I use GNOME Shell. My graphical session has been opened for the past 44 hours (doing a number of things). According to my "System Monitor", GNOME Shell currently uses 186 MB of RAM. A lot for somebody like you that only has 1 GB.

Like I wrote earlier, a scrambled screen never is "normal". Even when running out of resource. Either a software bug caused it or some hardware (probably the RAM) is failing and should be replaced. Does it often happen?

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