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Thread: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is saved to the hard drive

  1. #1
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    Default Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is saved to the hard drive

    For a long time I'm experiencing a very bizarre issue on my system, primarily involving three applications. The problem affects Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin. What happens is that, after any of those programs are left running for a while, they become unresponsive for 5 - 30 seconds whenever a file is created or saved on my hard drive by some programs. I initially noticed that those 3 applications become unresponsive when I save an image from Firefox... but later I saw that saving a file in Kwrite for the first time also causes it. Closing and restarting either of the programs makes the issue stop happening to it... until a few hour(s) later when it begins again. An important clue I noticed in the System Monitor is that while unresponsive, both Firefox Thunderbird and Pidgin use 13% CPU, and after they become responsive again they go back to normal. Their icons in the system tray (KDE) also become invisible while they're unresponsive.

    How can saving an image from Firefox or a text file in Kwrite cause those specific applications to become stuck for nearly half a minute each time? What could possibly trigger it and how can they relate? Is this due to a known bug or some hard drive / memory problem, and is there a solution?
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is saved to the hard drive

    I haven't experienced this, but a good place to start might be to consider the advice given here

    Firefox hangs or is not responding - How to fix | Firefox Help

    and also examine

    Help>Troubleshooting Information

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is savedto the hard drive

    On 2013-01-05 12:26, MirceaKitsune wrote:
    > How can saving an image from Firefox or a text file in Kwrite cause
    > those specific applications to become stuck for nearly half a minute
    > each time? What could possibly trigger it and how can they relate? Is
    > this due to a known bug or some hard drive / memory problem, and is
    > there a solution?


    Is your system using swap?

    Is your disk going to sleep?

    Check your disk for errors (use smartctl). They would show in the
    messages log, too, while you try to write.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4, with Evergreen, x86_64 "Celadon" (Minas Tirith))

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is savedto the hard drive

    Quote Originally Posted by robin_listas View Post
    On 2013-01-05 12:26, MirceaKitsune wrote:
    Is your system using swap?

    Is your disk going to sleep?

    Check your disk for errors (use smartctl). They would show in the
    messages log, too, while you try to write.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4, with Evergreen, x86_64 "Celadon" (Minas Tirith))
    I have 9GB of triple-channel RAM and a 2GB swap partition. SMART doesn't report any errors on the drive at boot, nor did I ever experience file read / write errors in any other form.

    Something else that's important which I foolishly forgot to mention: This happens both on my main PC and laptop, which means it's certainly not a hardware issue. I did however port many configuration settings from one to the other.
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is savedto the hard drive

    Open a terminal and login as root with su -. What is the output of the commands below? Please be careful to type them correctly.
    Code:
    cat /sys/block/sda/queue/read_ahead_kb
    cat /proc/sys/vm/dirty_writeback_centisecs
    hdparm -B /dev/sda
    Then log out using exit. Expected values are:
    read_ahead_kb 128
    dirty_writeback_centisecs 500
    hdparm 254

    If these values are correct then it might just be an issue with firefox. I think it is possible if the hdparm value is low, your disk is spinning down and upon saving a file it needs to spin up again and commit i/o.

  6. #6
    dd NNTP User

    Default Re: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is savedto the hard drive

    On 01/05/2013 03:56 PM, MirceaKitsune wrote:
    > I did however port many configuration settings
    > from one to the other.


    try using yast to add a new test user....and see if the _same_ problems
    show up "after any of those programs are left running for a while"

    so, you will need to commit to _using_ that test user in the same kind
    of ways you now use your own user...i'm not exactly sure how to do that
    with all three of the named problem programs: firefox and pigdin
    shouldn't be too hard, but TB might be...

    --
    dd

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    Default Re: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is savedto the hard drive

    On 2013-01-05 15:56, MirceaKitsune wrote:

    > I have 9GB of triple-channel RAM and a 2GB swap partition. SMART
    > doesn't report any errors on the drive at boot, nor did I ever
    > experience file read / write errors in any other form.


    No, you have to run the long smart test to be sure.
    If there are currently known errors they would be in the log.


    > Something else that's important which I foolishly forgot to mention:
    > This happens both on my main PC and laptop, which means it's certainly
    > not a hardware issue. I did however port many configuration settings
    > from one to the other.


    I can not imagine what.

    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.
    (from 11.4, with Evergreen, x86_64 "Celadon" (Minas Tirith))

  8. #8
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    Default [SOLVED] Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is saved to the hard drive

    Thought to let everyone know I fixed this problem a few weeks ago. It was caused by another issue with the eSATA chip messing up hard drive functionality, see this thread for more information. I also switched my remaining Windows partitions from NTFS to ext4 which might have contributed as well.
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

  9. #9
    dd NNTP User

    Default Re: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is savedto the hard drive

    On 01/29/2013 01:36 PM, MirceaKitsune wrote:
    >
    > Thought to let everyone know I fixed this problem


    happy to hear! good on ya!
    yep, when using Linux you will get the best service, stability, speed
    etc from Linux file systems..

    --
    dd
    openSUSE®, the "German Engineered Automobile" of operating systems!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Certain applications become unresponsive when a file is savedto the hard drive

    Quote Originally Posted by dd View Post
    On 01/29/2013 01:36 PM, MirceaKitsune wrote:
    happy to hear! good on ya!
    yep, when using Linux you will get the best service, stability, speed
    etc from Linux file systems..

    --
    dd
    openSUSE®, the "German Engineered Automobile" of operating systems!
    Indeed. I used NTFS on data partitions cuz I was switching from Windows. Once I got rid of Win I could change all to ext4, and they started working faster. NTFS worked too but much slower, and of course had no file / folder permissions. The main problem still was likely the eSATA chip.
    openSUSE Tumbleweed x64, KDE Framework 5

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