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Help me track down system stalling / lagging
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Liam Dawe Oct 1, 2023
Hi all, I have a rather frustrating issue.

Every few minutes, my system seems to stall or lag for a couple of seconds. I can't do anything but move the mouse when it happens.

It happens across GNOME and KDE, and happened on both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. So it's not a GPU problem.

The issue does not happen on Windows, at all. Windows 10 works perfectly.

Help me narrow down what could be causing it please, it has been badly souring my Linux experience for a good month+ now.

PC Info is on my profile.

Last edited by Liam Dawe on 1 October 2023 at 11:19 am UTC
CatKiller Oct 1, 2023
Didn't you say that you'd narrowed it down to happening when you had a particular application open (I seem to recall that it was something to do with uploading stuff)?

You'll probably want to be monitoring RAM use, IO and possibly CPU load to see if any of them spike as you experience the symptoms.
mrazster Oct 1, 2023
What distro and DE are you using ?
Have you tried different kernels ?
Have looked into your ssd/hdd ? Maybe do some benchmarking and/or use smarttools to see if there could be something there.
Liam Dawe Oct 1, 2023
Just today found out that for a bunch of people the power setting (Power Supply Idle Control) in bios switching from "auto" to "typical current idle" fixed stalling / freezing for them. So trying that now...

Last edited by Liam Dawe on 1 October 2023 at 11:26 am UTC
BlackBloodRum Oct 1, 2023
Quoting: Liam DaweJust today found out that for a bunch of people the power setting (Power Supply Idle Control) in bios switching from "auto" to "typical current idle" fixed stalling / freezing for them. So trying that now...
If the BIOS bit doesn't change it, check Linux's power settings also.

Do you experience these issues on a clean boot (no suspend, full reboot)? Suspend can sometimes cause issues like that.

Did you recently switch to AMD pstate with kernel updates? Could it be a bug there?

Edit: and of course the usual: Any errors/messages printed in dmesg / journalctl -xr relating to it?

Last edited by BlackBloodRum on 1 October 2023 at 11:33 am UTC
Liam Dawe Oct 1, 2023
I never suspend, only ever shutdown and clean boot. Will see how I get on with this setting changed, sounds promising given how many people said it fixed it for them.
Koopacabras Oct 1, 2023
well if it happens on both Gnome and KDE, must be an indication that an app that you use on both might be the cause ? just my two cents I had some extensions on firefox lagging my system.
amortician Oct 1, 2023
Try keeping htop running in a terminal all the time. You may be able to see what program is causing the glitch.
Lofty Oct 1, 2023
This isn't related to your issue, seen as you have tried different desktop environments. But it's a similar annoyance..
for anyone who might stumble on this thread who may be experiencing momentary lags that seem to reoccur at a timed interval on Gnome. If you are using the weather extension 'OpenWeather' there is a bug (or feature i guess) that will hitch the desktop every time the extension checks the weather and stall whatever you are doing. The fix is simple, you go into the settings on the extension and 'un-check' the System Icons button.

Quite often extensions on ANY desktop environment can cause system wide lags, 'judders' and even memory leaks. Starting off fresh with a vanilla panel without everything added will be a good start. It doesnt have to be an 'app', it could be a social media plugin that checks for new channels coming online for instance, just some tray panel indicator that does something funky.

Spoiler, click me
As an aside Linux is basically in a state of permanent semi-experimental software. It's great when it works and it pretty much always works. But i never hold expectations of it being like a multi billion $ operating system. And that's why i like it. but your shouting at the clouds when complaining about Linux because invariably someone will come in ignorantly and say 'learn to code' when you just expect a simple thing to work. The culture around it hasn't really changed that much unfortunately. I at least try report bugs and help people with workarounds but for some 'developers' that isn't enough.

Last edited by Lofty on 1 October 2023 at 3:43 pm UTC
Grogan Oct 1, 2023
If you haven't nailed it with the bios or power management settings, you could consider booting with a live image of something else (not fedora kernel) and see if the problem occurs.

For that matter, boot up to console and see if the stalling affects your keystrokes. It could be a kernel issue affecting you.

Desktop daemons too... you say both KDE and Gnome, but if switching between them some of those may stay running, particularly if they have polluted a saved session.

Silly things like those desktop search indexers can cause iowait like that.

Sensor monitoring programs polling all your sensors 10 times a second can stuff things up too, I've found.

I hope you get it solved. I couldn't have put up with it for that long :-)
StalePopcorn Oct 2, 2023
journalctl -f might yield something
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