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Thread: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

  1. #1

    Default OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    Hello!

    I have a notebook HP 250 G6, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD SATA 5400rpm on which I installed OpenSuse Leap 15.0.

    Almost always, after few minutes from startup, the entire system get freezed: no mouse movement, no keyboard input, and the HDD starts an intensive work with distinct noise from both HDD and cooler fan.

    The problem can last for several minutes, sometimes I get impatient and make a hard reboot. Then it runs well, until the next time.

    There's no way I can work smoothly for more than half an hour without either reboot (by power button) or have a break to let it "calm down".

    What are the applications running when the system get stuck? Essentially only Firefox, or sometimes two instances of Firefox.

    Mi problem is very similar to this one https://forums.opensuse.org/showthre...ht=freeze+disk but with some differences: I have a btrfs partition.

    I put here below the output of the commands you requested to the fellow user.

    Code:
    >>> sudo fdisk --list
    Disk /dev/sda: 465,8 GiB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 sectors
    Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
    Disklabel type: dos
    Disk identifier: 0x7ebf80cd
    
    Dispositivo Avvio    Start      Fine   Settori   Size Id Tipo
    /dev/sda1             2048   8402943   8400896     4G 82 Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda2   *      8402944  73416703  65013760    31G 83 Linux
    /dev/sda3         73416704 976773167 903356464 430,8G 83 Linux
    Code:
    >>> sudo btrfs filesystem usage /
    Overall:
        Device size:         31.00GiB
        Device allocated:    16.32GiB
        Device unallocated:  14.68GiB
        Device missing:         0.00B
        Used:                14.46GiB
        Free (estimated):    15.95GiB  (min: 8.60GiB)
        Data ratio:              1.00
        Metadata ratio:          2.00
        Global reserve:      36.84MiB  (used: 0.00B)
    
    Data,single: Size:15.01GiB, Used:13.74GiB
       /dev/sda2      15.01GiB
    
    Metadata,DUP: Size:640.00MiB, Used:369.52MiB
       /dev/sda2       1.25GiB
    
    System,DUP: Size:32.00MiB, Used:16.00KiB
       /dev/sda2      64.00MiB
    
    Unallocated:
       /dev/sda2      14.68GiB
    Code:
    >>> sudo systemctl list-unit-files | grep -iE 'fsck|fstrim|btrfs' 
    btrfsmaintenance-refresh.path                                          enabled  
    btrfs-balance.service                                                  static   
    btrfs-defrag.service                                                   static   
    btrfs-scrub.service                                                    static   
    btrfs-trim.service                                                     static   
    btrfsmaintenance-refresh.service                                       enabled  
    fstrim.service                                                         static   
    systemd-fsck-root.service                                              static   
    systemd-fsck@.service                                                  static   
    btrfs-balance.timer                                                    enabled  
    btrfs-defrag.timer                                                     disabled 
    btrfs-scrub.timer                                                      enabled  
    btrfs-trim.timer                                                       enabled  
    fstrim.timer                                                           enabled
    Any help is appreciated

    Thanks
    Giorgio

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    Well, 15.0 is a bit old. Better go first to 15.2. Then it could probably be easier for people to help when the can give advice on a supported version.
    Henk van Velden

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    Agreed with Henk that it is better to upgrade.

    With that said, hanging with a lot of hard-disk activity can point to running out of memory, the disk activity is then the OS swapping data to and from the hard-disk.

    Try running KSysGuard with the System Load tab active and keep the "Memory and Swap History" visible. This will show the real memory + the swap size, you can get the real memory size for example using "inxi"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    Besides upgrading to a current, supported openSUSE version,
    With only 4GB RAM, you should also consider minimizing unnecessary tasks, so for instance if you installed either of the standard KDE/Plasma and Gnome Desktops, they run numerous "extra" services that automate maintenance and enhance visual bling, leaving less for actual applications.

