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Old 09-07-2007, 02:38 AM   #1
Registered: May 2002
Location: Lebanon
Distribution: PCLinuxOS
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Best practice when system freezes?

Hi all,

Yesterday, after clicking on the "suspend to disk" button of a PCLinuxOS distro as a normal user, and rebooting, the system hung up on the unlock screen.

Nothing worked; keyboard stopped responding, consoles were available, only the mouse was moving. The only solution was to do a hard reset.

Result: the partition and MBR became corrupted and boot only showed me "GRUB_" with the blinking prompt.

Tried Partmagic, Systemrescuedisk, Testdisk, all to no avail.

Luckily, I had a remastered livecd, so I re-installed and the losses were minimal.

Yet, that was half a day lost for a silly "suspend to disk" initiated by me as normal user.

Time is precious, and I wouldn't like to lose another day or two because of something similar.

So, back to the post's title: what should I have done to avoid all of this when the system froze? Was there a way out better than a hard reset?

I really don't want to go back to Windows...

Thanks a lot!
Old 09-07-2007, 05:44 AM   #2
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How did you perform the initial reboot?
For example, did you suspend to disk and then hit the reset button? Or did you UN-suspend first?

Is it a laptop or a desktop?

Suspending to disk and then resetting the machine while suspended is not a good idea, as you can see.
It would be good to know if all goes well when you UN-suspend (before rebooting) to make sure un-suspend works first.. Also, does suspend-to-RAM work OK?

In any event, always use the logout & shutdown/restart buttons if you want to shutdown/reboot. Otherwise, due to the structure and nature of mounted linux filesystems, disk corruption can and will occur when a linux OS is not properly shut down. As you can see, when a running system is suspended to disk and shut down, the inconvenience and corruption are more-so.

I don't use pclinuxOS or suspend-to-disk, so I can't provide more specifics about your circumstance, but let us know if this explains anything for you, or if you have more info, please provide it.

Old 09-07-2007, 07:20 AM   #3
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A few minutes research via was enough to show me that where laptops are concerned, there may be a hardware issue with "suspend to disk". Some people reported that PCLOS suspend to ram/suspend to disk worked flawlessly 'out of the box', while others reported that suspend to ram works and suspend to disk doesn't.

One reviewer ( reported that she solved the suspend to disk problem on her laptop by installing Kpowersave.

So, if you are using PCLOS on a laptop, you could try Kpowersave to see if that helps.
Old 09-07-2007, 07:32 AM   #4
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Try the Magic SysRq keys before doing a hard power-off. Sometimes my laptop would freeze up irrecoverably, but just yesterday I had a problem where the SysRq keys let me perform an emergency, but clean, shutdown.

Note that on your laptop (as on mine) Alt+SysRq+X might be Alt+PrtScr+X, not Alt+Fn+PrtScr+X. Test for yourself.
Old 09-07-2007, 08:36 AM   #5
Registered: May 2002
Location: Lebanon
Distribution: PCLinuxOS
Posts: 80

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Thank you all!

I should have been more specific:

It's not a laptop, but a desktop.

The culprit program was, surprisingly, kpowersave.

The chain of events was:
1. Click on "suspend to disk" on the kpowersave icon
2. Normal suspension, system shutdown, hardisk shutdown
3. After a while, I turn the computer on (can't do anything else, the computer is totally off and cannot be rebooted otherwise)
4. Normal boot
5. Screensaver/locked session dialogue box appears

So far, all is normal and expected, then
6. sudden garbling of screen and locked dialogue box before I have time to put my password
7. total freezing
8. wait a while, total freezing still, all key combinations don't work (didn't try the "Magic SysRq keys because I didn't know them!)
9. hit the reset button
10. on reboot, get "GRUB_" with flashing prompt
11. nothing worked (at least with my limited knowledge) (Partmagic, Systemrescuedisk, testdisk); only thing I understood from the tests was that the partition had become corrupted
12. re-install livecd

That's it.
A pain, really, but more of a disappointment at how "easy" and how "innocently" a normal user can destroy a whole system!



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