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From time to time my Ubuntu desktop freezes. When this happens my usb keyboard and mouse stop responding so I can't get out to tty1 [ctrl][alt][f1] or do anything else from my input devices - also the lights on the kb & mouse go out suggesting that they're completely gone.

Setting aside the question of what could be causing this, I'd like to be able to restart the desktop without resetting the computer.

If I understand Wikipedia correctly, the xserver effectively takes over management of the keyboard and mouse so if the server crashes badly I lose usage of the input devices. Ideally I'd like to be able to run X with the input devices somehow being passed through the system (kernel?) instead.

edit : Connecting over SSH is sometimes an option with a laptop being nearby but this is not always the case

I've done some googling but it seems I'm too ignorant to come up with suitable search terms ;-(

So what I'd like to know is:

is there a way to configure X such that the input devices are system managed rather than managed by the xserver itself?

Alternately am barking up completely the wrong tree?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't know the actual cause of the keyboard and mouse dying, but I would recommend two courses of action.

  1. Unplug and plug them back in

If that doesn't work, then...

  1. log in via ssh, kill your X session, then attempt to determine why the peripherals died, too
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Use the magic sysrq key, if it still works on your USB kbd:

If X just died completely, and didn't keep the kbd grabbed, alt+sysrq+r can put the keyboard back into cooked mode, instead of raw keycode mode, and then ctrl+alt+f1 may work. You may need vbetool post to re-post your VGA BIOS, but that doesn't usually fully work.

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