Ubuntu is already zippy, especially if you’re coming to Linux from the world of Windows. However, you might have heard that there are snappier distributions available. Why is Ubuntu responding slower than they do? Is there anything you can do to give it a boost? The answer is yes. If you feel that your Ubuntu system is becoming “slow,” here are a few ways to speed up your Ubuntu.
1. Clean unused temp and log files with BleachBit
The first step for speeding up your computer is to clean up the fluff left behind by daily use. This can be your temporary files or log files that can take up plenty of storage space. When the storage space gets filled up, the system becomes slow.
You can solve this problem with BleachBit.
1. Install BleachBit with:
2. Run Bleachbit from your apps menu.
3. Choose the types of files you’d like it to clean. We suggest everything under Apt, journald, and the Temporary files entry under Deep scan.
4. Click on Clean on the top left.
2. Speed up boot time by decreasing Grub timeout
Grub is the default bootloader for most Linux distributions and us to edit our boot-up options during boot-up. If you are always using the same boot-up option, you can get Grub to skip the option menu.
1. Start by editing Grub’s configuration with:
2. Locate the line
GRUB_TIMEOUT=X, where X is the time Grub is currently set to wait for your choice.
3. Change that to something like 2 seconds – enough time to make a choice but also short enough to not be annoying.
4. Save your changes and exit your editor. Update grub with:
Your changes will be active on the next reboot.
3. Reduce application startup time with Preload
Preload is a daemon that runs in the background and tracks which applications we use the most and which files they need. Based on this analysis, it auto-loads those files, speeding up the loading times of our favorite apps.
Preload is another almost fully-automatic solution that you can install and reap its benefits without having to do anything else to use it.
To install Preload, open a terminal and enter:
After its installation, Preload will run automatically at the next boot. No user intervention or configuration is needed.
Note: Although Preload doesn’t come with significant side effects, its usefulness depends on how you’re using your computer and how much RAM it has. That’s because preload relies on usage patterns so it can guess that, for example, after loading Firefox, you may also run a note-taking app. If your PC has less than 8GB of RAM, or your usage pattern is erratic, feel free to skip Preload.
4. Remove useless stuff from AutoStart
Some apps start automatically when we enter our desktop and can slow down the desktop. Thus, it is best to stop them from launching automatically or add a delay to their startup.
1. Visit your app menu and search for “Startup Applications Preferences.” When the entry appears, run it.
2. Look at the list of software that auto-loads whenever you log in to your desktop.
3. Remove the ones you don’t need active by selecting them and click the Remove button on the right.
5. Improve speed with zRam
zRam creates a compressed swap space in your RAM. When your RAM starts filling up, zRAM will start compressing some of its contents without having to turn to swap space on your storage devices.
Thankfully, using zRAM today is easier than ever. It’s supported in most modern kernels, and you only need to install a script included in the default repositories to configure it automatically for your PC’s specs. To do that:
1. Open a terminal and install the zRAM config script:
2. Reboot your computer, and zRAM will run automatically.
If you want to learn more about the zRAM and how to customize it, check this comprehensive zRAM guide.
6. Prioritize your apps with Ananicy
Ananicy is an auto-nice daemon that runs automatically on startup and re-prioritizes all active software and services. It does that using a collection of predefined rules, among which you can add your own. Theoretically, it can help your computer feel zippier by simply installing it.
To install it:
Run your terminal.
Move to a folder like ~/Downloads, since you’ll first have to download Ananicy’s source files.
1. Open a terminal and clone the app from its GitHub page:
2. Package the app for Ubuntu with:
3. Install the packaged version of Ananicy with:
4. The app will be active after the next reboot. If its installation fails because of dependencies, it’s probably because you don’t have
schedtool and the
make tools installed. Solve the problem by installing them with:
After they’re both installed, try reinstalling Ananicy’s deb package.
If you want to expand beyond Ananicy’s default rules and customize your own priorities for your apps, check our detailed guide on Ananicy here.
7. Use a Different Desktop Environment
Gnome is great, but it can be quite resource-intensive too. While you can optimize it to use less resources, it can never get as zippy as a more lightweight environment, like XFCE. The beauty of Linux, though, is that you’re not stuck with Gnome. You can install and use any desktop environment you wish on Ubuntu.
Installing XFCE on Ubuntu is as easy as inputting the following in a terminal:
This will install a “base” version of XFCE. If you want to turn it into Xubuntu intead, use the command:
At the next login, you’ll be able to switch between the various desktop environments.
If you have used any of the methods above to speed up your Ubuntu machine, you will surely notice an improvement in your computer’s performance. To add to your experience, learn these keyboard shortcuts to get things done faster or clean up your Ubuntu machine with these tips.