General Problem-Solving Tips

There are a number of tips for solving various problems on your computer—from freezes to incorrect software operation. In most cases, these tricks are noninvasive, and they shouldn't cause you to lose data or adversely affect your system. Therefore, they're certainly worth a try.

Emptying the /tmp Folder

The first trick is to empty the /tmp folder. This clears away all temporary application data, which can lead to software not working correctly or even systemwide freezes or crashes. Most applications store temporary data as part of their day-to-day working (including the KDE desktop environment) and, theoretically at least, this data should be deleted or discarded after use. But this doesn't always happen.

To clear the /tmp folder, start the machine in Failsafe mode by choosing that option at startup. This will boot the machine to the command prompt. Enter root as the username and type the password when prompted. Then type the following:

rm –rf /tmp/* /tmp/.*

Be sure to type this line exactly as it's written, because there's the very strong possibility of damage if you get even one character incorrect! Don't worry if you receive an error message stating that . and .. cannot be removed (these refer to the current directory and the current directory's parent directory, respectively).

When you're finished, reboot the machine by typing reboot.

Disabling Power-Saving Functions

Many problems with computer operating systems are caused by incorrect operation of the power-saving functions: Advanced Power Management (APM) and the more recent Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) standard. Disabling power saving can often clear up many problems, including system crashes and freezes. The downside is that your system will not be able to power down its components during periods of inactivity, such as when you're away from it for short periods.


Problems with power saving might not be the fault of SUSE Linux. The implementations of APM and ACPI vary widely from computer to computer, and few companies follow the standards laid down by the industry bodies behind APM and ACPI. In fact, Linux generally follows the standards to the letter. It's just a shame that PC manufacturers can't!

Disabling power saving is achieved at the GRUB boot menu that appears when you first start your system. Make sure Linux is highlighted, and then type the following:

apm=off acpi=off

If you find this tip is successful at clearing up the problems, you can add it to the boot menu automatically to avoid typing it at startup each time, as follows:

  1. Start YaST2 by selecting K menu ® Control Center and clicking the YaST2 Modules icon on the left. Click System, and then click Boot Loader Configuration.

  2. Click the Administrator Mode button and enter your root password.

  3. Click the Available Selections line, and then click the Edit button.

  4. On the next screen, select the entry marked Linux, and then click Edit again.

  5. On the following screen, select the line marked kernel and click Edit.

  6. In the dialog box that appears, use the cursor keys to move the end of the line and, after inserting a space, type the following:

    apm=off acpi=off
  7. Click OK to save the change.

  8. Click OK, OK, and Finish on the ensuing screens.

Running SuSEconfig

Some problems can be cleared up by running the SuSEconfig program. SUSE Linux is slightly different from other distributions of Linux because it holds copies of most of the systemwide configuration files in one location, rather than in various application-chosen locations on the hard disk (although most tend to be stored in the /etc directory). The SuSEconfig program ensures that all configuration files across the system are up-to-date.

Running the program is easy. Simply open a Konsole window (K menu ® System ® Terminal ® Konsole), switch to root user (i.e. type su), and type SuSEconfig.

You might find it useful to log out and then back in after this has finished in order to reload various configuration files, particularly if the problem appears to be affecting the running of the desktop.

Beginning SUSE Linux from Novice to Professional
Beginning SUSE Linux: From Novice to Professional
ISBN: 1590594584
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 293
Authors: Keir Thomas

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