unity freezes when moving windows among workspaces

Bug #1301623 reported by Tommy_CZ on 2014-04-02
This bug affects 42 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Sometimes In Ubuntu 14.04, when I move windows from one workspace to another, Unity freezes, letting me with this 4 workspaces overview. I have to use terminal and restart Unity to resolve it.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 14.04
Package: unity 7.1.2+14.04.20140328.1-0ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.11.0-18.32~precise1-generic
Uname: Linux 3.11.0-18-generic x86_64

ApportVersion: 2.13.3-0ubuntu1
Architecture: amd64
CompizPlugins: [core,composite,opengl,compiztoolbox,decor,vpswitch,snap,mousepoll,resize,place,move,wall,grid,regex,imgpng,session,gnomecompat,animation,fade,unitymtgrabhandles,workarounds,scale,expo,ezoom,unityshell,dbus]
CompositorRunning: compiz
CompositorUnredirectDriverBlacklist: '(nouveau|Intel).*Mesa 8.0'
CompositorUnredirectFSW: true
CurrentDesktop: Unity
Date: Wed Apr 2 23:26:06 2014
DistUpgraded: 2014-03-18 07:46:56,695 DEBUG enabling apt cron job
DistroCodename: trusty
DistroVariant: ubuntu
 Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v2/3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller [8086:0152] (rev 09) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
   Subsystem: Lenovo Device [17aa:365e]
InstallationDate: Installed on 2014-02-10 (51 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS "Precise Pangolin" - Release amd64 (20140204)
MachineType: LENOVO 10104
 PATH=(custom, no user)
ProcKernelCmdLine: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-3.11.0-18-generic root=UUID=3a918684-e656-4e86-9b7b-22e0fd6b2135 ro quiet splash vt.handoff=7
SourcePackage: unity
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to trusty on 2014-03-18 (15 days ago)
dmi.bios.date: 03/21/2013
dmi.bios.vendor: LENOVO
dmi.bios.version: ELKT31AUS
dmi.board.name: MAHOBAY
dmi.board.vendor: LENOVO
dmi.board.version: 31900003 STD
dmi.chassis.type: 13
dmi.chassis.vendor: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
dmi.chassis.version: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
dmi.modalias: dmi:bvnLENOVO:bvrELKT31AUS:bd03/21/2013:svnLENOVO:pn10104:pvrLenovoC440:rvnLENOVO:rnMAHOBAY:rvr31900003STD:cvnToBeFilledByO.E.M.:ct13:cvrToBeFilledByO.E.M.:
dmi.product.name: 10104
dmi.product.version: Lenovo C440
dmi.sys.vendor: LENOVO
version.compiz: compiz 1:0.9.11+14.04.20140328-0ubuntu1
version.ia32-libs: ia32-libs 20090808ubuntu36
version.libdrm2: libdrm2 2.4.52-1
version.libgl1-mesa-dri: libgl1-mesa-dri 10.1.0-1ubuntu1
version.libgl1-mesa-dri-experimental: libgl1-mesa-dri-experimental N/A
version.libgl1-mesa-glx: libgl1-mesa-glx 10.1.0-1ubuntu1
version.xserver-xorg-core: xserver-xorg-core 2:1.15.0-1ubuntu7
version.xserver-xorg-input-evdev: xserver-xorg-input-evdev 1:2.8.2-1ubuntu2
version.xserver-xorg-video-ati: xserver-xorg-video-ati 1:7.3.0-1ubuntu3
version.xserver-xorg-video-intel: xserver-xorg-video-intel 2:2.99.910-0ubuntu1
version.xserver-xorg-video-nouveau: xserver-xorg-video-nouveau 1:1.0.10-1ubuntu2
xserver.bootTime: Mon Mar 31 16:48:50 2014
xserver.configfile: default

xserver.logfile: /var/log/Xorg.0.log
 product id 8192
 vendor LEN
xserver.version: 2:1.15.0-1ubuntu7

Tommy_CZ (t-kijas) wrote :
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Kenny MacLeod (coinneach-i) wrote :
Download full text (17.3 KiB)


Affects me too since about a week ago - I don't think it was a problem before that.

