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I installed Ubuntu 18.04 from a USB using Rufus onto my old Dell from 2006 (CPU: Intel Pentium 4 RAM: 1 GB). I've booted it from the BIOS successfully and I've selected "Try Ubuntu", but once I'm on the desktop it runs extremely slow and it's borderline frozen. The mouse only moves ~90 seconds and it's too slow to actually coordinate the mouse onto any desktop icons. The system time has also only moved one minute despite the PC running for over an hour. Since this renders the computer basically useless what can I do to fix this? Unfortunately, I'm not exactly a pro at this (first time using Linux) but thanks for any help.

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    The GNOME desktop (default with 18.04) doesn't work well on pentium 4's, and it wasn't intended to (it was expected to be run on better hardware). My hp dx6120 (pentium 4 too) works well though running Xubuntu or Lubuntu; I added GNOME desktop only to see how it felt, within 3 minutes I logged out & haven't used gnome again. Use a lighter desktop, such as Xubuntu or Lubuntu (your personal preferences will dictate which is best for you).
    – guiverc
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 4:12
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    If you just installed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (with gnome), I would forget it and install Xubuntu or Lubuntu over it in your place. If you have loads of disk space, you could add either to your existing system; which will let you have a comparison (at login you can select which you want to use; this is what I used to add gnome to my existing Lubuntu system!; sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop (or xubuntu-desktop for xfce). At login you will see a gear-icon which will let you pick which you want to use (or add them both to see which you like, then re-install the one you prefer).
    – guiverc
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 4:19
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    (fyi: there are costs to having multiple desktops on your machine (more disk space used, more complex menus due to far more options, greater bandwidth used due to additional programs, choosing wrong apps can waste memory due to extra libs in memory - this is why I suggested re-install once you've chosen one. With only 1gb you can't afford any wasted memory!)
    – guiverc
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 4:23

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If youre trying vanilla Ubuntu with the gnome desktop, then that Pentium 4 with 2gb of memory is the cause of your issue. I have the GX620 myself, and it STRUGGLES VERY hard to run the gnome DE, even with an aftermarket gpu installed. Its the effects and the compositing on the Gnome desktop youre using thats making your experience bad. I suggest you try out Xubuntu. It will run pretty well, at least way better, than the vanilla Ubuntu. If you want, I can help walk you through this. Im sort of new myself, so I'm new user friendly :) Cheers!

Edit: I see that your post says that you have only 1gb of memory now, my apologies. I would suggest using Lubuntu or Xubuntu. Again, my offer is still open to help you transition into the beautiful ecosystem of GNU/Linux!

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  • I agree with what guiverc says. Xubuntu and Lubuntu would be a better choice for you particular hardware. Although, I would pick Xubuntu (it just looks better and feels snappier in my opinion) over Lubuntu. Don't let the fact that you may end up choosing a lighter weight distro get you down, because both of the suggested distro's are great! They also both use the Ubuntu base, they just use a different desktop (how the user interface looks and feels).
    – DPS
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 4:20
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    Thanks for the help! I'll try installing Lubuntu. What version should I try to install? Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 4:38
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    But between 64/32 bit and desktop or alternative, which version do I install? This Dell says its 64 bit Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 4:44
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    ps: Lubuntu 18.04 LTS uses the LXDE desktop, and was the last Lubuntu to use LXDE (being replaced by LXQt in 18.10). If your machine is x86 (ie. 32-bit) I'd be very likely to use Xubuntu 18.04 LTS myself as it's an easier upgrade path if you plan on keeping the machine past April-2021 (what DPS suggested). My mentioned hp dx6120 (pentium 4) is only x86/32bit (i686 class only); however that doesn't mean yours is not x86_64.
    – guiverc
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 5:06
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    When you're first starting out in this ecosystem, it can be very intimidating. Like what to install, how to install, the "scary" terminal, etc. There are ways to make this extremely easy for someone that has NO prior xp with GNU/Linux, and thats by taking the easy routes at first, and then gradually learning the inner-workings of the system itself. Which eventually, you may come to find that it's actually a lot easier and vastly more simple than the non-free alternatives... it just sometimes takes trial and error, a basic understanding that you CAN do it, and a friendly hand every now and then
    – DPS
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 5:22
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Put an SSD in it and it will run a lot faster. Most older machines come with HDDs which are very slow. You'll find well priced 128 and 256gb ssd drives on amazon. If you mobo doesn't support SATA then get a converter ;)

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    Pentium 4 motherboards often don't support SATA.
    – karel
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 10:52

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