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I've been using Ubuntu for a while now, and just upgraded to the latest version about a couple months ago. I've noticed, then and now, that 12.04 seems to run much slower on my computer and occasionally hangs whenever it's downloading files, whether from Dropbox, Chromium, Update Manager, etc.

I've tried running the top command as well, but based on its output, which I have pasted below, it shouldn't be freezing. Any ideas on how I can change this, or should I submit a bug ticket?

top - 12:30:48 up 22 min,  2 users,  load average: 2.64, 1.78, 1.40
Tasks: 203 total,   2 running, 199 sleeping,   0 stopped,   2 zombie
Cpu(s):  5.3%us,  4.0%sy,  0.0%ni, 59.8%id, 30.8%wa,  0.0%hi,  0.0%si,  0.0%st
Mem:   3910260k total,  3779592k used,   130668k free,   897432k buffers
Swap:   262140k total,      636k used,   261504k free,  1369504k cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND                                                                        
 1692 eyoung    20   0 1320m 104m  46m S   13  2.7   2:28.87 compiz
 1051 root      20   0  366m  87m  67m S    8  2.3   0:43.72 Xorg
 2348 eyoung    20   0  508m  18m  11m S    3  0.5   0:01.35 gnome-terminal
 2490 eyoung    20   0  892m  80m  20m S    2  2.1   0:15.91 chromium-browse
 1719 eyoung    20   0  598m 115m  39m S    1  3.0   0:51.24 chromium-browse
 2301 eyoung    20   0  967m 143m  20m S    1  3.8   0:15.49 chromium-browse
 2332 eyoung    20   0  434m  37m  21m S    1  1.0   0:14.88 chromium-browse
 1646 eyoung    20   0 27540 3260  624 S    1  0.1   0:01.95 dbus-daemon
  241 root      20   0     0    0    0 R    1  0.0   0:03.80 kworker/2:1
 1803 eyoung    20   0  405m  11m 7648 S    1  0.3   0:01.57 bamfdaemon
 1982 eyoung    20   0  513m  19m  10m S    1  0.5   0:02.10 unity-panel-ser
 2015 eyoung    20   0  860m  48m  14m S    1  1.3   0:07.89 chromium-browse
 3350 eyoung    20   0 17440 1396  972 R    1  0.0   0:00.33 top
  248 root      20   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:01.95 kworker/1:2
  279 root       0 -20     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:10.80 loop0
  284 root      20   0     0    0    0 D    0  0.0   0:00.55 kjournald
 1984 eyoung    20   0  343m 5092 3472 S    0  0.1   0:01.34 hud-service
 2024 eyoung    20   0  307m  11m 8476 S    0  0.3   0:00.75 gtk-window-deco
 3004 eyoung    20   0  410m  66m 4768 S    0  1.8   0:05.77 ruby
 3030 root      20   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.30 kworker/0:1
    1 root      20   0 24444 2392 1348 S    0  0.1   0:00.97 init
    2 root      20   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.00 kthreadd
    3 root      20   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.05 ksoftirqd/0
    6 root      RT   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/0
    7 root      RT   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/0
    8 root      RT   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/1
   10 root      20   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.06 ksoftirqd/1
   12 root      RT   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/1
   13 root      RT   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/2
   15 root      20   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.02 ksoftirqd/2
   16 root      RT   0     0    0    0 S    0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/2
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The freezing is likely caused by a slow hard drive. This is common on older computers which use the slower PATA drives, as opposed to the newer SATA drives.

Though even SATA drives can be slow if too much data is being read or written. You can monitor drive activity with iostat available in the sysstat package.

It can also be caused by a failing hard drive. Run dmesg, and look for any lines mentioning your drive. Or even better, run dmesg | grep sda1, assuming your drive is /dev/sda1. You can also install a "SMART" drive diagnostic tool from the Ubuntu Software Center such as gsmartcontrol to see the physical health of the drive.

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Thanks for the response. I know it's definitely not the first problem, since my computer came with an eSATA port. I'll have to give it a look once I reboot, since I'm currently working out of the Windows partition. –  Edwin Jul 21 '12 at 3:58
    
Are you having similar problems in Windows? Also, as I just edited my answer to explain, have a look at gsmartcontrol to see the physical health of your drive. –  undecim Jul 22 '12 at 0:48
    
No, I'm not having similar issues with Windows. I'll get around to testing it again on Ubuntu, but my I only have intermittent connection to the internet. –  Edwin Aug 1 '12 at 17:09
    
Unfortunately, it turns out that you were right on the hard drive. gsmartcontrol pretty much said that several of my hard drive's stats were pre-failure, with the rest attributed to old age. Time to visit Newegg. –  Edwin Aug 5 '12 at 15:32
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