Im a first-time user to Ubuntu-12.04 with WUBI installation.

I have a Dell vostro 3450 with i5 2410m, 3 gb ram, intel hd3000, amd 6630m hybrid.

Surfing and playing games works flawlessly. However, I'm having huge problems when installing applications and generally copying and moving files.

When doing so, system is significantly slower and freezes quite often (Firefox gets bluish, sometimes even black n white). I would say that Ubuntu allocates too much resources on file transfers and installing, but even these tasks are very slow.

Here is very specific example : Today I tried to move a 6 GB file from my Windows 7 installation. It was good at first, so I jumped to Firefox but after a while firefox started to randomly turn bluish and mouse was randomly stopping working. It was gradually worse and worse until it got to a point when firefox black and whited and mouse wasn't working at all. I raged and went for some meal, when I got back screen was black. It probably unlogged me due to inactivity, when I pushed random button to bring screen to life I had to wait few minutes to let it show me only my screen background. No log in screen, just background and working mouse. NoteBook fan was working at 100 % so I assumed that file transfer was going on and I left it to work. Nothing then changed for a full hour so I hard rebooted it. File transfer unsuccessful, It transfered hardly 2 gigs. Is this normal ?

What to do in these situations ? It didn't let me load system manager and not even the terminal.

  • If you run the "free" command in a terminal, does it show any swap being used?
    – dobey
    Jun 22 '12 at 12:52
  • You can check this link for getting a general performance issuce problem with harddisk I/O, see the "mcduck"'s post. You might have already known that, Wubi is a slower method, and not a standard one
    – Anwar
    Jun 25 '12 at 8:03
  • As suggested here, I recommend installing pastebinit (sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install pastebinit) and running pastebinit /var/log/dmesg and pastebinit /var/log/kern.log. You'll get a URL for each--add both URL's by editing your question (or comment here with the links if it doesn't let you add both of them). That should make it possible to troubleshoot your problem further. And please go ahead and provide the output of free as well. (To run commands, open the Terminal with Ctrl+Alt+T.) Jun 25 '12 at 8:12

I noticed the same freezes. While I can't tell why this happens, I know a way to get rid of that. Here's how:

In a terminal, type

echo "deadline" | sudo tee /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler

Try moving or copying larger ammounts of files again. You should notice a huge difference. If so, make the change permanent by typing in a terminal:

gksudo gedit /etc/default/grub

In the line beginning with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="", add the following string in between the ""s:


Save and exit. After that, type in a terminal

sudo update-grub


FYI: This changes the so-called scheduler to 'deadline'.

Source: http://techtitbits.com/2010/04/get-rid-of-freeze-ups-during-disk-io-activity-in-ubuntu/


Another Possibility would be to lower dirty_ratio settings. To test it, type in a terminal:

sudo bash -c "echo 10 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_ratio"

sudo bash -c "echo 5 > /proc/sys/vm/dirty_background_ratio"

If this helps, make it permanent by editing your sysctl.conf:

gksudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf

At the end of the file, add the following lines:



Save, close and reboot. Done.

  • 4
    As that article says, it's helpful to test this first, to see if it will really do any good: echo "deadline" | sudo tee /sys/block/sda/queue/scheduler Jun 25 '12 at 8:01
  • Thanks, I changed my post accordingly, adding the information you provided, @EliahKagan
    – FuzzyQ
    Jul 28 '12 at 21:31

You have to remember that Wubi installs Ubuntu in your existing Windows Partition and not in a separate one.

It looks like Ubuntu has no space to work in your existing Windows Partition. It could be trying to use swap but not getting enough which causes the slowing down of the system and the heavy disk activity.

I would either install Ubuntu at a separate partition without Wubi, or expanding your Windows Partition size and the size of your Wubi install.

You can also take a look at this article on how to improve the performance of your hard drive.


From my experience, Disk I/O is the bane of any sane user experience under Linux.

Things that make it worse:

  • Using a laptop(2.5") disk, especially a 5k rpm disk
  • Using wubi or LVM/Encryption.
    • This is because normally, reads/writes to disk are quite optimized to your hardware, but having that enabled creates a layer of indirection that mess this up.

Reasons for the slowdown:

  • Most things on your linux-system need to touch disk quite often, they write logs, cache-files and sometimes they synchronize things through the file-system.
  • When the disk is busy, everything grinds to a halt, waiting for their check on the cache-file etc will complete. This is especially noticeable with gui-applications.

So, in general. Anything you can do to avoid touching disk is good.

You can change your firefox cache-directory to

This is a ram-disk. It is very fast, but anything you store there will

  1. eat your ram
  2. be gone after a reboot.

Tutorials for this can be done by using google.


I've run into this, too. I was hoping a ReadyBoost solution would fix the issue, but it didn't make a huge difference for me. Still, it may work for you.

My thoughts: processes that use a lot of disk access (which is already 10,000 times slower than memory access) now must do more of it to deal with the Wubi harddrive format.

My suggestion: 1. Switch from Firefox to Chrome. And close unnecessary tabs. 60% faster. 2. Switch to a lightweight, minimalistic web server, if that is what your application is. I tried 3 - Reddit server runs slowly on my 6 year old laptop, both the server and the client, and I hit some nasty install issues with Telescope, but so far I am loving Arc 3.1 - the source behind Hacker News. It's a little hard to find, so here's the URL: http://ycombinator.com/arc/arc3.1.tar

Side thought: if one were to use copying and symbolic links to make all your disk accesses reside on your flash drive, for whichever directories are hit with the most disk accesses, that should make a difference by bypassing the Wubi filesystem completely and replacing it with SSD.

  • 1
    This isn't really fixing the problem. The OP might want to stay on Firefox.
    – fosslinux
    May 30 '17 at 4:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.