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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Fix the Linux freezing problem on dell

I got Dell Inspiron 15 7000 7567 laptop recently and After using it for a while I think this will be the last time I will consider getting a Dell laptop. The laptop have a very good specs, I admit it but if you are a Linux user like me, you will differently hate it! there is no support for Linux for this laptop or for the dell laptops in general, it took me a while to fix my problem and this is some kind of problem that took me months to figure it out.

I did install different Linux distribution on this laptop, I tried parrot OS / Linux Mint / Ubuntu / Arch Linux, Solus OS, etc but I always had the freezing problem.

The laptop freezes randomly and all I can do was forcing it to shut down. At first, I thought it's an NVIDIA driver problem so I installed different driver versions but as a consequence I did mess with the laptop a lot and I had to format many times and I kept getting the black screen a lot of times...

By time, I did figure out something, the PC freeze randomly but there are few things that can cause the freezing, for example if I put a video from Youtube on a full screen and also if the laptop was on the charger it freezes less...

I did update the BIOS from 1.0 to 1.7 but it kept freezing randomly.

# The paragraph bellow didn't solve the problem (but it's still an interesting one), check below for the Freezing solution problem.

I did figure out that the CPU temperature is suspicious, like in windows it's like 40C but in Linux, it's more than 50C! I did search more about this and I found that the fans are working for a period of time, they stop after a while and they keep repeating that.

It turned out that the BIOS is doing this to cool the CPU and save power but letting the CPU get to 55C and the fan is off is something that sounds bad so I had to find a way to take control of the fans.

I found some tools like "i8kmon" and "fan control" and while looking, I started seeing a lot of dell users having problems with the fan too! Some people did have the fan work in the full performance which it cause a lot of noise, some people had the same problem I had...
Anyway, this tool i8kutils can take control of the dell fan but it wasn't easy to get it to work, the BIOS always override the changes each time.

I found this solution to disable the BIOS fan control thanks to cazacugmihai (Github post)

This post was helpful too.

I guess this have fixed the problem, I have been using Linux  for 2 hours now and no freezes yet (the laptop did freeze while writing this sentence wow xD) anyway no freeze for 2 hours is something I will keep changing the parameters and look more into the problem, I will keep this post updated in case I find something.

#This didn't totally fix the problem I submitted a question here: https://askubuntu.com/questions/1057995/ubuntu-18-04-freezes-randomly

No solution yet, I went back to windows and I installed Linux as a Virtual Machine.

# 18/08/2018 update: Finally I did find a solution to the problem

Since the last time I wrote this post, I have tried many solutions, I tried to install other Linux kernels, old NVIDIA drivers, many other distribution even old ones like Ubuntu 16.04 and I even Installed Hackintosh, I always wanted to make this Linux thing OS work so here the last thing I did and apparently it solved the problem !

I had to disable Intel SpeedStep and Intel TurboBoost from the BIOS! I am not sure why I started having freezes in windows too but disabling those did stop the problem in windows!
So I did search in Google about SpeedStep and Linux and I found this post: https://superuser.com/questions/454101/is-there-a-way-to-disable-intel-speedstep-steppings-on-an-ubuntu-server-using-a

It looks like if I make cpu0 work in the full performance and not in power save mode the freezes stop! so yeah this problem has nothing related to the GPU but to the CPU.

All I did was to check if the CPU has the performance option :
sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_available_governors
and then change it from power save to performance:
sudo echo performance > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor
To make sure the change is done :
sudo cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

I also had to add the command to system startup, because cpu0 goes back to power save after each reboot, so yeah finally this problem is solved, I will keep testing the laptop for the next upcoming hours and see if this solve the problem.

# Update 20/01/2019

Changing CPU0 from "power save" to "performance" solved the problem, I did use many distribution after this and I always had to make this changes to avoid the freezing problem, Anyway here a way to start the command in startup : 

Create a startup.sh file that has the previous command:

sudo echo performance > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

Make the script run as root without asking for password (My user is named xochn)
sudo visudo
Add this line in the end :
xochn ALL = (root)  NOPASSWD: /opt/startup.sh
Now add the command to startup:
sudo ./startup.sh 
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  5. Because these comments are all bots I feel I must comment. So far this change is working for me and it's running cooler as well.

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