I'm running Ubuntu 11.10 on VirtualBox and performance is really bad. It takes seconds to respond to a click. Is it possible to reduce the graphics rendering quality or other unnecessary things, to speeden up the gnome DE? (like in windows)

  • What processor and RAM do you have? – edm Mar 23 '12 at 12:00

Yes, log out and select a different desktop. Unity 2D doesn't have compiz running so is faster in some circumstances.

Or install Gnome Shell (you only need the gnome-panels package in 12.04) and you can select the Classic desktop which is probably even more efficient.

Or don't use Gnome at all. There are plenty of other desktop environments (LXDE, Xfce, etc) that are light.

  • You will need to select "Classic GNOME (No Effects)" for the less graphically inclined version, though. – dobey Mar 23 '12 at 14:03
  • Where can I select this from? – Robinicks Mar 23 '12 at 16:36
  • @Jenko you need to install Gnome Shell first (from the Software Center). That installs both Gnome Shell and the Classic modes. – Oli Mar 23 '12 at 16:57

If you haven't done it I would recommend you to install the Virtualbox Guest Additions.
These will also install a virtual graphics card that the guest Ubuntu will recognize and Jockey will automatically suggest a driver for it.
This will probably solve your performance problems due to graphics rendering.

To install it just launch your guest OS and from the menu of the VB window choose: Devices -> Install Guest Additions.

  • I've done it, but what does "Jockey will automatically suggest a driver for it." mean?? – Robinicks Mar 23 '12 at 10:48
  • Ok, I went to "Additional Drivers" and it asked me to verify the install of the VBox drivers. – Robinicks Mar 23 '12 at 10:51
  • 1
    @Jenko Jockey is a little tool that recognizes and install 3rd party drivers. If it didn't show up in your indicators bar you can launch it manually and install the proposed driver. – yossile Mar 23 '12 at 10:53

I also use Ubuntu on 11.10 on virtual box and there's some useful stuff in a guide that will help you, it's at: http://techod.com/how-to-make-ubuntu-faster/

All the best!


Here is a thorough general guide to speeding up Ubuntu in VirtualBox...


I was surprised to find that seemingly benign but suboptimal settings within VirtualBox itself can make the experience of Ubuntu in VirtualBox horrendously slow--even on high-grade equipment.

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