'll give you some directions on it. However, with your amount of experience (or even mine), I'd say that the log files will mostly just be intimidating to read, and you won't really know what to look for.

A good way to do this would be to open a terminal and then type in,

cd /var/log (and follow it with enter of course)

next, typing in "ls" without the quotes will list the files in this directory... MOST of the files in this directory are logs of something or other... some of them may require root priviledges to view so you would use the command "su" without quotes again, then put in the root password.

Next, to look at one of the logs you would type:

more name.of.file

which will let you read the log file. Hit enter to continue reading the file (it goes to the next line), and I think that control+q quits the program. Good commands to know for looking at files in a terminal are cat (displays the entire file all at once) and more (lets you scroll through the file). This is a side note, but I'd also like to mention nano (it probably isn't installed by default, but should be easy to add), which is a really simple text editor for editing config files in a terminal. You type:

nano name.of.file

and you can edit the file very intuitively. Control+x exits and then it asks you if you want to save and what you want to save it as. It's MUCH simpler than the ones that most people use, vi and emacs.

Quote:
How would I provide more information? What sort of information would you need?
Basically, give us as much info as you know about your hardware and software. For example:

Hardware: what type of processor, how fast, how much ram, what type of video card, what type of harddrive (is it serial ata, scsi, ide, etc), what is your motherboard, is it a desktop or laptop, what do you use for internet (is it dial up, broadband, wireless internet?), maybe even how much free diskspace you have on your root partition (type df in a terminal and look for the numbers following / ), or how big your swap partition is... basically whatever you know that might have an effect. If you don't know everything, that's fine, just see what you can find out and let us know. Many of the hardware questions can be answered by searching around in yast I think.

Software: did you do a default or full install of SUSE, is it the free or paid edition (I actually haven't used Suse, but I think there are some minor differences between the two), did you install or uninstall anything major after that?

Last edited by springshades; 07-28-2005 at 09:49 AM.
 
Old 07-28-2005, 10:12 AM   #9
little_penguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by springshades

Hardware: what type of processor, how fast, how much ram, what type of video card, what type of harddrive (is it serial ata, scsi, ide, etc), what is your motherboard, is it a desktop or laptop, what do you use for internet (is it dial up, broadband, wireless internet?), maybe even how much free diskspace you have on your root partition (type df in a terminal and look for the numbers following / ), or how big your swap partition is... basically whatever you know that might have an effect. If you don't know everything, that's fine, just see what you can find out and let us know. Many of the hardware questions can be answered by searching around in yast I think.

Software: did you do a default or full install of SUSE, is it the free or paid edition (I actually haven't used Suse, but I think there are some minor differences between the two), did you install or uninstall anything major after that?



Okay, Im not sure about a lot of these things but I went into hardware information in yast and it gave me this information that I could save to a file? Im not sure what it means, but it seems to have loads of specifications, I tried posting it on here but it wont let me as its too big, is there a particular peice of that I should post?


For internet I use dial-up, I did a full instilaation of Suse 9.2 Pro, the only other thing I have installed after that are a few pieces of software like firefox and other things, and also downloaded yast security updates.

Actually, I have found that you can access the log through yast, you want to have a look at that?
 
Old 07-28-2005, 10:47 AM   #10
springshades
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Well, I don't actually use Suse, so I'm not completely sure what the file you're talking about contains. If you can find the hardware browser and pull out as much info as you can... I don't know if you'll necessarily need to put down all of the specification, the stuff that I listed might be plenty. Personally, I don't know if I could pick out the problems in a log file unless they had a big error next to them. Often times they do, so if you see anything like that, it might give you a clue as to what is going on.

Dial up internet makes it difficult for you to get a full live CD, but maybe you could try grabbing damn small linux?

damnsmalllinux.org

It's only 50 MB, and it might let you check to see if another distro would be okay with your hardware. I'm not sure how compatible that distro is though because it's really small and doesn't seem like it could fit very many drivers.
 
Old 07-28-2005, 11:17 AM   #11
PMorph
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Is it stabe if you only use the CLI (not starting the X server at all)?
If yes, you could try operating your display card with the plain Vesa driver (just to see if problem lies there).
 
Old 07-28-2005, 11:18 AM   #12
little_penguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by springshades
Well, I don't actually use Suse, so I'm not completely sure what the file you're talking about contains. If you can find the hardware browser and pull out as much info as you can... I don't know if you'll necessarily need to put down all of the specification, the stuff that I listed might be plenty. Personally, I don't know if I could pick out the problems in a log file unless they had a big error next to them. Often times they do, so if you see anything like that, it might give you a clue as to what is going on.

Dial up internet makes it difficult for you to get a full live CD, but maybe you could try grabbing damn small linux?

damnsmalllinux.org

It's only 50 MB, and it might let you check to see if another distro would be okay with your hardware. I'm not sure how compatible that distro is though because it's really small and doesn't seem like it could fit very many drivers.

