In general; I am wondering which tools are good for fixing Ubuntu problems, or at least for finding out what they are?

Specifically: My screen freezes all of a sudden. I can't click anything, but I can move my mouse and I can't change screens or go to virtual console by ctr+alt+F1..6. I can "solve" this problem by restarting my computer.

  • Having a look at the different looks in /var/logs (also dmesg) might be a start. – Bobby Oct 29 '09 at 19:42
  • This might be a better fit for the Ubuntu Forums [ubuntuforums.org/], if you haven't been there already. – Nathaniel Oct 29 '09 at 19:47
  • 1
    @Nathaniel: SuperUser is a Q&A site, not a "look here to find your answer [link]" site. – Macha Oct 29 '09 at 19:53
  • I actually think this question has potential, however no matter how I edit it I end up replacing most of the original question, and it becomes to generalised. This question is not specific enough. – BinaryMisfit Oct 29 '09 at 19:57
  • I have opened this question up for discussion on meta: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/27786/… – BinaryMisfit Oct 29 '09 at 20:03

Checking the logs (/var/log) is a good start.

Hunting some existing bug reports describing your situation might be a good idea too. In case of ubuntu, head to the launchpad.

If the problem occurs when a specific program is used, it might be interesting to launch it from the command line to see if it outputs some errors or warning.

You can also launch this program with strace to check if a system call goes wrong.

You might try to find the minimal situation that can reproduce your bug.

When confronted to random bugs, the first things to check are your RAM (memtest86+) and your hard disk (e2fsck). You might want to also check your system resources (free, df, hdparm, ps, top, sensors, ...).

  • memtest86+ is a good suggestion. Note that it's shipped with the Ubuntu installation CD, and also present in the Grub startup menu (which will be visible if you dual boot; otherwise quickly press a key when Ubuntu boots to bring up the menu). – Stephan202 Oct 29 '09 at 20:01

When your computer freezes, do the caps lock and scroll lock lights start flashing? If so, that's a sign of a kernel panic. You'll have to restart.

After that, inspect e.g. the output of dmesg for any sign of trouble. More generally, go to System -> Administration -> Log file Viewer and see if any of those logs review the culprit.

A kernel panic can be caused by many things, not uncommonly hardware related. Search the Ubuntu forums, e.g. for caps lock flashing or kernel panic, and be sure to try some queries in which you include the your hardware (e.g. Thinkpad T60, or the type of wireless card you have; be creative).

  • +1 for first time learning about "kernel panic". And I have no idea how u guessed; or knew that I have t60 :D – bbaja42 Oct 29 '09 at 20:17
  • I have a T60 myself :). I had issues with it (they come and go), and I have found that googling for symptoms often leads one to pages where other Thinkpad users reported the same issues. Generalizing this, it seems reasonable to assume that at least to a certain extend different kinds of hardware have different kinds of issues. – Stephan202 Oct 29 '09 at 20:25
  • OT: my best bug yet; disabling modem (since I don't need it) in bios resulted in disabling audio card in ubuntu – bbaja42 Oct 29 '09 at 20:44

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