Ubuntu MATE freezes right after showing desktop

Today, my Ubuntu MATE 19.04 desktop froze and stalled the system, right after showing the main desktop and while populating the main panel’s system tray; screen went black, keyboard lighting jumped on and keyboard commands would no longer have effect. Switching terminals with CTRL-ALT-F* had no effect. Kernel panic?

Booting to recovery mode however did work. Tried some things to no avail:

  • Blacklisting the wifi driver (ath10k_pci)
  • Switching graphics card from Nvidia to Intel
  • systemctl disable bluetooth
  • systemctl disable NetworkManager
  • Backing up and removing ~/.config/autostart
  • Backing up and removing ~/.config/mate-session

No suspicious warnings to be seen in /var/log/syslog*, /var/log/dmesg*, /var/log/Xorg.0.log* or anything else, so likely not a hardware issue.

The problem turned out to be a corrupted directory somewhere under ~/.config. The fix was simply to restore a backup of the .config directory.

Suspected culprits:

  • ~/.config/gtk-2.0
  • ~/.config/mate
  • ~/.config/my-weather-indicator