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-   -   Acer travelmate hangs on new versions of ubuntu, xubuntu, fedora and linux mint 13 (

nzealand 08-20-2012 03:05 PM

Acer travelmate hangs on new versions of ubuntu, xubuntu, fedora and linux mint 13
The last few years I have been using my acer travelmate laptop as a dual boot system. I have used next to XP several different versions of ubuntu or LinuxMint. The only thing I had to add was a windows-driver for the wifi. That is up until 12.04!!! Every time I tried to install a version of Ubuntu, Fedora or LinuxMint the system hangs. With Ubuntu itself the system got stuck when i tried to check the disk while on live CD mode. I didn't even get to the terminal befor the system stopped in its tracks. I tried the newest version of Debian which worked perfect. The only problem I got there was that Grub didn't show my XP partition. My idea was that maybe Debian doesn't use the newest linux kernel as I also retried to install kubuntu 11.04 without problems. In short my system seems to hang on all the new versions of Linux distributions exept for Debian. What is happening here? Is it the Linux kernel or something else? If it is the kernel, how can I install a new version of Xubuntu for example with an older Linux kernel?

If people don't know the answer to this problem as it is an old machine, can somebody advise me on how to get my XP partition visible in Grub when I install Debian. I answered the question at the end of the installation correct as I tried it 3 times. (I probably have to much time on my hands).

Thanks for any suggestions or help. Please mail me if possible as I am not to often online.

greetings Nzealand

jkirchner 08-20-2012 03:18 PM

You mention it is an "old machine". What are the system specs? This bit of info would be useful :)

nzealand 08-20-2012 07:02 PM

my machine is a acer travelmate 2700
The travelmate 2700 is a Intel pentium 4, with a cpu on 3.00 Ghz. It has approx. 1300 mb of memory. A hard disk with 40 gig of space, divided in 30 gig for XP and 10 gig for linux. The Bios version is the last version I could find being V1.09. I have loaded the setup default befor trying all the installations. At the moment I have Xubuntu 11.10 running on it without any problems. The kernel is The problems start when I upgrade or make a clean install of the newest distro's. I hope this is sufficient information for you to go on. If you need more, let me know what you need and I will try and find it. Thanks very much

frankbell 08-20-2012 09:53 PM

That should be enough to run a Linux distro, though the heavier desktop environments might be a little slow. I'm running Slackware Current with Fluxbox on a Travelmate that is only slightly brawnier that that one.

Here's a little detail on that system for comparison purposes:


~$ uname -a
Linux pickerel 3.2.27-smp #2 SMP Mon Aug 13 17:44:26 CDT 2012 i686 Genuine Intel(R) CPU T2300  @ 1.66GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

When you say the system hangs, where exactly does it hang: During the install or after the install when you are trying to restart the system, log in to the new system, or load the destop (and which desktops)?

nzealand 08-21-2012 02:08 PM

reply to Frankbell
Thanks for the tip. It showed the following: Linux Travelmate-2700 3.0.0-24-generic #40-Ubuntu SMP Tue Jul 24 15:36:39 UTC 2012 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux.
On your question about what I mean with Hangs, is that the system freezes totally. No movement of the mouse, time, windows etc. I have to turn the machine of the hard way. It doesn't matter how long you wait, the system doesn't recover itself.
About the timing of the freezing of the system: It differs between the different actions I took with the Distros. Originally I had Xubuntu 12.04 installed (Xfce). The system froze after about 10 minutes of use. The installation went well and so did the update. It froze after using different applications. Firefox, Thunderbird or Libreoffice writer.
Later I installed Linuxmint (Lxce). This one froze after the installation and reboot, while I was updating. Then I tried Fedora (Gnome). The same thing happened as with the Linuxmint distro. It froze while updating with the screen on a screen saver. When I installed Debian 6.0 (Gnome) everything stayed in perfect working order. So no problems there. The only problem I encountered was that the Grub didn't show my Windows partition, and I am sure I installed it right with the last question about the grub bootloader. When I tried to install ubuntu (Gnome) I wanted to perform a fsck in live mode, but I didn't get that far as the system froze after trying to find the terminal. So basically it never freezes while installing, log in or at reboot. But only shortly after start-up with the full desktop running, using some application. Or using an application in live mode. Thanks for the help already and I hope we can find the fault.

greetings Nzealand

frankbell 08-21-2012 09:35 PM

Thanks for the detailed reply. That helps, knowing the system is freezing under use, not during the install.

I have no answers, but a few suggestions for trying to track down the cause of the problem.

From a terminal, run df (see man df for more). It could be that a full install with a heavy desktop is running up against the 10 GB partition. In a related vein, do you have a swap partition, or are you using a swap file on the root partition?

Check the logs, particularly /var/log/messages, for any hint about what caused the crashes. I would suggest using the tail command to do that, to catch the latest entries in the logs. Frankly, I'm not very optimistic about this; in a hard freeze, the system might not get time to log any problems.

This article gives some examples of tail:

This article tells you how to monitor a log file in real time:

Try running a lightweight system monitor, such as conky or gkrellm, and keeping a weather eye on it for hints of trouble.

Try using a window manager, such as Fluxbox or even something lighter, such as Blackbox or TWM, to see whether that makes a difference. You should be able to find them in the repos for your system.

For the grub problem, you could try running grub-update. There's a description of it here: (This is a grub 2 function; it doesn't work with legacy grub.)

Also, just to be thorough, check the cooling system. Overheating is more likely to cause a shutdown than a freeze, but it likely wouldn't hurt to make sure the fans are working (for a laptop, hold your hand over the vents and check for airflow; for a desktop, pull the case and check visually) and to vacuum out the vents to make sure they are not blocked by dust.

Another test might be to boot from and operate from a Live CD for an extended period, using the programs you would normally use (except possibly email) and seeing if the problem occurs then. That might help narrow the list of suspects.

Good luck. Wish I had an easy answer. Trouble-shooting is a real chore, till your find the trouble; then it's a joy.

nzealand 08-30-2012 03:05 PM

Hello all

Thanks for the answers and suggestions. I have opened up the laptop and checked everything inside. I used new stuff to put in between the heatsink and the processor. I have installed win xp and Debian again. I had whiped the whole disk because the diskmanager said some parts of the disk were faulty. With Debian installed everything works perfect. The problem I had with the grub not showing the windows partition is solved by updating the grub to grub2. I have tried the system extensively with a powerpoint running all evening with a beamer and its normal screen on. No overheating problems, no freezes and the Gnome desktop was running smoothly whatever I used and tried. I had and still have a seperate swap partition. I didn't have to check the logs as it didn't freeze.
When I tried a live CD from Ubuntu and I used some applications it frooze straight away. The same happened with Linux Mint.
Running Debian a few minutes later without any problem.
The only difference I can find is the linux kernel. Debian runs an older version ( than all the other repos who run versions of (3.2.??.??) It seems the newer kernel doesn't seem to like my laptop. What is the big difference between between these kernels that might cause the freezing of my machine and how can I install a new version of the other repos with an old kernel, so I can test my theory?

greetings Aloys

frankbell 08-30-2012 09:29 PM

Hmmmm. Sounds like you accomplished a lot.

What desktops are you using on the various Linux distros?

The kernel version leads me to think you are running Debian Squeeze (I have the same version kernel on this here Debian Squeeze box, which is also a P4, but I beefed up the RAM to 4 GB). Just noodling here: The default desktop is Gnome 2, which is much lighter than Ubuntu's Unity. You might try Xubuntu or Lubuntu and see if that makes a difference.

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