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Last few weeks, my laptop is almost unusable:

  • nearly each click takes seconds to react
  • I am unable to play video and browse internet (reference manual, consisting mostly of text) in the same time (video is just freezing constantly for periods of about a half of a minute or even more)
  • when I attempt to save small text file in vim (e.g. while programming), disk LED will shine cca for 1-2 seconds, saving that file (it is not unusual that I switch to different console and start compilation actually before the file is saved and compilation runs with old version of the file)
  • HDD LED is shining almost all the time
  • etc, etc.

There is one more problem: Occasionally, small green dots appear randomly on the screen, only to disappear after some time (refresh maybe?). This does not happen all the time, though - it is really only on occasion.

The laptop in question is:

  • HP EliteBook 8760w (so it is by no means too slow to do the work I want it to do)
  • Debian wheezy and KDE
  • I updated kernel few times already in an attempt to solve the problem and the current version is 3.2.0-4-686-pae.
  • The graphics card is 01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GF104 [Quadro 3000M] (rev a1).

I also ran SMART tests on my hard drive, but it (mostly) seems to be ok (at least to me) - see output at the end of this post (yes, it is /dev/sdb, because /dev/sda is boot partition on USB stick and the rest of my filesystems are encrypted).

I was googling quite a lot and tried all the tricks proposed I found, but still without success. Did anyone experienced similar problems? Does anyone have a clue how can I solve this issue?

Thanks,

.mq.

# smartctl -a /dev/sdb
smartctl 5.41 2011-06-09 r3365 [i686-linux-3.2.0-4-686-pae] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-11 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model:     TOSHIBA MK5061GSYN
Serial Number:    71FID1E7B
LU WWN Device Id: 5 000039 36ae044ae
Firmware Version: MH000C
User Capacity:    500,107,862,016 bytes [500 GB]
Sector Size:      512 bytes logical/physical
Device is:        Not in smartctl database [for details use: -P showall]
ATA Version is:   8
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Tue Feb 19 00:02:06 2013 CET
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x85) Offline data collection activity
                                        was aborted by an interrupting command from host.
                                        Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0) The previous self-test routine completed
                                        without error or no self-test has ever 
                                        been run.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection:                (  120) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:                    (0x51) SMART execute Offline immediate.
                                        No Auto Offline data collection support.
                                        Suspend Offline collection upon new
                                        command.
                                        No Offline surface scan supported.
                                        Self-test supported.
                                        No Conveyance Self-test supported.
                                        Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003) Saves SMART data before entering
                                        power-saving mode.
                                        Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01) Error logging supported.
                                        General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time:        (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:        ( 110) minutes.
SCT capabilities:              (0x003f) SCT Status supported.
                                        SCT Error Recovery Control supported.
                                        SCT Feature Control supported.
                                        SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   100   100   050    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  2 Throughput_Performance  0x0027   100   100   050    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0023   100   100   002    Pre-fail  Always       -       2304
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       262
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   093   093   010    Pre-fail  Always       -       146
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x002f   100   100   050    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  8 Seek_Time_Performance   0x0025   100   100   050    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   071   071   000    Old_age   Always       -       11935
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0033   105   100   030    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       237
183 Runtime_Bad_Block       0x0032   100   100   001    Old_age   Always       -       1
184 End-to-End_Error        0x0033   100   100   097    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
185 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   001    Old_age   Always       -       65535
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   009   009   000    Old_age   Always       -       91
188 Command_Timeout         0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
189 High_Fly_Writes         0x003a   100   100   001    Old_age   Always       -       0
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   058   050   040    Old_age   Always       -       42 (Min/Max 40/45)
191 G-Sense_Error_Rate      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       870
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0022   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       4718664
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   078   078   000    Old_age   Always       -       227024
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       27
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
ATA Error Count: 91 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
        CR = Command Register [HEX]
        FR = Features Register [HEX]
        SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
        SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
        CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
        CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
        DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
        DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
        ER = Error register [HEX]
        ST = Status register [HEX]
Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It "wraps" after 49.710 days.