Sometimes if I hammer about the keyboard starting with Super+S I can eventually free it up without rebooting.

Ubuntu 14.04LTS 64bit
Kernel 3.13.0-27-generic

:~$ sudo lshw

    description: Notebook
    product: VGN-CR21S_P (N/A)
    vendor: Sony Corporation
    version: C101LYJY
    serial: 28209761-5002177
    width: 64 bits
    capabilities: smbios-2.4 dmi-2.4 vsyscall32
    configuration: boot=normal chassis=notebook family=N/A sku=N/A uuid=7A043D00-A184-11DB-8C20-001A803EFC4E
       description: Motherboard
       product: VAIO
       vendor: Sony Corporation
       physical id: 0
       version: N/A
       serial: N/A
       slot: ��@
          description: BIOS
          vendor: Phoenix Technologies LTD
          physical id: 0
          version: R1090Q0
          date: 10/09/2007
          size: 99KiB
          capacity: 960KiB
          capabilities: isa pci pnp apm upgrade shadowing escd cdboot bootselect edd int9keyboard int10video acpi usb agp smartbattery biosbootspecification netboot
          description: CPU
          product: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7250 @ 2.00GHz
          vendor: Intel Corp.
          physical id: 4
          bus info: cpu@0
          version: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7250 @ 2.00GHz
          serial: N/A
          slot: N/A
          size: 2001MHz
          capacity: 2001MHz
          width: 64 bits
          clock: 200MHz
          capabilities: fpu fpu_exception wp vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush dts acpi mmx fxsr sse sse2 ss ht tm pbe syscall nx x86-64 constant_tsc arch_perfmon pebs bts rep_good nopl aperfmperf pni dtes64 monitor ds_cpl vmx est tm2 ssse3 cx16 xtpr pdcm lahf_lm ida dtherm tpr_shadow vnmi flexpriority cpufreq
             description: L1 cache
             physical id: 5
             slot: L1 Cache
             size: 64KiB
             capacity: 64KiB
             capabilities: internal write-back
             description: L2 cache
             physical id: 6
             slot: L2 Cache
             size: 2MiB
             capacity: 2MiB
             capabilities: burst internal write-back
          description: System Memory
          physical id: 9
          slot: System board or motherboard
          size: 2GiB
             description: SODIMM DDR2
             physical id: 0
             slot: SODIMM1
             size: 1GiB
             width: 64 bits
             description: SODIMM DDR2
             physical id: 1
             slot: SODIMM2
             size: 1GiB
             width: 64 bits
          description: Host bridge
          product: Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 Memory Controller Hub
          vendor: Intel Corporation
          physical id: 100
          bus info: pci@0000:00:00.0
          version: 0c
          width: 32 bits
          clock: 33MHz
          configuration: driver=agpgart-intel
          resources: irq:0
             description: VGA compatible ...

Kenny MacLeod (coinneach-i) wrote :


Additional information.

The lock-up seems to occur when I grab a window by its title bar and try and drag it from workspace to workspace. If I grab the window in the middle it drags correctly without locking up the desktop.

When it does lock up I can usually free it with Super+S.

I have installed compiz-plugins and enabled Wobbly Windows since my previous post and, strangely, that seems to have helped.

Christopher Townsend (townsend) wrote :

Does this occur when moving windows while Workspace Switcher, ie, Expo is open or is this just when dragging a window when one workspace is visible and then switch to the other workspace and finish dragging it?

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Sandeep Kamath (sandeepkamath) wrote :

Happens to me within the Workspace Switcher. The mouse cursor is changed to the grabbing icon and its possible to move it around the screen while the Workspace Switcher remains unresponsive

Daniel Price (dtprice) wrote :

Same issue here since upgrading to 14.04:

The hang occurs when I grab a window by its title bar and drag it from one workspace to another.

