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First of all, I apologize if I'm posting in the wrong place. I have been using Linux Mint for about a year now and with every new install comes the same problem. Before I install the updates everything goes like is should: the applications load fast and the same goes for the web pages. But afterwards things slow down to almost crawling speed at times. What could be the problem? I've used KDE, MATE and now I'm using Cinnamon.
Mind you, I'm running things on a MSI laptop with a 2.1 Ghz AMD sempron processor, 2 GB of RAM, 250 GB and an ATI RADEON HD4200 graphics card.
Have a look at the applications that are started when you log in - Startup Applications. Do you need all of those running? Bring up the System Monitor and see what is taking up a lot of memory or CPU time. There is also a command 'top' that you could try, but that will give you a lot of information. Depending on how comfortable you are in the Linux world, the amount of information might be overwhelming.
Yes, you should use a system monitor like "top" to see what is slowing down your computer. Some program/driver or misconfiguration could be causing the slow down. You could also check your sensors to see if the computer is overheating, etc.
If you have a graphic driver issue try Mint with XFCE or LXDE, they are faster, less demanding and easy to make faster: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=96465