Ubuntu is very powerful and polished Debian based Linux distro. Though Ubuntu Desktop Performance is remarkably good and fast on modern laptop and desktop. But after a few days of installing Ubuntu, you might have noticed, that your system gives a sluggish performance. This might have happened due to many reasons. Your system might have unmanaged startup application, unnecessary Compiz Effects and much more. Here I have listed 12 must follow small tweaks and tips, which definitely help you to speed up Ubuntu desktop performance. These tweaks will let you have a smoother and improved system performance to do your regular task. You can follow all of it or some of it, but that will incredibly give you a high performer and faster system.

Speed Up Linux. Must-Follow Tips

You may find lots of tweaks and tips on how to speed up Ubuntu Desktop Performance on the internet. Some are safe and some are risky. Here I will be sharing only safe and stable tweaks. Because I believe that system stability and reliability is much more precious and important than gaining the speed.

1. Manage Startup Applications

After installing fresh Ubuntu, your system seems fast and smooth but over the time the users intend to install lots of applications. That startup applications take huge resource while the system boots up, and that makes the system slow and give poor performance. So at Ubuntu system, it’s better to manage startup application at the best level.

There are many application i.e Bluetooth manager, email client, remote client, visual assistant etc which might not be necessary during startup. So to reduce the startup application follow…

  • Gnome Application Drawer >> Search for Startup >>Add/Remove/Edit as you like
  • Unity Dash >> Search for Startup >>Add/Remove/Edit as you like

2. Install Preload

Preload is a handy tool that runs in the system background and having an artificial intelligence to understand the behavior of the system user. This how it loads the application very fast depending on how often the user is using the application. Follow the command from the Terminal to install preload in Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get install preload

3. “Lower” The Compiz Effects (Only For Unity Version)

To speed up Ubuntu system significantly, you must minimize the use of Compiz effect. There are many Compiz effects loaded by default, which makes the Ubuntu system slow. So try to disable some of the eye catchy Compiz effects to speed up your unity desktop on Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

4. Create a Swap Partition

If you have less RAM on your machine, then you should make a swap partition during initial Ubuntu installation. Normally Swap partition is made double in according to your actual RAM. If you have 2 GB RAM then the Swap Partition will be 4 GB.

This partition will use your HDD as RAM to speed up application launching and background system process. Discard of making this Swap partition, if you have RAM more than 4 GB.

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If you have forgotten to make Swap partition during Ubuntu installation then search online “how to make Swap partition after installing Ubuntu”. Definitely, You will be getting a lot of tutorials for making a swap partition.

5. Remove Undesired Search Results (Only For Unity Version)

Though by default Ubuntu does not include Lens, Scopes or Amazon online search but on the old version, it displays all into unity dash. So remove it from unity dash, follow…

System Setting >> Security & Privacy

Here you will find all the information about files, applications, search, diagnostics, and security. So do the change according to your preference. Moreover, if you have installed Ubuntu Tweak Tool, you will get much more control over your privacy settings.

Unity Dash >> Ubuntu Tweak Tool >> Search

6. Reduce the Default Grub Load Time

While booting up a laptop, the Grub shows the options of dual booting OS or recovery to choose. Normally a user gets 10 seconds time to choose. That means user have to wait up to 10 seconds or need to hit enter to get inside.

So it’s better to reduce the Grub load time, but remember don’t make it 0 seconds, then you will lose to select the OS from boot or recovery. Here how to do it.

Run the following command.

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

Change GRUB_TIMEOUT=10 to GRUB_TIMEOUT=2. This will make the Grub load time to 2 seconds. After that to make the change effective, run the following command.

sudo update-grub

7. Choose the Best Mirror for Software Updates

If you have a slow internet connection then this procedure is required to select the best server for updating Ubuntu system.

Application Drawer >> Search for Software & Update >>Ubuntu Software Tab >>Select Best Server ( Download From Tab )

This will start a test to find out which server is near to you so that it gets the update files faster into your system during a software update and upgrade. This will definitely speed up Ubuntu system with all new security bug fixes and install all the required missing drivers.

8. Reduce Overheating

Overheating problem is very common on laptops. This makes the laptop run slow and gives poor performance. There is a very effective tool in Ubuntu repository, which can help to cool down your system, and that will make the Ubuntu system smooth and faster. After installing TLP, you need not do any configuration rather just run the command.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw
sudo tlp start

You can also Install Laptop Mode Tools which help to reduce power consumption by slow down Hard disk speed and kernel control. To install it run the following command…

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/apps
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install laptop-mode-tools

After installing get the GUI for further customization. Run the command…

gksu lmt-config-gui

9. Use apt-fast instead of apt-get

Apt-get is an obvious command while you go for any software installation or update your Ubuntu system. Here I would like to recommend you to use apt-fast instead apt-get, at least have a try, for a speedy update or downloading app packages simultaneously while using multiple connections. Install apt-fast via official PPA using the following commands:

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sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apt-fast/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apt-fast

10. Use a Lightweight Desktop Environment

Ubuntu comes preinstalled Gnome desktop environment which loads quite heavy onto the system. But you can always have a try to install another lightweight desktop environment ( like Xfce or LXDE) and see whether it can fulfill your requirements or not.

11. Enable Proprietary Drivers

This step is a must to do if you want to play latest Ubuntu Games and do a high graphical designing task. All the modern Linux laptop and desktop comes with high processing performance and graphics card, so to get the best performances you should enable proprietary drivers. To install and see the availability of the proprietary drivers for your hardware, Applications Overview >>> Software & Updates >>> Additional Drivers >>> Install/Apply changes

12. Clean up Ubuntu

First of all, I like to focus on apt-get command. This command is the most powerful command in UNIX/Linux Terminal, which lets you do almost anything about software install, uninstall, Downloads etc. before doing anything, it makes a cache in your HDD consisting of all downloaded data. So it gets bigger and bigger after certain of time. This makes the system slow and sluggish. To remove all those caches from your system HDD, run the following command.

sudo apt-get clean

Don’t get worried. It does not delete any installed application from your system.

Now I will highlight the application “dependencies”. When an application is installed, other related small application also installed along with to have to full functionality. But if you uninstall the application that time the dependencies or small subsidiary application will not be removed.

So it creates junk files on the HDD and slows the system. To clean up all these unnecessary packages or unwanted “Dependencies” from the system, run the command.

sudo apt-get autoremove

Final Thought

All these above tips and tweaks are given based on Ubuntu latest version, but these tips also can be used in all other old versions of Ubuntu. Moreover, other Linux distros which are based on Ubuntu like elementary OS, Linux Mint etc can similarly apply these Speed Up Ubuntu tips and tweaks.

These tips and tweaks help you to maintain and speed up your Ubuntu desktop Performance significantly.


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