HP Pavillion p7-1455
VMware® Player
5.0.1 build-894247

ubuntu 14.04 LTS
AMD A10-5700 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics
Gallium 0.4 on SVGA3D; build: RELEASE;

Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete

The same happens to me, noticed after Unity update (version installed is 7.2.2+14.04.20140714-0ubuntu1).
The four workspaces does not disappear but the moved window (like Gedit) across workspaces remains "editable" as I can add text to it.
Noticed that compiz is using lots of CPU in this process.

skunkbad (rbgttr) wrote :

I've installed Ubuntu 14.04 and have done all updates. I have only sublime text open and firefox. Dragging firefox to a new workspace freezes everything.

I have the same problem. It just started out of the blue a few weeks ago. I assume after some update as I regularly accept updates. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Intel Core i5-3320M CPU on Lenovo Thinkpad T430s 64-bit.
System doesn't completely freeze because I can move between fields in the minaturized windows by pressing tab and can respond to some options.
Only way out seemed to be hard reboot, until I was shown a temporary fix:
cntrl alt F1 to get to a terminal
   log in with username and password
   unity --replace <enter>
   cntrl alt f7 to return to the desktop
but top menu bar did not return
had to shut down from the terminal
   sudo shutdown -h now

adutzu89 (verbanady) wrote :

Same issues, 2 solutions are to either switch between workspace with ctrl+alt+(arrow keys) until compiz crashes and returns to normal state(which makes me think that is a bug related to compiz) or ctrl+alt+f1 and reboot from terminal.

Robert Stones (bob-stones) wrote :

Same issue on a Lenovo ThinkPad W530 Core i7

Hugo Corona (travelinghugo) wrote :

Same here. Unty freezes when moving a window from workspace to workspace while being grabbed by the title bar. Grabbing the window in the middle does not freeze the computer.

description: updated
zzarko (zzarko-gmail) wrote :

I can confirm that Unity gets stuck in Expo mode when I try to move a window from one screen to another (I have a dual monitor setup). I have 14.04 64bit on a desktop machine.

Every time in last couple of years when I installed a new version of Ubuntu, I gave a chance to Unity to be my main desktop. Although I like how they imagined for it to work, it's the bugs like these that eventually, after a week or couple of weeks, made me switch to something else, less attractive but also less buggy (you can find my error reports for Unity since first versions of it as default desktop and see how long it took to fix some of these). When I start to swear at the computer for repeating things like this for n-th time, it's time to try something else again...

Adam (4-adam) wrote :

I had this problem too. Disabeling snappin-windows fixed this for me.

Ian (kaoseraph) wrote :

I can confirm that disabeling window snapping in unity tweak tool fixes this issue for me, I like my window snapping :(

Silvio Sabo (silvio-s) wrote :

I have this issue as well in Ubuntu 15.04.

komancheros (komancheros) wrote :

I can conform this bug. Unity freezes only if i drag window by selecting and dragging title, else if i drag it by selecting anywhere else it works fine.

Will Cooke (willcooke) on 2015-08-12
tags: added: rls-w-incoming
Michael Tienzo (michaeltienzo) wrote :

New Ubuntu user here. Experienced this on 14.04. Didn't want to disable window snapping, so my workaround was to place the menu bar back to the panel. Hope this gets fixed.

Ross (rallen10) wrote :

Confirm that this happens to me, too.
Asus k501LX-EB71
Ubuntu 14.04.3


Saeid Yazdani (embedonix) wrote :

I confirm this as it happens to me quite a lot!

But in my case, if any application is in fullscreen mode (e.g. skype, QtCreator, Android Studio...) and if I try to switch between wrkspaces by ctrl-alt-arrow keys, compiz cpu utilization goes to 100% and there is no escape from it! only solution is hard reset...going to a terminal does not always work in a terminal and my computer does not respond at all.

