Unable to start USB ISO, Watchdog CPU lockup

Hi there,

I used to run Archlinux on my laptop back when I still had time to fiddle with everything day after day. After quite a long break I felt like giving ArchLabs a try and get back into linux once more.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get too far…

I run a Dell XPS 15 9560 and read up about it on the archlinux wiki. I disabled SafeBoot, enabled the SATA AHCI and turned FastBoot to thorough, just as adviced. I then created the USB medium with Rufus according to the wiki, as well.
After booting the ISO, I select ArchLabs and it starts running just fine until it gets to the automatic user login line… it then basically halts and says “watchdog: BUG: soft lockup - CPU# stuck for 23s!” and a similar error msg with hard lockup instead. It repeats these error lines but doesn’t go on after that.

Any ideas on what could cause this error in such an early stage of running the ISO? Any help would be appreciated as I couldn’t find a solution in the arch wiki/forums or here in the forums.

Thanks a lot, cheers

1 Like

Hi @xsme I have ran into this situation before myself. I had found that the issue was using Rufus to burn the iso. Try using win32 or etcher instead. I am guessing that while Rufus is burning the iso onto the USB that it adds something that the iso doesn’t like.

1 Like

Thanks a lot for your reply, @sevenday4.
I tried setting up the USB boot drive with win32ImageWriter as well as etcher but unfortunately the same error appeared so that does not seem to be the issue.

Greetings @xsme and welcome :slight_smile:

Are you attempting to dual boot with win8 or win10? If so, I’d suggest making certain you backup win and have repair media handy (just in case). Turn fastboot off and try again. FastBoot has always caused problems in Linux for me.

Thanks @anon37345411. Yeah, trying to dual boot with Win10. Backed up all my documents before and Dell laptops have a built in Fall-Back Partition.
Out of interest I just tried running Manjaro off a USB ISO and it worked like a charm without changing any more settings. Weird (at least to me)…

@xsme Manjaro’s a fantastic distro and maintain their own version of the kernel which may be the reason behind that. ArchLabs uses the Arch kernel by default.

1 Like

Wonder if it s on the bios s settings side, don t have anything microsoft so can t validate.

1 Like

That might very well be the case. Thing is, I configured my BIOS according to the Arch wiki already and it still doesn’t work which bothers me because as far as I can see, noone else with my laptop model had that issue… at least not with vanilla Arch. So yeah… don’t really know where to start, to be honest.

1 Like

@xsme If you can hang in there… One of the ArchLabs devs @natemaia who maintains the packages and builds the iso will be better able to help with your specific issue.

1 Like

Please post your inxi -Fxz results from Terminal , it will help allot on pinpointing issues also.

There you go, hope it helps. From what I gathered, in the end it’s probably either BIOS related or because of the dedicated nvidia graphics card… but let’s see what the experts have to say!

[inxi Output cropped as it was unneccessary]

Good, I ve read that nVidia can be a pain sometimes with Linux, but let see what they ll have to say.

I doubt this is an issue related to a bad burn or anything like that, currently a watchdog module is blacklisted but it isnt supposed to have unwanted downsides for most.

I’m currently away from home till midweek but at that point I can push out a testing iso without the module blacklisted. You can also build yourself if you have access to an Arch based computer, simply follow the instructions on our bitbucket iso readme and remove archlabs/airootfs/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf before building, or just wait till later this week.


Thanks @natemaia , appreciate your help. I am in no particular hurry so I will wait for your next post whenever you have time!

@xsme do you have the same issue with this iso?

1 Like

Thanks a lot for getting back to me @natemaia, appreciate it!
Downloading the *.iso now, will give it a try later tonight when I am home.

Alright, so I just gave it a spin. Unfortunately it causes the same error. I also tried unplugging all peripherals, etc. No solution, yet.
Any other ideas @natemaia ?

Sorry to hear that wasn’t a simple solution.

Have a read here and see if any of it is relevant for your situation

I’m at work currently and will be on later

Thanks, as I said in my first post, I did all those preparatory steps mentioned in the arch wiki regarding Dell XPS 9560. Everything else, it seems to me, is only relevant once you actually at least have the installer running…
I will go over it again but I do not expect any new insights.

edit: One thing I found under Troubleshooting is: “lspci causes CPU lockups”
Looks like I have to set certain kernel parameters to try and fix this.

edit2: ha! Gotta love the arch wiki. The following (as described in the wiki as well, just mentioning for completeness’ sake) worked:
Boot the live-iso, before selecting ArchLabs to boot, press e on the keyboard (whilst keeping the first entry of the list active) and add to the end of the line nouveau.modeset=0 then press enter and voila.

@natemaia thanks for making me have a look at the wiki again!


Very nice, I thought it may have something to do with lspci when having a browse around google for answers.

Glad you worked it out, let me know if you face any other issues during/after install

Cheers :slight_smile: