Zorin Desktop icons go missing, Firefox refuses to open

At random times while using Firefox, Firefox would say the website isn't responding and will close itself. Afterwards, all the icons on the Zorin Desktop goes missing (some folders and shortcuts to apps) and clicking on the Firefox taskbar icon doesn't work.

Only a restart of the laptop will solve this issue.

Is there a reason to this issue?

Next time, try;
alt+F2 and type the letter r and hit enter, it will reset Gnome.

If firefox refuse to start, please start it via terminal and post the output.

Does it happen with other apps?


How much RAM do you have? It sounds like the system is starved for free memory, and is killing processes to keep from crashing.

If so, how much swap space do you have?
sudo swapon --show

If none, get a swap drive set up. I know nowadays many say it's not needed, or only a small 2 GB swap is needed. I still go with 2x your RAM as minimum swap size. I've actually got 4x, across two swap drives. I've tried crashing the system by consuming all memory... it doesn't happen, the system slows down a bit, but just keeps going.

You could try nohang:
nohang/focal,focal,now 0.2.0-1~oibaf~f all [installed]
sophisticated low memory handler for Linux

sudo apt install nohang

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Thanks all for the replies. I will try the methods here if I encounter the same issue again.

The result of sudo swapon --show
Filename Type Size Used Priority
/swapfile file 2097148 1068 -2

I had to manually type it out as the laptop is used by someone who isn't with me now.. haha.

This method works to get back the Desktop icons and also allow icon functionality to work again.

Does Gnome crash this often? It probably happens at least once during laptop usage.

Never crashed on me, so it may be either an app or hardware related that does it.

Oh I see, is there an Event Viewer or something similar to find out what caused Gnome to crash?

There's a log app on Zorin called: Log :wink:

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Another thing, do you run Firefox with a lot of extensions?

So it shows that your system is using the swap file... usually my system doesn't even touch the swap, it stays at 0 bytes, even when I've got SRWare Iron (Google Chrome with all the corporate spyware stripped out) open with many tabs. And that's with 'swappiness' set to 100.

That could mean that when Firefox is open, it's consuming all the free memory, and your swap drive is too slow to keep up, so it crashes (that's the reason I have two swap drives... one drive still caused crashes when I stressed memory because the drive was too slow to keep up... the kernel expects quick access to the data)... in that case, nohang will help.

How much RAM does the system have?

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6GB ram, it is an old laptop running a 1st gen i5 processor haha.

Oh thanks, I'll take a look once the crash happens again.

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