Kernel panic while running X - how to diagnose?

Chris G cl at
Wed Jan 28 17:21:40 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 10:47:58AM -0500, Rashkae wrote:
> 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.'
:-)  I was wondering about memtest, I'll give it a good long run tonight.

Chris Green

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