Hello

Okay, I saved the log to a text file, but again it is too big to post here, but I did a search of it for "error" and these were the lines it was found in -


Jul 27 13:56:31 linux kernel: drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial support registered for Generic
Jul 27 13:56:31 linux kernel: usbcore: registered new driver usbserial_generic
Jul 27 13:56:31 linux kernel: usbcore: registered new driver usbserial
Jul 27 13:56:31 linux kernel: drivers/usb/serial/usb-serial.c: USB Serial Driver core v2.0
Jul 27 13:56:36 linux kernel: Non-volatile memory driver v1.2
Jul 27 13:56:36 linux kernel: end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0
Jul 27 13:56:36 linux kernel: end_request: I/O error, dev fd0, sector 0
Jul 27 13:56:37 linux /usr/sbin/cron[5354]: (CRON) STARTUP (V5.0)
Jul 27 13:56:38 linux SuSEfirewall2: Warning: no interface active
Jul 27 13:56:38 linux SuSEfirewall2: Firewall rules successfully set from /etc/sysconfig/SuSEfirewall2


With info I could find out about my system it is -
AMD Athlon XP 2000+, 500mb RAM, IDE Hardrive (I think) , a Desktop, dial-up internet,
Geoforce Ti4200.

Im not sure what the next bit means - so I`ll just write it as it is.
/dev/hdb 117. GB WD1200BB-00CAA1
/dev/hdb1 1008.O MB Linux Swap
/dev/hdb2 110.8. GB Linux Native

Is that the particion?

Also theres no way I could download another distro I have a terrible dial-up connection , it times out constantly

Thanks

Last edited by little_penguin; 07-28-2005 at 12:37 PM.
 
Old 07-28-2005, 12:14 PM   #13
little_penguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by PMorph
Is it stabe if you only use the CLI (not starting the X server at all)?
If yes, you could try operating your display card with the plain Vesa driver (just to see if problem lies there).
I dont really understand what you mean, sorry, I am just quite new to all this
 
Old 07-28-2005, 12:50 PM   #14
little_penguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by darkleaf
Could overheating be a problem? Have all the wires properly attached? Guess there were a few other things that you could check for hardware or easy to fix problems but I can't remember them. I'd start with hardware as there's less hardware than software to check and maybe it can lead to a software problem.

Also check the logs in /var/log to find anything strange. Also check "dmesg"

Actually I forgot to say, you want me to post the log here?
 
Old 07-28-2005, 12:53 PM   #15
springshades
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Hi again little_penguin, thanks for the info.

To start with:

Quote:
I dont really understand what you mean, sorry, I am just quite new to all this
When he is talking about X server, that is the part of Linux that lets you run a graphical window environment, like KDE or Gnome. Without the X server, it looks like DOS or old basic on Macs if you're old enough to have used one of those in school. Now as to how to get there, you know that first boot screen that you get to, it will be lilo or grub, but I think Suse uses lilo. Anyway, if you hit escape when you see that, you'll go to a black screen with a command line. Now type in the first choice on the list there (for me it's "linux", it might be "Suse" or something like that for you, not sure) then a space then 3. For me this looks like:

linux 3

Then hit enter. This may be very confusing, but in linux there are "run levels". The normal run level is 5, which is the graphical boot where you go to KDE. In run level 3, you go to a command line. (By the way, if you want to get to KDE from the command line, you can just type startx and hit enter). If you go to run level 3, you can further narrow down what might be causing the problem because many of the drivers are either simpler or not loaded at all (the drivers for your mouse for example).

Quote:
Im not sure what the next bit means - so I`ll just write it as it is.
/dev/hdb 117. GB WD1200BB-00CAA1
/dev/hdb1 1008.O MB Linux Swap
/dev/hdb2 110.8. GB Linux Native
Not sure if you're much into computers, but I'll explain why I was looking at this just in case. I was wondering how much space was on your root because you could have issues with crashing if you were VERY low on space. Looking at how big your harddrive is, that ain't a problem I'm sure. Next thing was your swap partition. I was checking to see if you had a combination of a tiny swap partition and not much RAM... Windows XP is able to resize your "virtual memory" which is the equivalent of swap file. It's basically where stuff goes once your RAM fills up. Anyway, if you fill up your swap in Windows, stuff slows WAY down for a couple seconds, then it gets better. That's because Windows just took a few seconds, then made your swap space bigger. Linux doesn't do that. I'm not quite sure what happens when your swap actually fills up, but I'm sure it must not be pretty. You definitely don't have a problem with that either though. Your swap is big enough and you have plenty ram (500 MB).

I'm not good with logs, but what you posted looked fine. I think the error for dev fd0 is just saying that it can't talk to your floppy drive, which is what you'd expect if you didn't have a floppy in there. The firewall warning is probably just due to not have anything plugged into any ethernet plugs. Since you have dial up, there isn't much of a reason that you'd have anything plugged into an ethernet plug, so that is expected.

I guess the current ideas on the table are:
1. Start up in a command prompt and see if you get freezes and shutdowns still.
2. Check for possible overheating.
3. Try another distro. A Live CD is the easiest because you don't install anything, it just runs off the CD.
4. That Geforce Ti4200: Suse might not have installed the actual nvidia drivers. You can get them from nvidia.com. It's just like the Windows driver, where there is one package that has the drivers for all the different types of cards. You just have to look around a bit harder on their site to find the Linux version. You'll have to read the directions they give you and follow them. Having nano (the program I mentioned previously) may help because you'd need to edit the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf from the command line and nano is the easiest way to do it.
 
  


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