I upgraded my ubuntu karmic to lucid a few months ago. I don't know when it all started but the thing is that when I log in, I see a very intense disk access activity for a while that prevents any application from starting in a reasonable time (it takes from 10 to 20 seconds).

That's why I cannot launch a terminal window and top or iostat just in time to see what happens. When it prompts it's too late.

I tried to delimit the problem uninstalling zeitgeist, docky or whatever program I thought was behind that behaviour. I even deleted my Private encrypted folder to avoid decryption issues. Nothing changed.

Any idea about how to proceed? Thanks in advance.


I'd switch to a virtual terminal at the GDM login screen (Ctrl+Alt+F1), log in and start iotop (you maybe need to install it first). Then switch back to GDM (Ctrl+Alt+F7), log in, and immediately switch back to iotop using Ctrl+Alt+F1. You should now see, which process is responsible for the heavy IO.

Forgot to mention an alternative: you could try using bootchart to generate a chart that visualizes the boot process + desktop start. You maybe need to edit its configuration, so it shows more than just the first seconds of desktop loading:

Open the file '/etc/init/bootchart.conf' and remove the line:

--crop-after=compiz,metacity,mutter,kwin,xfwm4 \

Two things:

  1. You maybe need to reboot twice after the first installation to get a useful result (it's possible that an index file needs to be rebuilt, I don't know for sure).

  2. Once installed, bootchart will run on every boot, unless you add bootchart=disable to the 'GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT' parameter in '/etc/default/grub' (followed by a sudo update-grub).

  • good solution... – RobotHumans Nov 12 '10 at 18:54
  • 1
    Perhaps it's Ubuntu One indexing files? U1 still trashes my system even on Maverick. – Leon Nardella Nov 12 '10 at 20:00
  • Never had an issue with U1, but I often see apt-xapian-index hosing my system for a minute or so on slower hardware. You'd see that hitting your CPU though (top or htop). More here : bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/apt-xapian-index/+bug/363695. Iotop is awesome and will get the root of the problem though. – Scaine Nov 12 '10 at 20:12
  • Thank you all guys. Indeed, both iotop and bootchart pointed to ubuntuone-syncdaemon as the responsible of the delay. I don't know whether there's a solution for that. In the meanwhile, I've prevented ubuntuone-launch from autostarting at boot time. – zuzust Nov 12 '10 at 22:33

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