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K27 freezing very easily/often, very hard to back up for upgrade

[My timing is terrible, having missed the announcement of the korora suspension while i was being patient / busy / procrastinating about my problems. But this has been a good little community, so maybe...?]

Roughly thruout kernel 4.16 i had an increase in system freezes (with cpu/fan runaway), but i waited it out like past rough patches. (Winter before last there was a stretch when i have to restart multiple times every time i tried to boot up; and it cleared up eventually.)

1] Then with 4.17, K27 (KDE btw) became very fragile, locking up very frequently and easily -- with no fan, so presumably not high cpu use, media playing will repeat a small interval. Easily as in during bulk/single-large file copy/moving, even with nothing else running but the file manager. Which is a nightmare now that i'm trying to freshly back up the entire system for conversion to fedora 28. I prefer nemo, but to check if it's that program i've tried and maaaaybe krusader is a bit better but maybe that's chance and in any case it happens a lot with krusader as well. If a folder locks the system, i have to move the constituent parts in as many chunks as i can get away with.

And when the system locks i have to do a hard shutdown. Which brings me to some things i've thought of posting about for a long time:

2] One thing i miss about windows [gasp!] is the priority given to task manager, so that if say the internet browser locked up, one could still pull up task manager and kill the process. In korora kde i have a shortcut for ksysgurad, but i can't get it to open when things are frozen (even the 4.16 way when the mouse would still respond with delay). Any ideas?

3] Since i'm trying to back up my computer to an external HD, sometimes the hard shutdowns result in file system damage and then on reboot K27 won't mount the HD. Again, maddeningly, the best fix i have for this (and this was recommended in web search results) is to boot windows, which invariably can mount and restore the HD. This is literally the only reason i'm keeping windows on a bunch of space i've love to have for linux on my SSD. I admit i could web search further about this, but...any ideas?

(4] ok, shameless tangent, but this might be my last chance to ask: Favorite way in fedora to defrag an external HD? ......Again, so i can ditch my windows............)

And (esp'ly after lockups and reboots) the copies in my backup might be incomplete and i have to run properties over and over to hunt down the folders that aren't fully copied. As things are this backup is going to take a looonnnnnnnnnnngggggggg tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmme...

To be clear: if i can get the file copying to work better, i'll move to F28 and see if that cures the rest of the problem -- that's part of why i'm not giving a lot of other information about my system and circumstances in which the system freezes.

So, any ideas?

Any help with any of this would be grovelingly appreciated. I hope others aren't having this degree of problem, but i semi-hope some of this is relevant to others.

Best to all...

Behaviour like this is unusual for KDE. I've not seen any other reports of similar either. I'm wondering if it could be a hardware issue.

There should be no need to defrag a Linux drive depending on the filesystem you use. The default ext4 doesn't work like Windows filesystems and fragmentation shouldn't occur.

Have you tried using a live system on a USB or similar and accessing the harddrive from there?

BTW there is little reason to back up anything other than the /home directory.

It could be possible that you swap is being used excessively. Swappiness is set to 60 by default which can cause SSD's to wear faster, so it's best to lower it to 1. First check what your swappiness is set too:

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

If it shows 60 change it to 1. Open a terminal and type or copy/paste:

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf

At the end of the file add:

vm.swappiness=1

Save with CTRL O and hit Enter, leave nano with CTRL X, close the terminal and reboot your system. After the reboot check with cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness to see if the changes have been applied. If all went well it should show 1. Your system performance should be increased and the swappiness reduced.

By the way, it would be nice if you could provide us with some more info about your computer: CPU, RAM etc. etc.. You could do that with inxi (you need to install that if not done so already)and post the output of inxi -Fxz here.

Thx so much to both of you for the replies!

Best evidence the freezes are OS is they happen on both of my K27 KDE computers with different hardware, starting at the sameish time with 4.17 and occurring with a variety of applications (eg not only external drives so not my usb port, etc).

Also, it's hard to say objectively, but it sure seems the freezes have almost stopped happening for anything other than file transfers since 4.17.6 (was it 6 or 5? I think 6). (When i have big troubles and the kernel/etc is updated frequently as it has been in recent days, i hold tight and hope others are having related problems and it's being worked on...)

