Laptop Screen systematically freezes every few minutes if external screen not connected; Ctlr+Alt+F1,Ctrl+Alt+F7 fixes the issue. Then system unrecoverably freezes when external screen reconnected (needs hard reboot)

Bug #1353620 reported by Teo on 2014-08-06
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
nvidia-driver (Ubuntu)
xorg-server (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

I've started observing this bug since i've started using NVidia's additional drivers (yesterday). Before that I was using nouveau, which happened to use the builtin Intel GPU and not the NVidia card.

I have an external monitor which I usually connect to the laptop. I have it configured so it's the only screen when it's connected. When I unplug it, automatically the laptop's builtin screen turns on, and when I plug it, the laptop's builtin screen turns off.
This has worked just fine until yesterday. Then I switched to NVidia's proprietary drivers.

Now the problem, 100% systematically reproducible, is as follows:

- I disconnect the external screen (and external keyboard and mouse), move my laptop and start using it alone. At the beginning everything works fine, then:
- from time to time (every few minutes), the system seems to freeze:
  - mouse cursor doesn't move. Nothing responds to touchpad movements or clicks
  - nothing apparently responds to keystrokes, such as alt+tab to switch window, or Ctrl+Alt+T to open a terminal. I'm not sure this ever happened while I was typing and had a focused window where to type, so I cannot tell for sure it wouldn't respond to typing
- no signs of abnormal CPU consumption, though, nor of disk activity
- hitting ctlr+Alt+F1 does work and immediately brings the virtual console
- hitting ctrl+Alt+F7 brings the graphics screen again and it works, that is, it fixes the issue, reesstablishing normal functioning
- unless it happens again.

The first time I observed it (this is the second), this also happened:
- then I plug in the external monitor again. It turns on, shows the screen output as expected; the builtin screen turns off, everything looks normal
- except the system is frozen again
- and this time not even Ctrl+Alt+F1 work. Completely frozen. No way out except a hard reboot
- unplugging the external monitor doesn't fix the issue, either

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 14.04
Package: xserver-xorg-core 2:1.15.1-0ubuntu2
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.13.0-32.57-generic
Uname: Linux 3.13.0-32-generic x86_64
NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
.proc.driver.nvidia.gpus.0: Error: [Errno 21] Is a directory: '/proc/driver/nvidia/gpus/0'
.proc.driver.nvidia.registry: Binary: ""
 NVRM version: NVIDIA UNIX x86_64 Kernel Module 331.38 Wed Jan 8 19:32:30 PST 2014
 GCC version: gcc version 4.8.2 (Ubuntu 4.8.2-19ubuntu1)

ApportVersion: 2.14.1-0ubuntu3.2
Architecture: amd64
CompizPlugins: No value set for `/apps/compiz-1/general/screen0/options/active_plugins'
CompositorRunning: compiz
CompositorUnredirectDriverBlacklist: '(nouveau|Intel).*Mesa 8.0'
CompositorUnredirectFSW: true
CurrentDesktop: Unity
Date: Wed Aug 6 19:51:09 2014
DistUpgraded: 2014-05-24 19:43:23,984 DEBUG enabling apt cron job
DistroCodename: trusty
DistroVariant: ubuntu
 bbswitch, 0.7, 3.13.0-32-generic, x86_64: installed
 nvidia-331, 331.38, 3.13.0-32-generic, x86_64: installed
 vboxhost, 4.3.14, 3.13.0-32-generic, x86_64: installed
ExtraDebuggingInterest: Yes, if not too technical
 Intel Corporation 3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller [8086:0166] (rev 09) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
   Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] Device [1025:0647]
 NVIDIA Corporation GF117M [GeForce 610M/710M/820M / GT 620M/625M/630M/720M] [10de:1140] (rev a1) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
   Subsystem: Acer Incorporated [ALI] GeForce 710M [1025:0691]
InstallationDate: Installed on 2013-10-11 (299 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" - Release amd64 (20130424)
MachineType: Acer Aspire V3-571G
ProcKernelCmdLine: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-3.13.0-32-generic.efi.signed root=UUID=5830b30e-69e8-4bb4-8a2b-bc2b43c7414a ro quiet splash vt.handoff=7
SourcePackage: xorg-server
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to trusty on 2014-05-24 (74 days ago) 10/15/2012
dmi.bios.vendor: Acer
dmi.bios.version: V2.07
dmi.board.asset.tag: Type2 - Board Asset Tag VA50_HC_CR
dmi.board.vendor: Acer
dmi.board.version: Type2 - Board Version
dmi.chassis.type: 10
dmi.chassis.vendor: Acer
dmi.chassis.version: V2.07
dmi.modalias: dmi:bvnAcer:bvrV2.07:bd10/15/2012:svnAcer:pnAspireV3-571G:pvrV2.07:rvnAcer:rnVA50_HC_CR:rvrType2-BoardVersion:cvnAcer:ct10:cvrV2.07: Aspire V3-571G
dmi.product.version: V2.07
dmi.sys.vendor: Acer
version.compiz: compiz 1:
version.ia32-libs: ia32-libs N/A
version.libdrm2: libdrm2 2.4.52-1
version.libgl1-mesa-dri: libgl1-mesa-dri 10.1.3-0ubuntu0.1
version.libgl1-mesa-dri-experimental: libgl1-mesa-dri-experimental N/A
version.libgl1-mesa-glx: libgl1-mesa-glx 10.1.3-0ubuntu0.1
version.nvidia-graphics-drivers: nvidia-graphics-drivers N/A
version.xserver-xorg-core: xserver-xorg-core 2:1.15.1-0ubuntu2
version.xserver-xorg-input-evdev: xserver-xorg-input-evdev 1:2.8.2-1ubuntu2
version.xserver-xorg-video-ati: xserver-xorg-video-ati 1:7.3.0-1ubuntu3.1
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: Wed Aug 6 15:19:13 2014
xserver.configfile: /etc/X11/xorg.conf
xserver.logfile: /var/log/Xorg.0.log
xserver.version: 2:1.15.1-0ubuntu2

