I upgraded to Ubuntu 13.10 "Saucy Salamander". After upgrading, whenever I open the Unity Dash to search for an application, it takes at least a minute before it starts to show some result. The new scopes addition has made Dash painfully slow. Is it possible to speed up the Dash's response time?
I have already turned off the "include online search results" option. I can live without internet information on Dash, but cannot stand a slow application menu (which is supposed to be its primary feature)

  • 2 workarounds until Canonical decides to first search our PATH... 1) dock your apps and use Win + 1-9. 2) sudo apt-get install guake and function noh { nohup $@ >/dev/null & }. Then hit F12 to open guake and noh firefox to start Firefox Oct 24, 2014 at 18:06

5 Answers 5


You can disable individual scopes in the Dash Plugins section of Applications Lens. Ubuntu 13.10 brought the Smart Scopes feature with lots of feature packed scopes. This may make Unity slow and resource hungry. But it brought a good thing too: you can now selectively disable individual Scopes from the Dash itself.

Unity Dash Plugins Section Disable Individual Scopes from Unity Dash

Previously, scopes could be disabled only by unchecking the corresponding schema entries using dconf or gsettings. This is not needed now as it can be done from Dash itself. As a more aggressive measure, you can uninstall the unwanted Scopes and Lens. These are packages named like unity-scope- or unity-lens-. For example, I usually remove unity-scope-musicstores and **unity-scope-video-remote* scopes and unity-lens-music and unity-lens-video. You may remove scopes and lens which use online search or the ones you don't need.

As suggested by Sushantp606 in this Answer you may disable Online Searches in Unity Dash. To do so, goto System Settings ▸ Privacy ▸ Search Results ▸ When searching in the Dash: Include online search results and turn it off. Disable Online Search for Unity Dash

Turning off Record Activity will affect all searches, both online and offline. Don't turn it off, unless you don't mind Dash not displaying recently used Apps, Files, Music, etc.

If you're experiencing slowness during the first search on Dash after startup, it's the startup delay of Dash. It'll speed up after a while. The second or subsequent searches will be fast. You may use preload or similar daemons to decrease startup delay.

Disabling Blur or changing to Static Blur can increase Dash performance,but won't do anything in particular to increase Search efficiency. For suggestions to improve Unity Dash performance on the whole,and not just with respect to Online Searches refer to How to speed up the Dash response? and How can I speed up the dash?

  • The problem is its never fast.
    – Ubuntuser
    Nov 25, 2013 at 20:48
  • What do you mean by it's not fast? The Unity Dash itself isn't fast or the Search isn't fast? If it's the search feature, then change the Question Title and avoid being flagged as duplicate of How can I speed up the dash? Please answer Nov 26, 2013 at 13:19
  • 1
    Great detailed answer! For me deleting most of the scopes sped up the search a lot (from taking several seconds when typing "Text Editor" to almost instantaneously)! Even though I previously already had turned off the online search results (that brought almost no speedup).
    – codeling
    Mar 3, 2014 at 19:06
  • 1
    I can confirm that disabling ~75% of dash plugins (unused anyways) made it instant. Sep 28, 2014 at 11:51
  • On Ubuntu 14.04, also go under "Files & Applications" and turn "Record file application usage off" and "Clear Usage Data". That made search instant for me! Oct 24, 2014 at 18:13

Install compiz settings manager :

By running the following in the terminal.

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Now open compiz settings manager and then goto the unity plug-in. Now disable blur in dash this will increase the speed of your dash significantly.

  • wasn't blur a part of Ubuntu 13.04? how did it not affect 13.04?
    – Ubuntuser
    Nov 25, 2013 at 20:43
  • 3
    No effect can take a minure to display. It's the search that is very slow, the question was abou the search. Feb 16, 2014 at 13:35

open up synaptic and remove the various useless unity-scope-***** and unity-lens-***** applications.


the only way I know is go to System setting - privacy -off include online search, and off record activity, that’s it.

And check this once that might be a hardware issue.


I'm not sure if this works in 13.10, but when I want to search for applications in 14.10, I've gotten in to the habit of using Super+A (for the Application Lens) and not just Super, which searches all Lenses. At least for me, the difference in speed is quite dramatic, even with all the unnecessary lenses already disabled, as suggesting in the accepted answer.

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