Steve Litt on 27 Mar 2017 14:32:24 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Need Troubleshooting Help

On Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:52:46 -0400
Casey Bralla <> wrote:

> This is a very weird computer problem that has me flummoxed, and I
> was hoping that someone could offer troubleshooting suggestions.
> My screen has gone crazy.   Menus take a second to open, screens
> don't update immediately, and then update only part of the screen.
> Even terminal sessions (under KDE) display weird behavior with the
> cursor jumping forward and backward.
> Here is a short video of the problem:
> Here's the backstory:
> I'm running Gentoo stable, with KDE desktop on a dual monitor
> nVidia/nouveau system.  The system is about 6 years old (AMD Phenom)
> with 8 GBytes of RAM on an Asus motherboard.
> Recently, one of the monitors abruptly died (pure white screen, no
> monitor setup menu).  After cursing, I dug out an older DVI monitor
> and got back to work.   But then I noticed something odd.  (NOTE:
> The first monitor dying may be irrelevant... that's part of what I
> find confusing.)
> I noticed that after about 10 minutes of use, the screen would start
> to act flaky.  This was very apparent when I'd switch from one KDE
> virtual desktop to another.  The new screen would not immediately be
> shown like it normally would.  Also, activating the KDE menu would
> sometimes be slow.  Also also, the screen would often "flash" around
> the updated portions.
> I assumed that the dying monitor had taken the video card with it, so
> bought another nVidia card, but got the same effect.  Since then,
> I've done the following tests, all with negative results:
> 1.  Removed the video card and run the built-in nVidia graphics
> adapter on the motherboard.
> 2.  Ran memtest (no problems)
> 3.  Removed half the RAM and swapped all the DIMMs around.
> 4.  Unplugged and powered-down an extra hard drive, case fan, and DVD
> burner to reduce the load on the power supply.
> 5.  Shut down every application, including akonadi.
> 6.  Rebooted with an older kernel that had never had a problem.
> 7.  Recompiled the Gentoo "sytem" files ("emerge -e system")
> 8.  Ran a quick SMART diagnosis on my SSD.
> I figured I probably blew the motherboard somehow, but then I
> discovered this:
> *** If I run a live version of Mint Linux (KDE) it works fine! ***
> So while I had thought this must be a hardware problem, the fact that
> a live distro runs fine seems to negate that hypothesis.
> Anybody got any suggestions of what to try?  Any idea how this might
> happen.

LOL, your video was so bandwidth intensive it caused *my* computer to
exhibit those symptoms.

1) After you reboot, and I mean power down for 30 seconds and power up,
how long, if at all,  do you remain symptom free, and what are some of
the things you did just before the symptom occurred?

2) Switch to LXDE for a few days and see whether the symptom appears.
If not, it sounds like you have a problem somewhere in your KDE system,
or like your 8GB Phenom system isn't up to the task of running a KDE
system with a little bit rot. If LXDE (a very lightweight window
manager) DOES exhibit the symptom, you've confined the problem to
hardware, OS, or X.


Steve Litt
March 2017 featured book: Troubleshooting: Why Bother?
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