Teo (teo1978) wrote :
teo1978 (teo8976) wrote :

This keeps happening (after several reboots). The freezes seem to always occur at a mouse click.

How often the freezes happen seems to be apparently random. I have experienced three freezes within very few minutes, and have also been more than half an hour without freezes.

This is huge and has started happening just when I switched to NVidia drivers. Please anybody report this to the appropriate people at NVidia, this needs urgent attention.

The part where the plugging the external monitor causes an unrecoverable freeze is not systematic.

teo1978 (teo8976) wrote :

> The freezes seem to always occur at a mouse click.

No they don't. I've just experienced a freeze that happened while not clicking.

teo1978 (teo8976) wrote :

And again, and again, and again.

And once more, re-plugging the external monitor caused an unrecoverable freeze (meaning that neither ctrl+alt+f1 nor unplugging and replugging the monitor would fix the issue) forcing me to a hard power off.

For god's sake when is this going to be looked at, at least to set the importance to critical?

Where's the place to report nvidia driver bugs upstream, by the way?

teo1978 (teo8976) wrote :
Download full text (8.9 KiB)

Two more findings:

1) This doesn't only happen when the external screen is connected and then disconnected. Random from-time-to-time system freezes happen systematically whenever no external monitor is connected (no matter whether it has been connected and disconnected, or it has never been connected at all).

And most astonishingly:

2) According to an NVidia technician who replied to a ticket I sent to the Customer Care, this is a bug in NVidia's drivers which they won't fix because they don't giv a f*** about Linux.

Apparently this happens with Optimus-based cards only, or that's what they say.

I'll copy and paste the conversation with the Customer Care agent below. I'd like to emphasize these two sentences:

**** "The reason for this is, during Optimus development little thought was put into compatibility with systems other than Windows Vista and 7. Even Windows XP is not supported by Optimus. "


**** "I apologize on behalf of NVIDIA for our lack of proper Optimus Linux support and our Marketing decision makers are aware of the situation."

So there's little to do, except that Ubuntu should take steps to discourage people from using NVidia products.

Below goes the entire conversation.

Customer via CSS Web 08/11/2014 05:37 AM
I need a fix or workaround to this critical bug that freezes the whole system.
All the information here:

I wonder how you can release drivers so much broken.


Response Mike via Email 08/11/2014 09:56 AM

Your issue was just referred to me.

Do you happen to know if your laptop is Optimus based (switches between integrated Intel and NVIDIA graphics) ? You can check by running lspci -nn. If that command returns two VGA devices, one Intel and one NVIDIA then the laptop is Optimus.

Unfortunately, Optimus laptops don't work with the NVIDIA Linux display driver for normal display purposes unless there is a way, usually in BIOS, to disable Optimus or disable the onboard Intel GPU.

Please let me know if your laptop is Optimus or not and if so, if you can disable either the onboard Intel GPU or disable Optimus

Best regards,

NVIDIA Customer Care


Customer via CSS Web 08/11/2014 10:40 AM

Yes the laptop is optimus based.
But I don't think the switching mechanism is being used.

I attach the output of lspci -nn

I can't find anything in the BIOS setup related to optimus or to disabling a specific GPU

Note that the driver does work except for this intermittent issue which is clearly a bug you need to fix.

Please suggest me any command that can confirm that the nvidia gpu is actually being used. I'm pretty sure I checked this and confirmed the nvidia gpu is being used, not the onboard intel one, only I can't remember what kind of test i ran.


Response Mike via Email 08/11/2014 02:31 PM
NVIDIA documents known issues with Optimus laptops at the driver download page under the 'Additional Information' tab here where we say:

"Note that the list of supported GPU products is provided to indicate which GPUs are supported by a particular driver version. Some designs inc...


summary: - Laptop Screen systematically freezes every few minutes when external
- screen disconnected; Ctlr+Alt+F1,Ctrl+Alt+F7 fixes the issue. Then
+ Laptop Screen systematically freezes every few minutes if external
+ screen not connected; Ctlr+Alt+F1,Ctrl+Alt+F7 fixes the issue. Then
system unrecoverably freezes when external screen reconnected (needs
hard reboot)
teo1978 (teo8976) wrote :

Is there any way, other than in BIOS (which apparently is not available in my bios ), to disable the onboard Intel GPU and leave only the NVidia enabled?

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