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General Help & Advice => Linux Support => Topic started by: mikep on June 16, 2021, 12:12:20 am

Title: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: mikep on June 16, 2021, 12:12:20 am
Hello Folks,

I've been running Xubuntu 18.04 for a very long time with no problems, but recently the mouse and keyboard keep freezing and I have to push the reboot button on the case to get them back.

Any ideas please? Is anyone else experiencing this? Could it be a recent update?

Thanks for any suggestions. Seems weird to be here knowing that Mark won't be among the first responders...
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: Brian000 on June 16, 2021, 09:20:34 pm

Do you know if its a Kernel panic (completely unresponsive), or can you do the shutdown key-combs?

Press and hold the Alt and SysReq (aka PrntScr) keys and then slowly type r e i s u o

But I'd also consider running a memory test - you should find MEMTEST during the bootup sequence, or part of most/any live distro - or just download the free copy from (
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: Keith on June 16, 2021, 09:59:37 pm

Do the mouse & KB freeze at boot-up or later?  If the latter; how much later?

Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: mikep on July 21, 2021, 09:39:36 pm
Hello folks,

Sorry about the delayed response - life keeps getting in the way!

They usually freeze just after boot up but in time to stop me from inputting my user password. I seem to remember it happening once after I'd been working for a while but can't remember how long it took.

I think it's completely unresponsive but I didn't know that combination caused a shutdown. I'll try it next time.

By the way, I upgraded to Xubuntu 20.04 but it's still happening.
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: Keith on July 21, 2021, 10:11:59 pm
Why r e i s u o?
This article explains it well: (

Upgrading to Xubuntu 20.04 might not help an existing s/w fault, so no surprises if the freeze is still happening.  Have you considered a complete re-install? 

Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: mikep on July 21, 2021, 10:29:48 pm
Thanks Keith,

I'll try memtest first, complete reinstall as last resort.

If the problem doesn't happen too often I can sort of live with it, at least for a while. I just wondered whether it was a known problem.

Come to think of it, it could also be a motherboard problem. One of my front USB ports has stopped working, and the mouse is USB (plugged in at the back). I'll dig out a PS2 mouse or a PS2/USB adapter and try that route...
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: Keith on July 22, 2021, 09:31:48 am
A friend once had a problem with wired contacts dropping off the motherboard when she mistreated her desktop.  Might be worth checking, although USB cables are generally very tight. 

Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: Mad Penguin on July 25, 2021, 01:02:51 pm
Hi, could be hardware, but it's always worth checking /var/log/syslog and /var/log/kern.log around the time the machine crashed to see if there is anything system or hardware related mentioned in any context. That aside, memory is always a good thing to check, but in this weather, also temperature. Internal fans are always subject to failure which can result in overheating.

If you don't have it already installed, "lm-sensors" is a good package to have, once installed "sensors-detect" will set things up. Then you should get something like this, which should give you an idea of whether your machine is running hot;
Code: [Select]
$ sensors 
Adapter: PCI adapter
Tdie:         +33.5°C  (high = +70.0°C)
Tctl:         +33.5°C 
I've just noticed that Ubuntu isn't installing "smartmontools" by default, this is also a good one to have. Unlikely to cause this issue but it's always worth keeping an eye on your storage, for example;
Code: [Select]
$ smartctl -A /dev/sdc 
smartctl 7.1 2019-12-30 r5022 [x86_64-linux-5.4.0-80-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-19, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, [url=][/url]
SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       1
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0027   178   170   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       4058
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       172
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x002e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   004   004   000    Old_age   Always       -       70656
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       172
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       85
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       86
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   106   098   000    Old_age   Always       -       41
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0030   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0008   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
Again, in this weather, worth keeping an eye on #194, different drives have different temperature tolerances and best-case for running 'hot' is that it's likely to decrease you drive's life expectancy.

I still have memories from the early 90's of responding to a technical support request listing an apparent CPU lockup which wouldn't correct itself with a power cycle. On opening up the machine I found that the CPU fan had failed (well, my best guess) which had caused the CPU to get so hot the entire plastic CPU assembly (and fan) had melted and become a puddle of plastic covering the middle of the motherboard. Heat kills!   :(
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: mikep on July 25, 2021, 08:45:05 pm
Thanks again guys for the useful information.

I'm waiting for the problem to re-occur so I can try some of your ideas. So far the system is behaving itself...

I doubt it's heat related though. There's a single SSD in the box. No HDDs.

I'll install im-sensors and smartmontools though, and check.
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: Mad Penguin on July 26, 2021, 03:32:43 pm
Sure, if all your fans are running, heat shouldn't be an issue .. but chips typically don't run from cold for more than a minute or two without a working heat-sink / fan, so any sort of failure in that department can easily be terminal ..  :)

Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: mikep on August 01, 2021, 12:11:11 am
Me again!

The fans are running fine, but I had a re-occurence of the problem yesterday. It seemed to be a kernel panic. Keyboard shortcuts didn't work.

I ran Memtest which showed no errors.

Just now I booted up and the keyboard didn't work, although I could move the cursor, but clicking had no effect. A restart got me running but my ethernet connection was resolutely offline. A change of cable fixed that and cast doubt over the faulty motherboard theory!

It's an old rig and I'd hapilly replace it with a nice new SFF box, but the thought of all the research into which combinations support Linux makes me want to sit in a corner and rock... I used to enjoy that kind of stuff, but these days I'd just like the hardware to work!

Anyway, I'm monitoring the situation.
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: Mad Penguin on August 03, 2021, 10:10:39 am
Ok, for what it's worth; (

I'm still using this unaltered .. probably average of 8h/day but runs 24x7 .. had exactly zero problems with it .. using KUbuntu  :)
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: mikep on August 18, 2021, 10:30:36 pm
Hello Mad Penguin,

Thanks for that and apologies for the late response. Truth is, everything has been behaving itself recently so it slipped my mind.

The rig in your link looks interesting. I'm tempted to replicate it as closely as possible and hopefully have a faster, more reliable computer. Mine dates back to 2007/8 so it's done it's bit. I fancied a smaller form factor than ATX but I can live without it. I'll try to source the components and let you know what happens...
Title: Re: Keyboard and mouse problems
Post by: Keith on August 19, 2021, 11:07:23 am
I built the Mad Penguin's combination for a friend and was very impressed.  A bit slower to boot up than I expected but everything else was fine.  I would have been better to buy a new box for it (skinflint) but chose to use the old one, so the front-panel audio had the wrong plug types - and I had to buy a new PSU as all plug types have changed in the last 20 years.  Starting again, I would replace everything. 

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