Dell Vostro 1530
Ubuntu 14.04.01?? 64
NVIDIA G 9300m, 331 drivers

Marcus (markkux) wrote :

Looks like an old nightmare returning :-)
I often use workspaces and change windows between them. I've had the first "freeze" this morning.

Whilst waiting a patch, y You don't need to reboot. Simply got to console (e.g. Ctrl+alt+F1), identify de gnome-session PID (ps -ef | grep gnome-session) and kill it. The graphic console will return to the login screen.

And yes; it doesn't freeze if you grab the center of the screen you're moving, not the bar.

I don't think this is a duplicate. The other bug appears to be about switching workspaces THEMSELVES, while this is moving WINDOWS between them by dragging. Switching workspaces has never caused me any problems by itself.

Sometimes when I (on the latest Ubuntu 15.10) drag windows across my workspace switcher (especially when I drop and drag the window multiple times), Unity freezes, and I can't do anything. However, closing my laptop lid so it goes to sleep and then opening it does seem to fix this - it goes to the lock screen, then returns to normal when I unlock it. However, this is annoying.

This is really annoying because now, whenever I drag windows across workspaces, I feel like I have to be careful to have it NOT freeze. If a window ends part across two workspaces, I kinda feel like I have to go to the right workspace and fix it there so it won't freeze, rather than just doing it in the switcher.

Please, Canonical, get your act together - I have been becoming increasingly displeased with Ubuntu. I shouldn't have to monkey around with dconf just to remove the workspace switcher icon from my dock. I always use hotcorners to switch workspaces, as I configured the bottom left corner to activate the workspace switcher. While I understand hotcorners not being in the settings by default (because LOL they are buggy, and only seem to work one in every two reboots without disabling them and re-enabling them - except for some reason, across two computers, they magically seem to start working correctly after a while), I know for a fact that some people never use the icon to switch workspaces and instead use keyboard shortcuts.

Michael Fox (mfox-trentu) wrote :

I have the same problem, and as noted by hitechcomputergeek, the freeze occurs when attempting to move a window to a different workspace, not by switching workspaces. I am using Ubuntu 15.10 64 bit on a 2009 Mac mini (2.26ghz C2D, 8 gb RAM)

Doni (jerss2k) wrote :

Can confirm as well. When dragging a window by its title bar to another workspace in the workspace switcher, it freezes.

System76 Gazelle Pro
Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS

I have the same problem. I can move windows between workspaces by dragging them or right clicking and designating the workspace I want it moved to. But if I go to the workplace switcher and try to move a window or drag it between workspaces, my entire system freezes.
Utuntu 14.04 Gnome 3.8.4 Kernel 3.13.0-74-generic on a Thinkpad T430s 64-bit
In case they're relevant: GCC Version: 4.8 (x86_64-linux-gnu) Xorg version: 1.15.1 (12 February 2015 02:49:29PM)

Ralph Baker Kearfott (rbk5287) wrote :

Yes, it affects me, too, on various machines with different architectures. It appears it happens when I
try to drag a window from one workspace to another using the mouse, but not when I use the menu
(e.g. it doesn't seem to happen when I right-click the top of the window, then choose
"move to workspace number ...").

Once, when my screen froze and I logged in from another machine through ssh, I noticed "compiz"
was using a large amount of CPU, as if it were in an infinite loop.

chris (serella-c) wrote :

I have commented on the original bug report with what i did to recover from this without any of the crash or kill techniques. I hope it helps you too.


Michał B (michal2229) wrote :

It affects me as well.
Workaround I use is to press Super+S - it leaves switcher window and goes to the desktop nicely.

austint30 (austinthibodeaux) wrote :

Me too, it happened several times when moving the window of some applications between workspaces. The hand will get stuck in the grab position and I cannot click anything at all. I am forced to Ctrl-Alt-Delete and log out to fix the problem.

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