The defrag question is for external hdd's with ntfs for sharing between linux and windows. Which will still be ntfs and have this issue if i dump windows but (for now) don't have another place to empty them out and reformat. Good idea to have a rescue/toolkit liveusb, tho! I've seen linux fixes via this or that in terminal, but reviews/advice were mixed and windows is so easy if it's right there, so i wondered if you all had a favorite software method.

Yes, only backing up home, sorry i wasn't clear. Re which, i put in some hours and got the backup done... Btw, i regret i was lazy etc in not posting that anaconda gave me a VERY hard time upgrading my main computer to K27 while leaving home unchanged. Not worth another hassle this time, and with problems as bad as they are, i want to err on the freshest system...

The swappiness idea is interesting, i'd guess not the problem but good to think about. To save SSD space i already had that reduced and the swap partition much smaller than auto-created. (I heard somewhere it's best not to set it to 0 in case something wants to force swap even when memory is available -- that's also why i left some swap partition vs none. Curious what you think, if you want to chat about it, not a big deal. Also, some say the only reason for swap when there's plenty of ram for the use case is to give more time to catch a runaway system before it locks up? Maybe that one is affecting me?) As to why i'm guessing (NOT an expert, here :^) it's not the problem: i have 8G of ram seldom used, and while i oc haven't see a usage readout after a freeze, i for instance just now did a couple things that have caused freezes recently: playing a video in vlc and resizing the window (just now very rapidly back and forth) or repeat- jumping/dragging the progress slider. Only the tiniest notch in ram use, swap at 0.

Btw i had never used nano before and tried it to further lower the setting on one computer, and it wouldn't accept CTRL 0 as save, just printed a 0... So i just used sysctl.

Finally, i'm still curious (if it's fun or helps others as well) about the issue that's probably most important if F28 fixes the immediate problem: I'll still have freezes or bad slowdowns from time to time, and it's so frustrating that the system has cycles available for eg moving the pointer (sloowwwwwwwly or with delay), but i can't pull up a process manager to kill the stuck process. ?????

I'll post again with the early results of F28 (look ma, no windows!, moral purity!! 8^p

Thx again and blessings...

None of the systeminfo given as asked makes it harder to troubleshoot issues. K27 never got tested so can't help with that, F28 KDE runs fine on my Lenovo T410, no issues at all. Furthermore it's CTRL O not 0 , so you have to press CTRL and O together and then hit enter to save the changes. Pressing CTRL and X together closes nano. Using no swap, or say set swappiness to 0, is indeed never recommended.

Swap is also used for hibernation (aka suspend to disk) but it needs to be set up on the kernel boot line.

BTW I use separate partitions not LVM so don't have issues upgrading and keeping some partitions. There can be an issue setting the boot device as Anaconda handles that poorly.

Thx for more responses. I was almost done another post when wifi dropped and it froze when i tried to reset (a frequent problem as well), even tho i thought i had saved my words to a thumbdrive in time...... So briefer this time:

Sorry for little system info: i have to upgrade to F28 anyway, it's not a known issue, and i managed (over hours) to get backed up enough, so i'll upgrade and see. I've tried a few things and have other reasons why i don't think it's swap or any other runaway/maxx-ing out, but more of an easy-to-cause hangup. A bit more below.

Yes, i don't use hibernation.

Thx for the std partition tip, which i will use this time rather than lvm!

Reading up for F28 and adding repositories, 1] i tried removing fedora-updates-testing, but that didn't help. 2] curious why that's used/needed... 3] (top thing to please answer if you have to choose): would F28 be more stable without f-u-testing (on average YMMV etc, oc)? Could/should i do that when i don't have korora goodies that need it?

I appreciate any responses and understand if not; will post F28 results in any case. Blessings...

The fedora-updates-testing repo shouldn't be enabled et all, it was one of the hick up that didn't get fixed. Packages/updates from testing are in that repo to be tested and yes, they can cause issues sometimes. Once they are fully tested they are pushed to the stable repo. Tip: don't upgrade but do a clean install of Fedora 28 and when it comes to asking for support on Fedora it'd be best to ask on their forum for help. Even though we use Fedora as base for our distro the focus on our support medium was/is mainly for Korora . :-)

IIRC the original test systems we built for K27 were prepared before F27 was released so updates-testing would have been enabled, as it usually is in Fedora's betas. It would have been removed before any final ISOs were prepared.

