Every time I log in to the Unity desktop and open the dash, it takes long (like 15-30 seconds) to load search results (it shows blank dash). Even if it does show search results, it is always the VirtualBox dash plugin, showing only virtual machines I had for a while.

I'm using Ubuntu 14.04 on Dell Inspiron 14R Non-Touch. Strangely, my old Acer Aspire 4xxx something (I lent it to my sister and I'm not remembering the exact model) with 1.8 GHz dual-core CPU and 2.5 GB RAM ran faster than my new laptop.

Please let me know what information I should include and how to obtain this information.

I have disabled all scopes except a few (only four scopes) that I actually use. I have also disabled startup applications from Startup programs.

Then I ran:

ls /etc/xdg/autostart

and it outputs:

at-spi-dbus-bus.desktop         indicator-bluetooth.desktop                  print-applet.desktop
blueman.desktop                 indicator-datetime.desktop                   pulseaudio.desktop
caribou-autostart.desktop       indicator-messages.desktop                   pulseaudio-kde.desktop
deja-dup-monitor.desktop        indicator-power.desktop                      telepathy-indicator.desktop
evolution-alarm-notify.desktop  indicator-printers.desktop                   tracker-miner-fs.desktop
gnome-keyring-gpg.desktop       indicator-session.desktop                    tracker-store.desktop
gnome-keyring-pkcs11.desktop    indicator-sound.desktop                      unity-fallback-mount-helper.desktop
gnome-keyring-secrets.desktop   light-locker.desktop                         unity-settings-daemon.desktop
gnome-keyring-ssh.desktop       nautilus-autostart.desktop                   update-notifier.desktop
gnome-screensaver.desktop       nm-applet.desktop                            user-dirs-update-gtk.desktop
gnome-settings-daemon.desktop   notification-daemon.desktop                  vino-server.desktop
gnome-sound-applet.desktop      nvidia-settings-autostart.desktop            xfce4-power-manager.desktop
gnome-user-share.desktop        onboard-autostart.desktop                    zeitgeist-datahub.desktop
gsettings-data-convert.desktop  orca-autostart.desktop
indicator-application.desktop   polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1.desktop

Is there anything that can slow down my computer? I believe my older computer was more responsive with (I assume) similar settings, and I'm still wondering why.

1 Answer 1


Here are a few tips gathered from other similar questions on this site:

  • install preload (as suggested in How to make faster first search at Unity-Dash? Way slower than second one): it seems to help, at least in my case, but some users noticed a higher RAM usage
  • disable a few scopes you don't need from the Applications scope in your dash
  • clear your Zeitgeist cache: I think this can be done from System Settings > Privacy > Files & Applications and there should be a button Clear usage data or something along these lines (my system is not in English); this can also be done by deleting all files in ~/.local/share/zeitgeist, but do make a backup of these files, just in a case!
  • maybe it is not directly related, but try disabling a few startup programs; some are hidden from the list that you see when opening "Startup programs", see What is causing Unity to be slow on startup? for details.

Hope it helps!

  • I have disabled few (lots) scopes from dash already, and it doesn't help at all. I wonder why. I'll add more informations to the question.
    – heno72
    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:03
  • "disable a few scopes" works for me. I only keep "Applications" and it runs faster. But I can not quick search files and folders in dash bar anymore.
    – PhatHV
    Sep 5, 2016 at 4:18

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