Error 91 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 2672 hours (111 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 41 0a 2f 93 6e 64  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x046e932f = 74355503

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 18 20 28 d4 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:31.993  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 18 18 08 d4 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:31.993  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 18 10 e8 d3 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:31.993  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 00 d8 d3 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:31.993  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 40 10 40 09 70 40 00   2d+05:02:31.944  READ FPDMA QUEUED

Error 90 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 2672 hours (111 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 41 1a 2f 93 6e 64  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x046e932f = 74355503

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 50 58 18 01 40 00   2d+05:02:28.819  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 48 d8 d2 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:28.819  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 18 40 e8 d2 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:28.819  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 18 38 08 d3 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:28.819  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 18 30 28 d3 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:28.819  READ FPDMA QUEUED

Error 89 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 2672 hours (111 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 41 3a 2f 93 6e 64  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x046e932f = 74355503

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 48 d8 d1 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:25.694  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 18 40 e8 d1 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:25.694  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 38 28 93 6e 40 00   2d+05:02:25.694  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 18 30 08 d2 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:25.694  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 18 28 28 d2 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:25.694  READ FPDMA QUEUED

Error 88 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 2672 hours (111 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 41 12 2f 93 6e 64  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x046e932f = 74355503

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 40 38 09 70 40 00   2d+05:02:22.553  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 38 30 09 70 40 00   2d+05:02:22.553  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 30 28 09 70 40 00   2d+05:02:22.553  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 28 20 09 70 40 00   2d+05:02:22.553  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 20 18 09 70 40 00   2d+05:02:22.553  READ FPDMA QUEUED

Error 87 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 2672 hours (111 days + 8 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 41 92 2f 93 6e 64  Error: UNC at LBA = 0x046e932f = 74355503

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  60 08 90 28 93 6e 40 00   2d+05:02:19.370  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 88 d0 cf 1b 40 00   2d+05:02:19.370  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 80 c0 ff 6f 40 00   2d+05:02:19.370  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 78 c8 ff 6f 40 00   2d+05:02:19.370  READ FPDMA QUEUED
  60 08 70 d0 ff 6f 40 00   2d+05:02:19.370  READ FPDMA QUEUED

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%     11935         -
# 2  Short offline       Completed without error       00%     11933         -

SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.
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migrated from serverfault.com Feb 19 '13 at 0:08

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2 Answers 2

I don't believe this is (only) a disk problem. You can rule the disk out by trying a LiveCD. Ditto, rule out network by turning the network off and seeing what happens. And so on: try to reduce the variables by disconnecting/disabling as much as possible.

Look at /var/log/messages, that might show some unusual activity. You might even install sysstat (the package should be available for all Linux distributions), configure it to record activity and take a look at that after a few hours. That might give some clues.

Everything up to date? Any third-party packages (video driver, network card)? Replace those by the ones from the distribution?

What does free(1) report? What is the output of top(1)?

share|improve this answer
    
Network shouldn't effect him clicking. –  Griffin Feb 19 '13 at 0:24
    
@Griffin, a broken network card somewhere creating a steady stream of junk to broadcast can cause very strange symptoms... –  vonbrand Feb 19 '13 at 1:01
    
- LiveCD: This is little strange, and almost surely is just a wrong perception, but it seems to me that I can solve "green dots" problem by booting to windows. I do it only occasionally (2 times in last year or so) and it is how I "solved" this problem last time and seemed to work yesterday, as well. Regarding HDD, it seemed to work fine in under Windows, but I do not have there anything to simulate real usage (playing video, editing source code, compiling, reading reference manuals on internet) –  Mareq Feb 19 '13 at 5:52
    
- Logs: There is nothing interesting there (I looked at messages, kern, daemon, ...) –  Mareq Feb 19 '13 at 5:53
    
- Third party packages: Naturally, I have some, but it is rather very limited set (google chrome, skype, virtualbox) - nothing fancy/untrusted there. I might be wrong, but there might be coincidence of date when I switched to official graphics driver from repository instead of the one provided by NVidia. As a rule of thumb, I try to use packages from official Debian repository if at all possible. –  Mareq Feb 19 '13 at 5:55

This could depend on what distro you have. I know what I loaded up mint onto my computer it runs slow. This wasn't a good impressions for me considering I am an avid windows user. And that fact that a OS that was supposed to be really quick and low resource using was slow as hell didn't leave a good taste in my mouth. In other words it's not your hardware that's the problem. The OS is. Try loading up the different OS and installing it on the same drive. If that OS is just as slow after installing I'd look into a hardware problem. If the new OS runs faster from than the other one I'd look into the software.

share|improve this answer
    
Trying out a LiveCD is less intrusive... –  vonbrand Feb 19 '13 at 1:01

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