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Since I installed 13.04, I've had occasional lockups that sometimes relate to VLC player (could be something else). I can sometimes CtrlAltF1 to a different terminal to sigkill VLC, but sometimes it looks up to a point where I can't click buttons and can't execute any keyboard commands and I need to power cycle.

Does anyone have any recommendations for how I should troubleshoot this issue? Should I hunt through /var/log after it happens etc?

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This is a direct problem with one application. If you can't find any other report about this problem, you should try to contact the application support (forums, bug reports, IRC, etc)

In this special case, it can be a problem in the vlc or in the Xorg or in the graphic card drivers. If it is powerful enough for locking the machine, i would suspect the drivers crashing. As this is old, it is probably also resolved already, as both close and open source graphic card drivers have improved a lot in the last few years... but anyway, the rule "update the GPU drivers" still applies

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