Kernel panic while running X - how to diagnose?

Rashkae ubuntu at
Wed Jan 28 15:47:58 UTC 2009

Chris G wrote:
> I'm getting very occasional kernel panics on my xubuntu 8.10 system.
> By "very occasional" I mean maybe once a week or even less but they
> tend to come in batches, for example it's happened three or four times
> in the past few days after not having happened for a week or two.
> It doesn't seem to be happening when running any particular
> application though it *feels* like it happens when graphics/display
> work is happening.  E.g. it has happened sometimes when Firefox is
> updating the display.  I don't think it has ever happened when I'm not
> using the system, it runs 24 hours a day as it also acts as a server
> on our home LAN.
> The symptoms are a total freeze of the X desktop and usually the
> keyboard lights start flashing which I believe is indicating a kernel
> panic. 
> There's nothing that I can see in any of the log files in /var/log. 
> Before all the logging that occurs when the system is restarted there
> is only the normal "things happening" logging, nothing at all out of
> the ordinary.
> The motherboard is an Asus P5Q-VM, Intel chipset.  The temperatures
> are ridiculously low (32 and 20 Celsius) so I don't think that's the
> issue. 
> What can I do to diagnose the problem?

Boot from CD and run Memcheck for 4 hours.

Follow that up with a run of badblocks against all your Hard drives

If no hardware fault is found, try replacing your video card for a
couple months, (A low end Nvidia would do nicely and is available for
relatively small investment) (I just noticed that your MOBO has on-board
video, if you get to this step, please run memtest again with a video
card in place so the memory normally reserved for Video is also tested.)

After all that, if the computer is still not reliable and no fault can
be found, consider gifting it to a 'relative.'

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