I have a Intel Celeron 2ghz dual core laptop, which is exactly the recommended specifications for Ubuntu, but it is a bit sluggish with the default desktop environment(gnome?). So I am looking to make it faster without reinstalling a lighter version of Ubuntu(like kubuntu) as all it does is replace the desktop environment as far as i know. Now I want to make it faster, but I want to keep the default environment as I like how it looks, so is there a way to make the default one faster?

And if that's not possible, which Ubuntu looks the most like default Ubuntu, but is faster?

  • 3
    Have you used top and free and other built-in performance-measuring tools to determine why Ubuntu feels slow on your system? It's very responsive and fast on mine.
    – user535733
    Jun 16, 2018 at 17:48
  • @user535733 gnome-shell uses 15% on both cores at idle, and when clicking on the apps menu, the icons move very stuttery. Although, this is in the live cd. I'l try installing.
    – user872821
    Jun 16, 2018 at 17:54
  • 4
    I would recommend that you try an Ubuntu community flavour with a lighter desktop environment than standard Ubuntu: Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE or Xubuntu. Try them live and install the flavour that you like best.
    – sudodus
    Jun 16, 2018 at 18:21
  • 3
    I wouldn't test performance via Live CD. That's not really what it's meant for. Jun 17, 2018 at 2:43
  • 4
    By lighter you really do just mean faster, right? Or is space also something you're actively looking to minimize? (Because these two goals might conflict.)
    – user541686
    Jun 17, 2018 at 5:57

4 Answers 4


Refer to this article for making gnome desktop faster. To summarize the six steps in the article:

  1. Disable or Uninstall Extensions
  2. Turn Off Search Sources
  3. Disable File Indexing
  4. Turn Off Animations
  5. Install Lighter Alternative Apps
  6. Limit Startup Applications

The linked article above links to another article with steps you can try:

  1. Show Hidden Startup Applications
  2. Fix Bugs That Slow You Down
  3. Install Adaptive Readahead (Preload) Daemon
  4. Decrease Swappiness
  5. Upgrade Your Hardware

As said in comment you would probably have to choose a lighter desktop environment.
But you can try some tweaks, i have done this and get some improvement

Disable Search and disable windows animations

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface enable-animations 'false'
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.search-providers disable-external 'true'
  • 2
    Xubuntu has basically all core features of Ubuntu and runs on some minicomputers without the dedicated graphics hardware that recent Ubuntu requires.
    – NoBugs
    Jun 16, 2018 at 23:45

OP in a comment stated:

@user535733 gnome-shell uses 15% on both cores at idle, and when clicking on the apps menu, the icons move very stuttery. Although, this is in the live cd. I'l try installing. – Tim Leijten

Performance when running on a live CD is going to be very different from when actually installed, simply because of where the system reads data from. Reading from a CD (or even a live USB) is painfully slow, and it will show in your system. Once you install it to a hard disk (even HDD, not necessarily SSD) you will have a much faster read speed, and the system will feel faster.

  • 1
    Not quite - it can be quicker depending on how much memory the computer has, as I'm fairly sure it runs from memory in the live environment. Under normal use on a desktop it runs with program data from the hard drive - which even with plenty of RAM still means waiting around for it to loads chunks of the gnome shell off the HDD!
    – Wilf
    Jun 16, 2018 at 23:39
  • 2
    @Wilf Running from disk it also loads parts of the system into memory. But for the parts it hasn't loaded yet, it takes longer to load into memory from a CD than hard drive.
    – Scimonster
    Jun 17, 2018 at 0:01
  • Agree with @Scimonster. In live version it only loads parts of OS that are required to give a feel of OS, irrespective of how much memory you have!
    – Debajyoti
    Jul 10, 2018 at 8:33

I got similar problems on an older machine and tested various other Ubuntu distros. In case Ubuntu would not be fast enough for you after you tested it installed, there are indeed (related to the second part of your question) alternative Linux versions, mostly based on Ubuntu.

1 Lxle comes to mind, it is at 16.04 now, and tries to combine good looks with faster performance. 2 Lubuntu is made for machines that are not very new too.

There are a lot of Linux distros you could also test, Puppy Linux for example. This one can even be installed just on a usb stick and used from that, without installation. So you could install Ubuntu and Puppy Linux and see how things work.

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