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Workaround for Ubuntu 12.04 Unity on Compaq Presario with HP Monitor Symptom of Suddenly Crashing and Displaying Login Screen

The goal is to run Ubuntu Linux on a Compaq Presario CQ5604F PC with the specs listed below.

Applies to:
- Compaq Presario CQ5604F PC
- AMD Athlon™ II 170u processor
- 64-bit
- 3 GB System Memory
- Looking up the specs it looks like this Compaq has "Integrated graphics using nVidia GeForce 6150SE" (source: http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c02481305 )
- HP W2072a Monitor

Screenshot of Ubuntu 12.04, running its default Unity desktop:

The symptom is that a default install of Ubuntu 12.04 runs for a while, but then sporadically, suddenly, the login screen appears as if something had crashed and I had become instantly logged out.

Screenshot of the login screen to where I was suddenly becoming kicked out:

It was seemingly sporadic, however seemed to be loosely around the time when one program or another was launched. For example if, as usual, Firefox and/or LibreOffice and/or FileZilla and/or Kate editor were open, and then when I opened another program like the Ubuntu Software Center, then it might "crash" in this way, on average multiple times per day.

I hesitate to use the word "freeze" because it isn't that the system was freezing. Usually I could log back in to the Ubuntu unity desktop, and although I wouldn't immediately see any of my programs still open, when I thereupon launched each of the programs, (e.g. Firefox, LibreOffice, etc.) they would immediately come up, with the same document or page open, as if they had somehow kept running in the background. (!!?!)

What to do -- how to find out what was happening? What to try to fix it?

Googling the error, some forum posters had written that it might be a graphics issue. But there's not a poster who wrote that they had my exact configuration, who wrote that they had found a working resolution.

Thereupon was tried using a different screen resolution was tried. No matter the screen resolution, the symptom remained.

Thereupon was tried running the Ubuntu update manager, and the updates were done, to make sure Ubuntu was up-to-date. Afterwards the symptom still persisted.

What was the ultimate workaround?

The workaround that has worked for about a week now without any crashing symptom is to keep using the same Ubuntu 12.04 install, but instead of the default Unity desktop, install and use the Lubuntu desktop.

Link to article to help how: "How to Install the Lightweight LXDE Desktop on Ubuntu" ( http://www.howtogeek.com/107368/how-to-install-the-lightweight-lxde-desktop-on-ubuntu/ )

Basically, the article says to run this command from terminal:
sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop

Screenshot of the login screen where, after having installed Lubuntu desktop and after having clicked on the little ubuntu icon, I now have the option to choose the Lubuntu desktop:

Screenshot of Ubuntu 12.04, now running the Lubuntu desktop:

Another note is that I had instead first tried to install and use the Xubuntu desktop. I don't remember it crashing, but it felt less comfortable -- less like the ubuntu Unity desktop.

I like the Lubuntu desktop. Immediately I still have access to all of the Ubuntu programs that I had access to through unity. However for my particular setup it is stable without any random "crashing" symptom. Plus it actually seems faster and more performant -- for example applications seem to launch quicker and windows feel like they come up quicker.

In summary, this has been a description of a permanent workaround for Ubuntu 12.04 Unity on Compaq Presario with HP Monitor, how to address the symptom of suddenly crashing and displaying the login screen, and furthermore ending up with a nice, performant Ubuntu installation.

tags: #working

Note: This post was pre-published in November 2016.

[2019 edit: Moved to: https://investorworker.com/2016/... .html.]