Thx and kindof apologies as we wind down -- it's bad timing to be raising this when korora folks are taking a break. I've posted with no expectations, bearing my hacker friends in mind who find this stuff fun ;^) ...Plus users listening in. I also understand that if my problem is unique, busy people might have little reason to focus on it -- totally fair. So, for the fun of chatting, as i head out the door:

Re testing repository: Yes, i upgraded both of my machines immediately after "k27" was created, as soon as notified on this forum.

And now the quickie saga of trying other distros:

  • I did a fresh install of f28, and it was better but more or less the same, very disappointing. No "testing" and no rpmfusion btw. (Kernel was now 4.17.5, not .6)
  • Then i had the "duh" idea that it might be a problem with /home being encrypted, so i reinstalled f28 without that; didn't help.
  • (Bearing in mind that i have the problem on 2 machines which are similar (all intel chips sets, ssd's, mid-upper consumer level) but different brands and several years separated and different use cases (i often am grabbing torrents on one, but never the other, etc) -- it's hard to believe it's a simultaneous and identically-acting hardware problem. Experience so far seems to put the problem (for my wacky case) within core fedora. So i thought i'd try a different distro, in fact as different as i could find...
  • I tried 2 versions of BSD, neither of whose live usb were acceptable to uefi...
  • So i went to Mint, on which i'm writing you now. Problem solved. I had a couple glitches out of the box, but after the first tiny and then first big set of updates there's been no problem. As i review to hit send i'm 122G and and a couple hours and counting into putting home data back on the machine all in one huge chunk, plus a web browser (obviously :^), plus trying to trip it up by turning wifi and bluetooth on and off repeatedly (tho that might never have been a problem until they broke first, and then attempting to restart them caused the system to freeze). So hurray!!.......i guess?

Because i wanted to stay fedora, and now i have to doubt if trying to make that work is worth it. I take your point and mostly likely will post to a fedora help forum, out of hope and curiosity at least. But it seems common sense to find a distro that works easily and maybe try again with fedora 29, 30, etc.

Thanks again for all responses, NNTR, really -- if i hear nothing i will be sending grateful vibes.

Have a great break from all this craziness %^0 Farewell and blessings...

A (final?) NNTR update, for any korora diagnosis junkies :^)

I had to move on from korora with my main laptop -- temporarily to Mint as in the previous post. But i only use my older machine as a media center and i've left that as k27. So the retrospectively obvious idea occurred to me as i read up about distros and thought about my experiences and needs -- why not try a significantly earlier kernel? I rolled it back to 4.13.9 and no problems so far, haven't done any crazy stress tests but it's not frozen once incl thru the kinds of things that froze it before in 4.17, plus fixes of other i-think-4.16ish issues, such as sometimes having to reboot a bunch to get wifi to take. Mint is 4.15, btw iirc.

I gather that fedora is meant to be cutting edge and so running an older kernel is both asking for compatibility trouble and kinda missing the whole point. I might not need the latest software, but plenty of times i've appreciated it -- i think libreoffice and kde have trained me in this 8^/ So i'm taking it as a lesson to look for distros that are conservative with kernels but liberal (tho community tested, not bleeding raw) with software. (And i'm tempted to blather about other factors, because let's face it distro shopping is fun -- that's how i found korora!) Suffice it to say manjaro is in the lead after trying a few; among other things its kernel manager is maybe unique and perfect for what i'm talking about.

I guess that's part of why the update -- i might not come back to the fedora family after all... But eternal thanks and blessings!

Just in case any of my diagnostic helpers are still listening: The problem was likely this: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1598462 , which gave many people the symptoms i had and stuck around for a while, 4.17.- 4,5,6, and 10. My k27 machine that i reverted to 4.15 is now seemingly fine with 4.17.11.

(Writing from manjaro and itching to go back to fedora... :^)

Edited your post so the link works.

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