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My system is considerably slow and I have no idea why and no idea what information I can provide to help determine the cause. What basic trouble shooting can I do to obtain and provide useful information about what the problem might be?

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There are commands that you can issue and edit into your post that will be useful in helping you determine what your problem is. As Rinzwind suggests here top -o %CPU | head -n12 could be useful. Also grep -i error /var/log/syslog and dmesg can provide useful output. A failing hard drive can also have a major impact on system speed especially in situations where files are being processed or swapping is taking place. It's a good idea to check the SMART status of your storage devices on occasion. Another possibility is failing to meet the minimum requirements of the version of Ubuntu you have installed as alluded to in this comment by pa4080.

If the problem is slow booting, systemd-analyze blame can also provide useful information.

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  • I recommend to use htop instead of top. – N0rbert Aug 23 '18 at 18:17
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    @N0rbert definitely a useful application, unfortunately not well suited for capturing static output to paste into a post. Cheers! – Elder Geek Aug 23 '18 at 18:25
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    +1 for the possible hard disk issue. Insufficient RAM with Gnome/Unity also could be possible issue. Instead of top I would suggest htop that allows to sort the column by one click of the mouse – pa4080 Aug 23 '18 at 18:30

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