September 1, 2012

Fixing freezing issues on Mint 13 Xfce and my new laptop

Fixing freezing issues on Mint 13 Xfce and my new laptop

As noted before, I’ve been having freezing issues with my new laptop, on which I’d installed Mint 13 Xfce (based on Ubuntu 12.04). The freezing usually came up whenever I did anything hardware-intensive, such as copying files from my external hard drive, or (particularly) using Handbrake to rip DVDs, but also came about randomly. Since it was a hard freeze (requiring holding the power button to reboot), I wasn’t thrilled.

After some researching, I found the issue seems to be that the default Linux kernel (3.2.x version) that comes with Mint 13/Ubuntu 12.04 has some issues with brand-new hardware. The main fix, based on this Ubuntu bug fix thread, seems to be installing a newer, post-3.2.x-version of the Linux kernel. (I initially tried to disable i915 modules as suggested, but that didn’t work as well.) While I haven’t done this before, I found some instructions for doing it with older versions of Mint, and just changed version numbers accordingly. In my case, running a 64-bit system (yes, I backed up first, and no, I don’t take responsibility if it breaks your system, to give the usual warnings):

  • Go to http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.4-precise/  which has the 3.4 version of the kernel, designed for Ubuntu 12.04 (and thus Mint 13). While there’s newer versions of the kernel available (3.5.3 as of this writing), they seemed more geared toward the upcoming Ubuntu 12.10, and thus I thought I’d play it safe.
  • Download:
    • linux-headers-3.4.0-030400-generic_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_amd64.deb
    • linux-headers-3.4.0-030400_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_all.deb
    • linux-image-3.4.0-030400-generic_3.4.0-030400.201205210521_amd64.deb
  • From the Terminal, go to the directory you downloaded the above .deb files to, then enter: sudo dpkg -i *.deb
  • Enter password as needed, then hit “Enter.” After the files finish installing, restart your computer. The new kernel should be up and running. To check if it’s installed, one can type into the Terminal uname -a to display the kernel version.

If you need to revert to the previous version of the kernel, restart the computer, then hold down the Shift key while it boots up. The GRUB menu should display, allowing you to choose which kernel version to boot up with.

So far, the freezing issues seem to have stopped for me. Hopefully future versions of Xubuntu/Mint will have better “out of the box” support for my still-new laptop…

Tags: kernelLinuxLinux MintTechUbuntuXfce

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