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What should I do when Ubuntu freezes!


All operating systems freeze some times and Ubuntu is no exception. What should I do when:

  • A program stops responding?
  • Nothing responds to mouse clicks or key presses?
  • cursor stops moving entirely?
What things can I try before hard rebooting the machine?


When a single program stops responding:

  • When a single program stops responding mostly we can close it by clicking on the X shaped close button on the top right corner of the window.We will get a dialog box saying that the program is not responding and you may press force stop or wait for the application to respond.

  • You can also kill an application using xkill. Press ALT + F2 and type xkill and press Enter.Now the mouse cursor will turn into an X. Click on the non responsive window to close it.

    When the mouse stops working:

    • If the keyboard still works, press ALT + F2 and type gnome-teminal . From there you can start to troubleshoot things. If you want to try restarting the GUI run sudo service lightDM restart .
    •  If these fail to launch, press Alt+Ctrl+F1 and login with your username and password.

    When everything, keys and mouse and all, stop working:

    • If it locks up completely, you can REISUB it, which is a safer alternative to just cold rebooting the computer.
    • REISUB by: While holding ALT and the SysR
    unRaw                   (take control of keyboard back from X),
       tErminate         (send SIGTERM to all processes, allowing them to terminate gracefully),
       kIll                       (send SIGKILL to all processes, forcing them to terminate immediately),
         Sync                  (flush data to disk),
         Unmount         (remount all filesystems read-only),
     reBoot.                (Reboot)

    REISUB is BUSIER backwards, as in "The System is busier than it should be", if you need to remember it. Or mnemonically - R eboot; E ven; I f; S ystem; U tterly; B roken.

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