Frequent lockups :(

Rob McCathie korrode at
Tue Mar 29 04:39:11 CEST 2016

On 29/03/16 00:11, 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.
> Thanks.
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> Xfce mailing list
> Xfce at

1, get SystemRescueCD ISO, burn it to a CD/DVD or USB flash drive.

2. RAM test: boot SysRecCD and at the boot (grub) menu select "floppy 
disc images", then select "memtest86" and let it run for a couple hours 
at least and see if any errors occur.

3. CPU thermal test: boot SysRecCD normally (standard defaults - first 
option in it's boot menu). once it's booted run:
   stress --cpu 6
this will hammer your 6 CPU cores, leave that running, hit ctrl+alt+F2 
to swap to vt2 and execute:
keep executing sensors over and over so you can monitor how high your 
CPU temperature is getting. A 6 core Phenom at full load will get warm, 
but shouldn't generally get much past 55c with standard cooling (if it's 
getting over 60c you probably want to clear out your heatsink/fan and 
also apply new thermal paste between the heatsink and CPU), what we're 
looking for is if it's getting to like 70c+ and/or if the system locks 
up while stress is running.

4. Another test: If the CPU is fine, go back to vt1 (ctrl+alt+F1) and 
stop stress (ctrl+c). Now execute the command:
and it will offer to auto-detect stuff and start Xorg+Xfce. Once it's 
running, open the provided web browser (it's firefox iirc) and browse 
for a bit, see if any lock-up occurs.
If this test and all earlier tests were fine, it still could be a number 
of things (hard drive, power supply, Debian's kernel not liking your 
hardware, Debian's Xorg not liking your hardware, etc.), but the first 
thing i'd be trying is a different hard drive. If you have a spare HDD, 
plug it into your system and do a Debian install on it and try to run 
off it for a while.

Beyond this you'd want to try a different distro with different kernel/xorg.
If the problems persist through all that, it's likely a power supply 
problem or a failing motherboard.


Rob McCathie

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