My Ubuntu 10.10 installation suddenly started to freeze X. The mouse would not move and the keyboard became unresponsive. Only option was to do a hard shutdown. Most of the time the crashes was triggered by mouse movements when surfing through a browser like Firefox or Chromium, but it occasionally also occurred at other times, even spontaneous without any user action
Log files contained messages like:
NVRM: os_pci_init_handle: invalid context!
NVRM: os_schedule: Attempted to yield the CPU while in atomic or interrupt context
NVRM: os_raise_smp_barrier(), invalid context!
It was possible to ssh into the machine when X was in frozen state, i.e. no real system crash.
The system crashed more frequently when it was running hot, which even affected the parallel Windows install and made it impossible to boot any OS installed on the machine. (Letting the computer rest for about 30 minutes or more made it possible to boot again)
HP EliteBook 8440p
Nvidia NVS 3100M
Nvidia drivers (260.19.06 and 260.19.29)
Ubuntu 10.10 (both 32-bit and 64-bit)
The computer came with 32-bit Win7 pre-installed. I also installed a 32-bit Ubuntu 10.04 in parallel and both systems ran flawless on this computer. I later upgraded Ubuntu to a 32-bit 10.10 and it ran fine for over a month. But sometime around 20 Dec it started to freeze. I frequently upgraded the system, but I haven't found any updates directly related to this problem.
I tried various solutions with different kernel options during boot up and different settings in the Nvidia X Server Settings application. Nothing worked. Then I did a completely fresh install of Ubuntu 10.10, but this time the 64-bit version to see if that made any difference. I added the x-swat repositories and upgraded to the latest driver (260.19.29) Still crashes.
I also tried the Nouveau driver, but the computer crashed even with that driver. And at the same time it also started to crash from within Windows and finally it became impossible to boot into any OS. This made me believe it was hardware failure and I gave up. Now I believe I was trying so much with a broken system that it was simply over heated. Letting the computer rest for 15-20 minutes didn't help.
One day later I really needed a document on the computer, so I made a last effort to boot into Windows. And it ran flawlessly! I realised that had cooled down, so I booted into Linux and immediately removed the Nvidia driver and installed Nouveau instead. It still ran without any crashes. So I made one last effort with the Nvidia drivers (260.19.29) from the x-swat repositories. Directly after the install I thought I had to make some kind of adjustment to make it work this time. So I went into the Nvidia X Server Settings one more time. This time I found an option that I had missed before...
In Nvidia X Server Settings there is an option to "Save to X Configuration File". Do you remember those nasty configuration files? We usually don't have to mess with them any more since a couple of years back, but it wasn't too long ago when I remember spending quite some time editing those files. Well... press the button, type your password and the application is creating a new Xorg.conf file in /etc/X11. Now reboot! When ubuntu starts it looks just normal, but a Nvidia splash is displayed for half a second before the login prompt. And the system finally seems to be stable!
My system has been running fine for a few days now and I'm actually starting to believe this works. I've got burned before, but now I'm actually starting to believe for real. I'm gradually loading it more and more. So far its responding fine to daily usage, which in my case involves some internet surfing through firefox (static pages, ajaxy pages, flash movies, etc) and Java development using Java IDEs and application servers. I haven't let it go into suspended mode yet and I haven't played any games. But I usually don't play any games anyway, so I don't know if I'm going to try it.
For reference: I reported some of the problems I had in this thread: http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=158172
I really hope this helps someone!