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This question is merely of general interest. I'm a newbie to Ubuntu and like it quite a lot. However, troubleshooting takes up quite a lot of my time, because I love software and install left right and center, and when I got a problem later on I cannot figure out which one of the newly installed software caused it, or where to look for the problem. I had a problem earlier today where specifically Downloads close right after I opened it with Files / File Manager, using Nautilus. Documents, Pictures and the rest works fine though. Installed two other file managers (PCmanFM and Thunar) and Downloads works fine with them.

As a Windows user I am using SlimCleaner there, which is pure gold for checking on the health of Windows, it's basically a all-in-one command centre to see what is installed from software to toolbars, and much more, and helps a lot to identify problems on a computer. Unfortunately SlimCleaner is not available for Linux.

I am looking for a similar program for Ubuntu. At the moment I don't know where to look for 'dead files' that is just taking up space, I don't know what the health of my Ubuntu is, I don't know if a website hacked my browser and installed an add-on, I don't know if there are any corrupt files on it, etc. So the software I'm looking for must give me a nice overview of almost anything on Ubuntu, if you understand what I mean. A fix-it-all type of software, like those registry-cleaners and defragmenting software you get in Windows.

I surfed askubuntu but could not find a similar thread or solution, and believe many new users would like to identify potential problems on their systems at one central place. For all that I know Ubuntu itself may already have something like that built-in?

Oh, and I do read every Ubuntu manual and book that I can get hold of. :) I'm just a bit disappointed after seeing how many hours I spent looking for a solution to a problem, while software would have shown it to me in seconds, and probably fix it in a few more.

marked as duplicate by Braiam, user117103, Radu Rădeanu, Eric Carvalho, karel Dec 31 '13 at 2:25

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You just have to look in the /var/log/ directory and check the logs. That's the linux way. The most important log there is the /var/log/syslog. Please see the answers to this and this question, or this article for more info or each logfile. You can access some of these logs in the Log File Viewer (just search for it in the Dash), but most of the Linux users like to read directly the text files.

Also if one of your graphical application produces silent errors during it's runtime, those errors will be logged in ~/.xsession-errors . (If you see there DEBUG or WARNING messages, those are not ERRORS, and most likely can be ignored.)

  • Yep, I found out about the var-directory after doing my post, and also that the (one of my many) problems was that the logs kept on accumulating, till I later on had 12 GB's full of that, and just 300Mb away from a full disk. I followed around 10 people's advice, so fast that I don't know which one's solution eventually worked. But it comes down to having old logs automatically deleted after a day or so, apparently it wasn't set like that by default, or one of the software that I installed is now taking care of that. – Gunther Dec 30 '13 at 9:05

A fix-it-all type of software, like those registry-cleaners and defragmenting software you get in Windows.

You will not find that kind of software for Ubuntu, nor any Linux distribution. "Why?" you ask. This is because the nature itself of all Linux distribution which is a very modular operative system. Also, do-it-all tools has not been developed, and instead there has been small highly specialized tools instead.

That you have problems while installing a program would not affect other programs that has no relationship with the problematic piece of software. Linux doesn't have a registry-like structure that needs cleaning. There isn't almost any kind of malaware that could affect the stability of a patched and updated system.

If you find a problem somewhere is easily discoverable and most of the time fixable. There are logs that keep a watchful eye on the most important parts of the system. Programs normally doesn't get loaded at start which reduce the memory print. You can easily revert almost any change that you made to the system.

So, what you need:

  • You may want to use a Virtual Machine to play and experiment before using it in your production system.
  • You may investigate before hand what are you going to install before messing with your system.
  • You may do periodic backups (if you are not already) to restore the system to a good state.
  • A few hours after my post here I came across BleachBit, which was exactly what I was looking for. Although not with the nice GUI of SlimCleaner it does have a GUI at least (the terminal is still a bit new to me), and it does wonders for cleaning up junk and keeping Ubuntu tip-top. I also came across, and installed, FSlint, Synaptic Package Manager, and something that I think is called 'Remove Orphaned Packages.' Haven't actually used the last 3 programs yet. – Gunther Dec 30 '13 at 9:12

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