I run an old desktop mainboard as my homelab server. It runs Ubuntu smoothly at loads between 0.2 and 3 (whatever unit that is).

Occasionally, the CPU load skyrockets above 400 (yes really), making the machine totally unresponsive. The only solution is the reset button.


  • I haven’t found what the cause might be, but I think that a reboot every few days would prevent it from ever happening. That could be done easily with a crontab line.
  • alternatively, I would like to have some dead-simple script running in the background that simply looks at the CPU load and executes a reboot when the load climbs over a given threshold.

–> How could such a cpu-load-triggered reboot be implemented?

edit: I asked ChatGPT to help me create a script that is started by crontab every X minutes. The script has a kill-threshold that does a kill-9 on the top process, and a higher reboot-threshold that … reboots the machine. before doing either, or none of these, it will write a log line. I hope this will keep my system running, and I will review the log file to see how it fares. Or, it might inexplicable break my system. Fun!


Have you tried turning your swap off?


Nope, haven’t. It says I have 2 GB of swap on a 16 GB RAM system, and that seems reasonable.

Why would you recommend turning swap off?


The symptoms you describe are exactly what happens to my machine when it runs out of memory and then starts swapping really hard. This is easy to check by seeing if disk io also spikes when it happens, and if memory usage is high


To check if your problem is caused by excessive memory usage requiring constant swapping. If it is, turning swap off will make some process be killed instead of slowing the computer down.

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