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Thread: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    45

    Question Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    Hi guys, its been a while coming, 6 years in fact, but I've finally made the full switch to Ubuntu after toying with it for a long time to get the windows software I needed working through wine (all that seems to have been sorted now!)

    In the past Ubuntu was as rapid as can be, but this new install of the latest version on my laptop seems to very numb.

    The main issue is the system is stable, but very slow to respond. If I click my home folder I have to wait for up to six seconds for it to open. The same problem for applications, obviously it can vary for apps.

    I have always ditched Ubuntu's new window manager and gone with Gnome, which is just my preference. However I have tried this with XFCE, KDE and LXDE too, with the same issues. Opening multiple apps can take minutes.

    I'm used to double clicking an icon and it opening instantly on the second click, even in Windows 7.

    I'm thinking that maybe its a configuration or driver issue, maybe even a duff image, but I always check the media before install. I thought it may be the driver for the graphics chipset, but 3d performance is better than windows in some of my steam games and the eye candy in Gnome 3 is silky smooth.

    I'm running an 2nd gen i3 @ 2.2GHz, 8GB RAM, Intel HD3000 graphics, 500GB HDD

    On thing I have done differently is that I asked for my home folder to be encrypted, I shouldn't see this being the problem as I was under the impression that the encryption takes place on mount/unmount and I'm not too bothered about boot time.

    I've also uninstalled Ubuntu and reinstalled W7 and it's perfectly fine, as I was worried about the health of the drive.

    Lastly, again with the HDD, are there certain filesystems that are faster than others? I just used the guided installation to do it for me.

    I'm a bit lost really, finally Ubuntu can do everything I need it to and it's suddenly slow.

    Your thoughts, advice and input would be appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Joe
    Calm Like a Bomb

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Beans
    67

    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    My thoughts: because it seems to someone or some of the people on the dev team are doing a really shoddy job.

    I would make sure you get rid of Ubuntu's native package manager and use apt-get or install Synaptic

    I had a similar issue on my 3GHZ Core 2/3GB Ram/512 graphics setup, and doing the above sorted a lot of issues out very quickly!

    On a sidenote, the lag caused by the package manager is something the Ubuntu devs must sort if Ubuntu is to grow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Metro-ATL
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    Lubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    If is isn't some hardware going bad ... which it could still be, then until you check the log files, there is no way to know what the issue is.
    Look in
    * dmesg
    * syslog and
    * all the log files under /var/log/
    for errors and warnings.

    I'd check the process table to see what was using all the RAM and all the CPU too.

    I've seen where the network setup removed l0 - the loopback device - and that cause extreme slowdowns too.

    Without facts and data, we are shooting blind.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    45

    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    Thanks for the fast reply my friend. That really is something I'd never considered. I noticed that it was very slow when installing software, but I just figured that to be down to the fact that I have to disable the N functionality of my wireless card and router and it was causing slowdown. But using it now, I can tell that its taking a chunk of my resources.

    If I can find a way to remove Ubuntu Software Centre do you think it'll help that much? I'm pretty well versed with Synaptic/Apt-get so I have no issues with installing that way.

    I've had and Ubuntu Server running the last few years on a 1999(I think) Dell Dimension with 512MB RAM, and that would out drag this setup any day!
    Calm Like a Bomb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    342

    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    Sounds to me like a driver issue. Running with an encrypted home folder should only slow down access to your own files, not the system's files (as happens when you launch an application) and then the slow down is only about 10%. The Software Centre isn't the problem unless you always have it open. The Software Centre can only slow you down when you're using it, but it sounds like your machine is always slow.

    My guess is it is a driver problem, that will kill performance in a big hurry. Check to see if there are updated drivers for your version of Ubuntu. I found 12.10 was a lot slower on my hardware compared to 12.04 and it seems to be an X/driver issue.

    Another thing to check is to run the "top" command and see what is gobbling up all your CPU. Alo check the "wa" (wait time) when you run top, it may be that your Os is waiting on slow read times for some reason.

    File systems can be a big bottle neck for IO, but ext3/ext4 are usually fine. You probably would only notice slow downs if you were using Btrfs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    London, UK
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    Distro
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    Quote Originally Posted by thnewguy View Post
    You probably would only notice slow downs if you were using Btrfs.
    Exactly where I was going... Not sure what version/kernel support there is for BTRFS currently, but I had the exact same issue installing OpenSUSE12.2 before the update. It was totally unusable. It's been fine for the last several months though, but likeI say I'm not sure of the versions involved here.

    In terms of the hardware, there can't be a spec issue; I have it on old netbook; 1.6 atom n270 2gb ram, intel gma950'

    Recommend checking the disk for errors? It definitely sounds like slow disk access?

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    Synaptic is always faster for installing. As for the slowness in opening folders, I assume that you have already changed your mouse and touchpad settings to speed them up. What version of Ubuntu are you using? 12.04 LTS or 12.10? Running Top will show what is taking up your system resources and might help pinpoint some problems.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    45

    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    Thanks again for the great replies, so I've checked all my logs, nothing untoward there apart from a compiler crash last night that was caused by this mysterious slowdown. I keep USC closed most of the time, in fact I hardly use it, but it seemed a legitimate suggestion.

    My running processes don't reach over 1% and a spike of 30% when launching an app. RAM wise, Thunderbird is using the most at 3.9% In windows, when launching an app it uses as much as possible to carry out the task as fast as possible, 30% seems off, but again it could be a Linux thing.

    Even with these low usages, its still painfully slow. I've checked for driver updates and they're all the current versions. I've just ran Fedora (yes, I know! Shh) with Gnome 3 on the Laptop and it's running as I'd expect, damn fast.

    I think its looking like a driver issue, maybe an incorrect driver rather than out of date. Is there a way to rescan my hardware?
    Calm Like a Bomb

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    Quick update: I've just tested the HDD and its passed all the tests and the file system is Ext4 which is what I'd have chosen if I'd have done it manually.

    I've heard talk of people updating kernels and it 'solving all their problems' on SUSE forums, but as an IT Technician who primarily works with Windows and meddles with Linux in my spare time, I wouldn't know where to start with this.
    Calm Like a Bomb

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: Any thoughts on why my fresh Ubuntu install is SO SLOW?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepish View Post
    Quick update: I've just tested the HDD and its passed all the tests and the file system is Ext4 which is what I'd have chosen if I'd have done it manually.

    I've heard talk of people updating kernels and it 'solving all their problems' on SUSE forums, but as an IT Technician who primarily works with Windows and meddles with Linux in my spare time, I wouldn't know where to start with this.
    On Windows, you use the Event Viewer to see issues, right?
    On Linux, you use the log files in /var/log/ to see issues.

    Look for warning and errors in those files. Seriously, the cause of the issue is there, I'm 99% certain.

    $ sudo egrep -i 'error|warning' /var/log/*

    How hard is that?
    To learn about sudo or egrep commands, use man {command}.
    Also check dmesg for warnings and errors.
    $ dmesg | egrep -i 'error|warning'
    Simple.

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