Frequent lockups :(

Warren Block wblock at
Mon Mar 28 17:10:45 CEST 2016

On Mon, 28 Mar 2016, brian wrote:

> Is there anybody else out there using Debian Jessie 64-bit and XFCE on
> an AMD PC who, for the 3 or 4 days, has been seeing frequent lockups
> of their PC? The crashes seem to occur when I'm using a browser, and
> using Iceweasel is worse than using Chromium. When it happens, that's
> it, everything locks solid, mouse cursor won't move, the keyboard
> doesn't appear to work, the display clock stops, the only thing I can
> do is to use the reboot switch. The only thing I notice is that the
> drive access light is still flickering (once every 5-10 seconds) and
> there's been a disk repair needed every time I've had to reboot.
> I know there was an amd64-microcode package in the last bunch of
> updates, it's for AMD processors other than mine (a Phenom II 6-core)
> so I uninstalled that, with no apparent effect on the problem.
> The 'about XFCE' dialog gives the version as "4.10, distributed by
> Debian".
> Anybody have any ideas, please? The lockups are happening every couple
> of hours or so.

xfce 4.10 on FreeBSD is used here daily, with no problems at all, 
although generally on Intel processors.

There are a lot of things this could be, but hardware problems would be 
high on my list.  I would check that the power supply and system fans 
are clear and spinning, the heatsinks are not clogged with dust, that 
sort of thing.  If the machine is more than a few years old, look for 
bulged capacitors on the motherboard near the CPU.  It's usually 
difficult to see into a power supply, but try to look there also. 
Failed caps can cause just this type of intermittent problem.  So can 
RAM that is failing.

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