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I'm using Ubuntu 10.10 with Gnome on Acer Aspire One netbook. The X11 or just some parts of Gnome like panels and partially windows (details described below) are frozen which doesn't allow to do anything with mouse (although the cursor can move, but clicking anywhere brings no results - panels are frozen (the clock is standing etc) and windows minimized), but generally the system, all processes (obviously except gnome shell) and hardware are working right - all leds (main hard disk, external swap disk, network) are blinking from time to time and there is a power supplied to USB ports so for example a keyboard is working and also some shortcuts like Super+D (minimizing and maximizing all windows but all I can see is only one blank window with plain surface and no contents displayed, the other windows I probably moved to another workspace with a shortcut or they are not showed due to the problem) but Ctrl+Alt+F[1-6] unfortunately not and I don't know the reason but I assume it probably never have been working before (I just had no opportunity to use it in the past and check if it works) even when it's pressed on external USB keyboard.

The things I already used to try are:

  • Firstly just waiting hoping that Gnome will handle it alone because it happened during doing some windows' actions like moving. minimizing and so on.
  • Secondly the shortcut Alt+F2 during the focus was on desktop and then typing certain commands to run (like trying to force playing some sound to ensure that system is reacting, xdotool to emulate shortcut opening tyy or just running sudo chvt) with no seeing what I'm doing and typing in hope that it's working in background but sadly it brings no effects.
  • Then some other Gnome's shortcuts but they are not working in such circumstances or I just can't see their results by now.
  • Finally I used to try to execute a bash script from pendrive with autorun.inf file inside - I'm aware that it couldn't run automatically after plugging in but as I suppose it should probably ask in dialog box what to do after detecting it and then I would try to allow execution trying to choose "run" option not seeing it but acting step by step from memory like I observed on the second machine and executing playing sound as a proof the system is alive and then try it with some more useful commands as I mentioned above but I have another computer with identical OS and configuration on which I verified it and it probably wouldn't ask - I assume that the frozen one would react in the same way - it just opens directory window when there is no autorun there or do nothing when autorun file exists and is detected - however please notice that the pendrive is mounted automatically - maybe it still would be helpful somehow.

The thing which I also tried is obviously Ctrl+Alt+F[1-6] but it's sadly not effective too. I have no idea why it doesn't work but I think there is no chance to fix it right now or maybe I don't know about something.

I'm looking for even extreme solutions - the point is how can I execute even small piece of code in such a case to execute chvt or xdotoll or eventually hibernate processes and copy RAM contents to external disk to secure unsaved data?

Is there a possibility or any even theoretical chance to get an access to the computer/tty through making direct connection via crossover network cable between two computers if I've never installed or configured anything related to it before now? Or is there any other way to make connection with the frozen computer to get a remote access and control it in my situation?

I have an external automatically mounting CD-ROM, maybe that could be used for something helpful? Moreover I can see and hear a reaction after plugging something to USB port because the hard disk start working hard for a moment.

The main aim is to open tty or run script with the same commands that I would typed there like as a first of all refreshing gnome-shell or then some other marked above because system is still working. That's why I believe that there exist more reasonable and less drastic methods than cold boot attack which I've just read about and there is no need to do it although I'm desperate and ready to do a lot of things to handle it.

The computer will be working until I will find some satisfying solution allowing bringing back a stability or although save a RAM state which is just one line of code but I need to know the way to execute it.

I'm going to post it on other Stack sites too because it's really urgent and I'm looking for help everywhere - I hope it's not a serious wrongdoing and please excuse me that.

Please share your ideas - I will really appreciate every hint.

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You can try using the ssh command on another computer to connect to your computer. You might be able to use your computer's local IPv4, or IPv6. ssh -l login_name IPADDRESS

If what's displayed on the computer is important, another thing you could do is to take a picture of your screen with a camera. You might have to play with your camera settings as well as room lighting to get it to take a usable picture. Usually 'flash' is bad, and a tripod can help.

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