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Issue:

Whenever I try to run anything on this computer (start a program - or pretty much anything) it hangs up for about a second - the GUI becomes unresponsive and any terminals stop taking inputs (keyboard input doesn't show up on screen until after it becomes responsive again, so it is buffering).

Context:

This issue is happening on my laptop which has the following configuration:

  • HP 15.1 Inch Notebook (Model 15-ay066ne)
  • Intel i3-6006U
  • 4 Gigs of RAM
  • 500 GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD
  • Running Linux Mint 19.1 (Tessa)

I bought this machine about 5 months ago - it came preinstalled with Windows 10 Home Version but I reformatted the drive and put in Linux Mint. It was having similar issues (though not exactly the same) with windows 10 as well so the issue is probably something to do with the hardware.

What I've done:

Since the issue was only happening when I was trying to run something (i.e. load something from the HDD) - I thought that it may have to do with the HDD. I installed smartmontools and looked at the SMART data using smartctl. The status returned all OK:

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

I then ran a short self-test but that completed successfully as well

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Short offline       Completed without error       00%       679         -

Not sure if running more thorough tests would yield anything - since it's just testing all the HDD sectors - and I don't think I'm dealing with bad sectors. I'm not yet convinced however that the issue isn't with the HDD so I searched online to find a way to monitor the HDD usage itself using sysstatby using the command iostat -dx /dev/sda 5.

I started GIMP and noted when the computer hanged (Click for screenshot)

So I don't think it's the hard-drive anymore. I don't really know what else to test. From what I can tell through the built in system monitor in Mint - the issue doesn't seem to be the Processor or the Main Memory, their utilization remains normal during hangs. Any ideas on what to test and maybe what logs to look at would be appreciated.

  • 1
    Easiest way to check HDD and OS, leaving only hardware as possible cause of the issue, is to run directly from a Live USB... and you might try different distros, e.g. older Mint, or Ubuntu. – DrMoishe Pippik Mar 24 at 1:54
  • You've also got enough ram to use the toram option that some distro's honor, to copy absolutely everything to ram & run from there. That would eliminate even the USB/DVD as a suspect. And check dmesg & the syslog (/var/log/syslog) for anything when the hangs occur – Xen2050 Mar 24 at 17:51
  • So update on this for anyone looking at it in the future. It did actually turn out to be a hard-drive issue, the command I was running here was refreshing at a 5second interval, changing that to 1 second intervals revealed that the HDD was hitting 100% and staying there for a few milliseconds. I swapped out the HDD for an SSD and put the HDD in a caddy and the issues resolved. – Khurram Mar 29 at 0:45

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