I run Ubuntu 18.04 on a modern Toshiba laptop without problems - until updating on Apr 26 2019. It needed restart. After that Gnome opened windows terribly slowly. I removed all Gnome extensions, ran sudo apt update, sudo apt autoremove, sudo apt full-upgrade, but no difference. Is this a virus? Help!? I am a near-80 astrophysicist but an Ubuntu dud and appreciate help...

Addition Apr 29: other posts made me look at dmesg. At its end:

[211509.868273] [drm:intel_pipe_update_end [i915]] ERROR Atomic update failure on pipe A (start=458201 end=458202) time 207 us, min 1073, max 1079, scanline start 1069, end 1083

[212774.344829] perf: interrupt took too long (22682 > 22655), lowering kernel.perf_event_max_sample_rate to 8750

Are these meaningful?

Addition May 6 2019: getting desperate. Top shows that the machine runs fine. Booting with my original installer 18.04 USB stick does not have the problem. I tried the previous kernel: same problem. I tried login with Gnome from Xorg: same problem. May be not a Gnome problem because other things are very slow too, Ethernet by a factor 5-10. I presume one of the many packages I installed does this after the update? - but how find it?

  • 1
    in a terminal run top ... does it show something using loads of CPU ? there are many other such resource usage viewers like itop and htop ... if you boot from LiveUSB does the sluggishness go away ? Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 20:31
  • @ Scott Stensland: top mostly shows top itself on top at 3%, sometimes gnome-shell up to 30%. LiveUSB - don't know what that is.
    – Rob Rutten
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 9:26
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    My local mirror logs show that on Apr 25 2019 a new version of gnome-shell was pushed out. Other updates were pushed that day, but none that look relevant. No updates were pushed on Apr 26. I don't use gnome, so this is an uniformed approach, but maybe try downgrading to the previous version of gnome-shell? It looks like the version pushed out that day was 3.28.3... and the older version is 3.28.1... Commented May 6, 2019 at 20:55
  • @ Organic Marble: command "gnome-shell --version" indeed returns "GNOME Shell 3.28.3". Can you instruct me how to do downgrade? Google gave confusing recipes (probably too old).
    – Rob Rutten
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 7:57
  • I asked separately how to downgrade gnome-shell in question 1141442. Got the recipe (from Kulfy) and downgraded, restarted the computer. Windows open faster than after the above upgrade but still slow. Internet also still too slow. I see no longer lines "lowering kernel.perf_event_max_sample_rate" in dmesg. Upshot: improved but not there yet. In the meantime I work on an an older Toshiba laptop still running 12.04 at normal speed.
    – Rob Rutten
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


Answering my own question after 3 weeks of despaired search and a fruitless complete 18.04 reinstall including all packages I had before. Finally diagnosed and repaired by an expert family member inspired by question 1021748.

The ondemand CPU governor switched to "powersave" mode after booting up. This lowered the CPU frequency to even below the minimum set frequency of 400MHz, and stayed there hovering around 380Mhz (inspected via lscpu).

This happened when the governor switched the CPU to powersave mode:

cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/policy*/scaling_governor

Switching the CPU governor to performance mode solved the problem (for policy0-3):

 echo performance | sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpufreq/policy0/scaling_governor

Permanently removing the ondemand governor, made this survive reboot, keeping the governor set to performance:

systemctl disable ondemand

No idea why the powersave mode turns out so bad and what went wrong where in the April 26 18.04 update and is still present in the reinstalled version. Some posts hint that the ondemand governor doesn't play well with the Intel pstate scaling driver... Anyhow, my question wrongly asked about gnome (I took it out). It was the CPU control affecting everything.

  • Thank you so much. I was contemplating moving out to lubuntu. My system has become useless. How did they allow this release out the gate?
    – sureshvv
    Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 4:50
  • Thank you. You saved my life :D Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 21:34

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