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  #1  
Old 20th September 2006, 01:35 PM
owakroeger Offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Yuma, Arizona
Posts: 431
Exclamation Gnome desktop crashing, FC5

I'm not sure whether this is a software issue or what, so I'm posting this under the general listing. This is the problem I'm having;
With gradual increasing frequency, the entire system will lock up. Nothing will work except that the curser will move when I move the mouse. Force quit does nothing when I try it. I get the little target cross-hairs curser, but I am unable to get it to do anything if I place it over the window I want to close. None of the tried-and-true escape methods work. The only way out is to take the machine down cold, and hope that things don't get too scrambled.
As I mentioned, this is happening with increasing frequency. It was a few days between the first occurance and the next, just a day or so till the next, and now, several times in a single session.
The only good news is that I can still boot to my trusty installation of FC3, which still works flawlessly.
I haven't completely ruled out hardware as a possible cause, though it seems a bit unlikely, unless it could be the hard drive.
I have FC3 installed on /dev/hda, a 40G Western Digital. I have FC5 installed on /dev/hdc, an identical 40G Western Digital. FC3 works flawlessly. Below is my hardware.
/sbin/lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8375 [KM266/KL266] Host Bridge
00:01.0 PCI bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8633 [Apollo Pro266 AGP]
00:08.0 Multimedia audio controller: Creative Labs SB Live! EMU10k1 (rev 0a)
00:08.1 Input device controller: Creative Labs SB Live! MIDI/Game Port (rev 0a)
00:09.0 Serial controller: 3Com Corp, Modem Division 56K FaxModem Model 5610 (rev 01)
00:0a.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller (rev 03)
00:0e.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10)
00:11.0 ISA bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8233A ISA Bridge
00:11.1 IDE interface: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82C586A/B/VT82C686/A/B/VT823x/A/C PIPC Bus Master IDE (rev 06)
00:11.2 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 23)
00:11.3 USB Controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev 23)
00:11.5 Multimedia audio controller: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8233/A/8235/8237 AC97 Audio Controller (rev 40)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: S3 Inc. VT8375 [ProSavage8 KM266/KL266]
and my operating system. There is a newer kernel installed, but I haven't got it configured for my Win4LinPro installation, yet, so I boot to this kernel.
$ uname -a
Linux 00301B1CFE09 2.6.17-1.2174_FC5 #1 Tue Aug 8 15:30:55 EDT 2006 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux
I searched, some, for any similar problems posted, but haven't found anything, yet. So I appologize if there is another post of this problem that I missed.
Does anyone have any ideas? I'd sure appreciate any help I can get with this.
Thanks in advance.
owa
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  #2  
Old 20th September 2006, 02:50 PM
electroconvulsi Offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sydney Australia (GMT +10)
Age: 43
Posts: 123
Exclamation A quick suggestion.

I want to ask how old the drives are? There is a possibility that the drive that has fc5 installed on it has some corrupted sectors on it. There is a tool from WD that checks the drive for such errors. You will have to do a search for it yourself but it is downloadable. If the drive is cracking up as I suspect from personal experience maybe it is time to use the WD zero write utility on it. Be careful though and make sure to back all your files up onto the other drive because this utility wipes the drive clean from end to end with no recovery of files possible because it writes new zeros right across the drive and makes a brand new sector layout on it. The other bit of advice I would give if you do that is to disconnect the power on the drive with FC3 on it if you wipe just to make sure that you dont wipe the wrong one. If the disk has sectors gone on it I can guarantee you that more will go in the near future and it could be the reason your problem is getting worse. Remember to use the hard drive utilities to check before you actually wipe. It would be preferable to fix the problem before wiping and installing from scratch if the disk is actually OK.

But before you do that Im going to ask the obvious about wether you have all the latest updates for fc5 etc. I used to be on dial up and know that updates can take days if you are a dial up user but that would be the first thing I try.

To update via the terminal (if you dont already know how to)
1. Open Terminal
2. type su -
3. Enter password (dont worry if you cant see it entering on the screen)
4. type yum update -y
5. wait till it finishes updating and restart if the system tells you its necessary.