    You have 3 main options...
    - Go into the Desktop settings and disable/turn off what you don't need.
    - Install a lighter Desktop that doesn't recommend 4GB as the minimum amount of RAM you should have installed.
    openSUSE provides some easy choices...
    If your current Desktop is KDE/Plasma, the LXQt Desktop supports the same applications (and provides alternatives if you wish) using the same Qt framework, does not install and run nearly all the unnecessary things that can make KDE/Plasma look great. And, LXQt requires only about 2GB of RAM, the rest is available for your applications.
    - You don't have to install a full Desktop. You can run just a Window Manager to have a Desktop like experience and all openSUSE installs include IceWM by default (It's probably already installed). On most openSUSE machines, just log out and back in selecting IceWM instead of your regular Desktop and a number of applications should already be available (like Firefox). When you run only a Window Manager, the operating system typically is using only about 512-768MB of RAM, the rest is available to your application.

    HTH,
    TSU
    Beginner Wiki Quickstart - https://en.opensuse.org/User:Tsu2/Quickstart_Wiki
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    I don't see Plasma itself using so much RAM:
    Code:
    # inxi -Smy
    System:
      Host: i2134 Kernel: 5.3.18-lp152.41-default x86_64 bits: 64
      Desktop: KDE Plasma 5.18.6 Distro: openSUSE Leap 15.2
    Memory:
      RAM: total: 3.83 GiB used: 652.9 MiB (16.6%)
      Array-1: capacity: 4 GiB slots: 2 EC: None
      Device-1: DIMM0 size: 2 GiB speed: 667 MT/s
      Device-2: DIMM1 size: 2 GiB speed: 667 MT/s
    # free
                  total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
    Mem:        4018888      410196     2877004        6168      731688     3373564
    Swap:       4325372           0     4325372
    This can be improved by disabling automatically started unnecessaries.
    Reg. Linux User #211409 *** multibooting since 1992
    Primary: 15.2, +TW, 15.1, 15.0 & 13.1 on Haswell
    Secondary: eComStation (OS/2) &15.1 on i965P w/ Radeon
    Tertiary: Mageia,Fedora,Debian,more on Kaby Lake,iQ45,iQ43,iG41,iG3X,i965G,AMD,NVidia&&&&&

  6. #6

    Default Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    BTRFS is slowing down systems with SATA 5400rpm HDDs.
    KDE works OK with 4 GiB RAM. Of course, adding RAM is needed badly.
    Check amount of video memory.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Svyatko View Post
    BTRFS is slowing down systems with SATA 5400rpm HDDs.
    These two Phoronix tests seem to indicate that, Btrfs on Linux 5.0 SATA SSDs causes a performance hit – Btrfs on Linux 4.8 SATA HDDs is a little bit slower but, not by much – Linux 4.8 HDD <https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pa...x-48-hdd&num=1> – Linux 5.0 SSD <https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pa...esystems&num=1>.

  8. #8

    Cool Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    Quote Originally Posted by dcurtisfra View Post
    These two Phoronix tests seem to indicate that, Btrfs on Linux 5.0 SATA SSDs causes a performance hit – Btrfs on Linux 4.8 SATA HDDs is a little bit slower but, not by much – Linux 4.8 HDD <https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pa...x-48-hdd&num=1> – Linux 5.0 SSD <https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pa...esystems&num=1>.
    1st article: 16 GiB of RAM, 2nd: 32 GiB of RAM.
    Try to use BTRFS on system with 4 GiB RAM + SATA 5400rpm HDD and feel the difference. Here is a laptop - subtract some volume to a video memory.
    I have such experience, what about you?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Svyatko View Post
    Try to use BTRFS on system with 4 GiB RAM + SATA 5400rpm HDD and feel the difference.
    For some years now, ever since memory has become cheaper and, the affordable Mainboards have supported enough memory, my Linux systems have all been setup with enough 2 GiB and 4 GiB memory modules for a total of 8 GiB (module size total) – except for this one – two 8 GiB modules …


    • But yes, because Btrfs is CoW, it needs memory to buffer the writes …

  10. #10

    Default Re: OS get frequently stuck, with intensive HDD activity

    After load OS starts maintenance work for BTRFS, and with 4 GiB RAM or less it stucks for ~30 min.
    There is no such problem with ext4 or XFS.

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