Ubuntu: Why did Ubuntu and Windows start hanging mysteriously after I took a vacation?



Question:

I installed Ubuntu alongside my Windows 7, after partitioning my HDD using Easeus partitioning manager. It was working perfectly, no problems, no data lost or corruption.

Then I went away for 2 days and in my absence I don't know what happened in that period, now both Windows 7 and Ubuntu keep hanging continuously, like when you paint and change a brush it'll hang, I mean on very simple commands and I know my computer does not hang on such petty things.

I use it for developing music and the specification are:

  • Model: DELL-XPS
  • Processor: Intel i5, 2.53 GHz
  • RAM/Memory: 4GB
  • Hard disk size: 500GB HDD
  • Windows 7 partition: 417 GB
  • Ubuntu Partition: 50 GB

Please Help.


Solution:1

Ubuntu and Windows does not affect one another so if you get issues like this at the same time in both, it is very likely a hardware issue. I would test your harddisk for errors. You can do that in Palimpsest in Ubuntu. In the right-most column at the top, you'll see a button to run SMART-tests.

Another common cause of symptoms like that, is overheating which can be caused by a dusty fan for instance.


Solution:2

I've known about this problem for the past 10 years. Its the reason I have my own business:

The thermal grease of your CPU can only last for 2 years. After that time you need to take your laptop/PC to a technical service so they can clean it and change thermal grease. If it is a laptop it should be cleaned every 18 months and thermal grease should be changed every 2 cleaning cycles. People always think a computer can last several years. This is true, but only if you keep it clean and change thermal grease. If you fail to do that it will suddenly overheat and have a massive performance drop such as the one you're experiencing, and potentially damage hardware.

Always take care of your computer. I've had my laptop for 7 years, and its still working fine.


Solution:3

Assuming that the system is not overheating, then check your memory and your hard drive(s). To check your memory, let memtest run overnight. You can start it from the Grub menu. Just photograph the screen in the morning and post it here. To check your hard drive, try sudo smartctl -t long /dev/hda, then don't touch the computer for a few hours until it finishes. You might need to install smartmontools first. See here.


Solution:4

On Windows, if it isn't a hardware problem, try CCleaner, sometimes that helps. If it IS a hardware problem, check the ensure the memory is fully registering, sometimes, when exposed to a high temperature things happen to happy hardware. Also, I know I had this happen to me, could it be possible you didn't notice the hang before? I came back to a PC to find it a LOT slower than I had remembered and that was simply because I was used to the hang to the extend that I had forgotten to care.


Solution:5

Well, let me suggest another possible reason for this strange behaviour: A weak cmos-battery. You should check first if there are any settings changed or corrupted in your BIOS. If your Notbook went out of power during your vacation AND the Bios-battery is low, settings for CPU, Bus-speed and ram-clocking, may have reset to standard values not corresponding with your actual system. This can cause slow computing as well.


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