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My dash always takes 10-15 seconds to show up. Is there a way to make it stay permanently loaded in the RAM or something so that it shows up faster?

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During login or all the time it hides and then shows? – Bruno Pereira Dec 1 '11 at 9:11
How much RAM have you got in your PC? Are you also attempting to use Compiz? If you have too little RAM and using Compiz, opening the Dash can take the time you mentioned. – fossfreedom Dec 1 '11 at 10:45
@fossfreedom My computer has 1GB RAM, and I'm not using compiz. Metacity has compositing enabled, but even when it isn't enabled, fake transparency is used so it still takes the same amount of time. – Hippo Dec 3 '11 at 14:43
very strange... is this Ubuntu 11.10? what CPU and graphics chip/driver are you using? – fossfreedom Dec 3 '11 at 21:08
@fossfreedom Yes, this is Ubuntu 11.10. I have an old computer, so maybe that's the problem. My processor is Intel® Pentium(R) 4 CPU 1.50GHz and my graphics card is GeForce2 MX/AGP/SSE2. – Hippo Dec 6 '11 at 7:20
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, this is Ubuntu 11.10. I have an old computer, so maybe that's the problem. My processor is Intel® Pentium(R) 4 CPU 1.50GHz and my graphics card is GeForce2 MX/AGP/SSE2

I think you are correct -- the problem is your CPU is old and very slow and your GPU (graphics card) is also old and doesn't support compositing and other features. This means everything must be rendered in software, and that is a burden for your CPU.

The Pentium 4 CPUs were notorious for providing extremely poor performance compared to what their clock speed was (1.5 GHz, here); for example, the CPUMark below shows that a Celeron M at half-the-speed or 800 MHz (released 3 years later) is faster than a Pentium 4 1.5 GHz:

enter image description here

Unfortunately, the solution to continue using the latest Ubuntu on your current hardware probably involves switching from Unity 2D to a lighter desktop environment such as XFCE or LXDE; perhaps you could try an Xubuntu/Lubuntu LiveCD to get a feel for what kind of performance to expect.

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I really don't know if it will make your Dash open faster as this program makes programs lauch faster and the Dash isn't exactly a program, but you can test it:

sudo apt-get install preload

Preload is a little program that fills your RAM memory with the most used programs/files, so it won't work at the moment of the installation, but within two days using the pc it will take effect as it will memorize the common programs that you use.

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sudo dpkg-reconfigure unity-2d

and see if that speeds it up.

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Okay it sounds like your RAM is definitely going but to make sure run a boot-able program called MEMTEST86 and let it run for a while and see if any errors pop up. If you get no errors that doesn't automatically exclude the troubleshooting the RAM.

But before you go out and buy a new stick check your HDD. There is also another program (boot-able also) called Spin Rite and it checks for problems on your HDD (If this one shows no errors you are good to go, if it does you are in trouble.)

If the Spin Rite passes your next step is to continue troubleshooting your RAM..... Replace it with a new one and see if the condition still exists. If so well stick the other 1GB stick in and now you have 2GB. But to fix the issue we have to narrow it down.

If you have a Graphics Card installed on your system remove it and check to see if condition is still persistent. If so then you know now that it isn't the graphics card and it leaves three final problems.

Go ahead and stick your graphics card back in (if you have one) and look around at the capacitors and resistors on your motherboard and make sure none of them are blown (they will have bulging tops much like a cola that has gotten too hot and expanded.)

If none are then you are left with two options. It is software or it is the processor. Deciding between these two is easy. If you made a backup then time to clean install Ubuntu. Then try it. If problem still persists then you know what your problem is: the processor.

I made this tutorial in chronoaffordableologic order meaning it is cheapest and least expensive to start with what I stated first and work your way down.

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I find that this chronoaffordableologic order is off, because reinstalling Ubuntu costs nothing at all, and yet is listed last. – JXPheonix Jul 24 '12 at 18:37

I don't know if this is of any help to you, but ubuntu-tweak is a great application that seems to load my dash at twice the speed after installing it and tweaking some items. I suggest you run Computer Janitor - enhanced speed performance without OverClocking your processor. ubuntu-tweak with Computer Janitor built in is available in the Software Center.

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