Good luck with it but also wait for other advice from others as this is just a suggestion and someone a little more knowledgable than me might have a fix or have experienced similar problems.
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  #3  
Old 25th September 2006, 11:58 AM
owakroeger Offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Yuma, Arizona
Posts: 431
Thanks for the suggestion. I downloaded the WD diagnostics iso and burned a cd. Then I booted to the cd and ran several extensive tests on both drives, especially /dev/hdc. No errors. I also ran the memtest86 a few times with no errors. Yet, when I booted to the FC5 installation, it locked up again the first time I used file browser.
So, I rebooted to the WD diagnostic cd, did a secure erase of hd1 (/dev/hdc), rebooted to FC3, built my partitions on /dev/hdc with fdisk, and created ext3 file systems on the partitions with mke2fs -c -j , and copied the entire installation of FC3 to the appropriate partitions on /dev/hdc.
I am now running FC3 on that suspected hard drive, /dev/hdc, and we'll see what happenes. If I don't experience any problems, I'll try again to install FC5 onto this drive, like before.
Thanks for the feedback. It'll be a few days before I can post back regarding this to give time to see if this problem recurrs.
owa
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  #4  
Old 8th October 2006, 01:38 PM
owakroeger Offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Yuma, Arizona
Posts: 431
Just an update on this problem;
There must have been some bit degradation or something with this drive, /dev/hdc. Since I completely erased it with all zeros, I haven't had any problems at all.
The installation of FC3 on /dev/hdc ran perfectly. So I tried to upgrade to FC5, using the upgrade option on the installation dvd. As usual, upgrading brings with it enough problems that it just isn't worth all the headache. So I did a fresh install and FC5 seems to be working just fine.
Just a few thoughts on FC install/upgrades;
This may be heresy, but if the folks at ms can write a files_and_settings_transfer_wizard program that works fairly well, surely the writers with Fedora can write something similar, probably even better. The reason I say this is because of the aggressive release schedule employed with Fedora.
I'll say, flat out, that Anaconda is the best installation program out there. Period. As amazingly good as Anaconda is, it seems that an upgrade should truly be an upgrade. It seems that, as defined by Fedora/Anaconda, an upgrade is "We'll leave most, but not all, of your data intact. We just won't tell you which files may or may not have been deleted. Also, just because some files/programs might have been left is no guarantee that they will still work after the 'upgrade.'" This leaves the end user to waste time and sweat attempting to 'upgrade,' only to have it fail. Then do a fresh install and spend even more time re-installing/restoring programs to a workable state. All this just to upgrade from an operating system which worked just fine, doing everything I wanted it to do and then some, to an operating system which doesn't seem to offer anything I don't already have, and requires all this effort.
It was for these annoying problems that I skipped FC4 completely. It was only because FC3 was soon to be designated as "legacy" that I even bothered with FC5. Just what implications there are with the "legacy" designation, I don't know. It just sounded ominous enough to make me move up to FC5.
However, cautious as I am, I will leave FC3 installed on /dev/hda until I'm certain that FC5 will continue to work. (No, I don't wear a belt and suspenders!)
There! I have vented! Take it for what it is ..... just blowing off steam. I will continue to use Fedora till it fails to do what I need it to do. But, I have spoken.
owa
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  #5  
Old 8th October 2006, 04:28 PM
electroconvulsi Offline
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sydney Australia (GMT +10)
Age: 43
Posts: 123
Congratulations Owa, you seem to have the problem fixed. Admittedly the WD disk check utility has passed a suss drive on me before and not being satisfied with the results I zero wrote the drive anyway and had no problems with it after that. If you have the time or the will FC6 is coming out in a few weeks and when it does im going to consolidate all my best hardware (as in my nvidia fx 5500 and my 2 biggest drives) will be going into my audio studio machine and I will be definately zero writing both drives for that event and putting FC6 on it along side M$xp which I use for running my audio setup's MIDI and audio functions.

Anyway good luck with it and im pretty sure that that drive and your FC5 install will hold up now.
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