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I have a problem with my netbook, it freezes frequently at random. Then it makes crunching noises and nothing helps except pressing the power button. It happens every 1-2 hours or so, during me working with firefox and office applications like kile, okular and thunderbird. How can I check for the cause? Is this simply overload or something else? It is just very annoying that it always freezes completely. I cannot call top or anything either. From my experience, if a computer is overloaded it slows down and freezes temporarily, but often recovers when left alone for a while...

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  • How much RAM does your netbook have? Does your netbook use much swap space? How much RAM is firefox using (and how many windows/tabs do you have open)? ditto for thunderbird and your other office apps. have you got AdBlock or NoScript or similar plugins installed (javascript can eat up enormous amounts of RAM and CPU)?
    – cas
    Apr 27 '16 at 9:10
  • I have 2GB of RAM. Just now I opened some programs to test and it froze while in top it showed firefox around 22%, gnome around 15% and okular, kile, rstudio and thunderbird 4-5% each. The rest only system applications which didn't seem to use much. Anyhow it was saying that around 1.8GB of RAM was used. I don't know why, my programs didn't seem to use so much... How do I check for swap space? In top output it show 0 swap, is that it? I do have AdBlock and NoScript, though on quite a few pages I have to disable NoScript at least partially to be able to use them (e.g. here)...
    – jenna
    Apr 27 '16 at 9:49
  • I think I might have misread your question. I didn't notice the bit where you're saying that it locks up completely (and has to be reset or power-cycled), only really noticed the final sentence and assumed that it freezes/slows-down temporarily and comes good again by itself some time later? In either case, I'd still recommend installing more RAM if you can (2GB is bare minimum, 4GB would be much better, 8GB better again). Have you tried monitoring CPU temperature, e.g. with lm-sensors?
    – cas
    Apr 27 '16 at 11:00
  • BTW, I have javascript etc disabled by default in all my browsers but also enable scripting for some sites (like SE sites) and occasionally notice long (temporary) freezes of a few minutes or more if I have too many browser windows or tabs open that use javascript.
    – cas
    Apr 27 '16 at 11:00
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This kind of behavior can be anything related from hardware to software errors, but most of the times it is directly related to a hardware problem. I had once this type of error in Ubuntu 14.04 and sorted it out by simply running the memory test unit (memtest86+). This somehow sorted out the problem and I didn't looked deeper into the root cause. Give it a try and let's see if it helps further.

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  • Thanks, it sounds promising! I will try it when I find out how to do it. It is not showing up in my grub menu which seems to be related to the UEFI-Bios...
    – jenna
    Apr 28 '16 at 8:05

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