Searching for ways to speed up slow system

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Schemel
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Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Schemel » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:01 pm

Hey people!
About a year ago I revived the (Windows-)laptop of some friends with Linux Mint. They love it and the computer works again with a lot more speed that they were used to.
But over time it started to slow down a bit again. I keep it updated, also the Kernel. I also delete pretty much every program they do not need (e.g. Pidgin) to save some space.
Also I only keep the two most recent kernels, and delete the others. I disabled the window-effects and from time to time I delete the Firefox Cache and History.

Is there any way to increase the speed on Linux Mint some more (even if it's just half-seconds)? Shiny = secondary (keep Cinnamon DE though)

They do not want to invest in a new machine or a RAM upgrade, because they only use it for Emails (Thunderbird) and the occasional Amazon order (Firefox).
After starting and waiting a few minutes when I open the system monitor I see that the two processors are at around 8% and the RAM is at around 55%.

The specs in the System info are:

Code: Select all

OS: LM 18.2 Cinnamon 32bit
Cinnamon: 3.4.6
Kernel: 4.10.0-33-generic
Processor: Intel Pentium Dual CPU T2310 @ 1,46 GHz x 2
RAM: 1 GiB
GPU: Intel Corporation Mobile GM 965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (primary)


Thanks in advance, I'm on a mission to minimize!
Last edited by Schemel on Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Moem
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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Moem » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:05 pm

I did not know you could even run Cinnamon in that little RAM. Sorry, but I think that they are simply trying to do too much with too little.
That said, Firefox is not a lean browser and maybe a slimmer one would work better.
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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby MintBean » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:43 pm

1) Tell them to upgrade to 4GB RAM. It'll cost about the same as a large takeaway pizza. If that raises eyebrows, at least 2GB. There's being wise with money, then there's being tight.
2) Use a lightweight distro such as puppy Linux. If you must use Linux Mint, use the XFCE desktop not Cinnamon which is the most resource intensive.

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Schultz » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:19 pm

I know you said "keep Cinnamon DE though," but I don't see how it's even running to begin with, with only 1 gig of RAM. Switch to Xfce. And check out the link below, specifically section "D."

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/Home

If you must keep Cinnamon, then try this link below.

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/mint-cinnamon-first

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Schemel » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:15 pm

Thank you all for the quick replies!
I might be able to grab some RAM for them cheaply and make them a present (they are strict about not spending a cent on that machine).
Also I'm considering changing to XFCE DE. I tried it once for myself for a day and I didn't like it very much, but I'll check again. I also intend to find out how to change the DE without a complete reinstall. Why I said that I want to keep Cinnamon is that I find it the most simple for persons not having a lot to do with computers, and I want them to have an as much easy as possible experience. I found Cinnamon most intuitive personally.
Definitely I will follow the guides in Schultz links, that's what I searched for in the first place. Thanks for that!

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Moem » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:41 pm

Schemel wrote:I might be able to grab some RAM for them cheaply and make them a present (they are strict about not spending a cent on that machine).

That is a fine idea!

Schemel wrote:Also I'm considering changing to XFCE DE. I tried it once for myself for a day and I didn't like it very much, but I'll check again. I also intend to find out how to change the DE without a complete reinstall.

That is not such a good idea. Combining two DEs on the same installation is iffy at best, and can lead to... interesting problems. And adding one and then removing the other... I don't think that will work, honestly.
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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Schemel » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:05 pm

Oh, that's too bad. Then I will not change to XFCE anytime soon. Maybe when LM19 XFCE gets released. I visit them tomorrow for a few days and will (for now) follow the links that optimise the system (also the Firefox tweaks) and see how that goes for RAM usage and subjective speed increasement.
If anyone has some additional tips for how to speed up the system I'm open to additional suggestions. Thanks again!

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby syg00 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:03 pm

Personally I prefer Mate for lower spec machines - and users accept it more easily.
As for adding a second DE to the mix, I see enough people doing it that I wouldn't be concerned about that.

Firefox is a pig,but is slowly getting better. Maybe not so much on older kit.

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby FreedomTruth » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:33 am

Moem wrote:I did not know you could even run Cinnamon in that little RAM. Sorry, but I think that they are simply trying to do too much with too little.
That said, Firefox is not a lean browser and maybe a slimmer one would work better.

I apologize for adding a new question to someone else's thread. I am in a similar circumstance, one old computer with little RAM, already on XFCE but web browsing isn't very feasible on it (using palemoon). Have any suggestions for a "leaner" browser (other than text-mode lynx)? A more lightweight browser may help Schemel's friend's computer too, just what to recommend?
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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby DAMIEN1307 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:40 pm

hi freedomtruth...i use slimjet browser with startpage as the search engine on 1 gig ram, 1.66 ghz atom processor experimental machine and works great...chose the .deb package under ubuntu/debian versions, either 32 bit or 64 bit depending on your system https://www.slimjet.com/en/dlpage.php ...DAMIEN

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Hoser Rob » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:07 pm

I agree with the above comments ... there ain't much you can do to speed up Cinnamon on hardware that old. I know that Linux is great for old hardware but that doesn't apply to all DE versions (or all app software either), and Cinnamon is meant for newer machines. Try installing Xfce.

A gradual system slowdown may be caused by a lack of free space. After it's 90% or 95% full Linux will slow down quite a bit. The only fix forn that is to free up some space.

For general speedup this (from one of the more frequent posters here) read this ...

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/3

... though I think you should experiment with swappiness values rather than just set it to 5. My netbook, also with 1Gb and running mint 17.3 Xfce, works best with swappiness set to 40. And I've never really found that changing the inode cache settings made things better.

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Schemel » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:26 am

Thanks, I already did a lot of those tweaks suggested in all those easylinuxtipsproject links. For example I changed the swappiness to 10 and removed apt-xapian-index and tweaked firefox and so forth. It helped a tiny bit (or it was just placebo), but the main thing I did was find out which RAM module I can use on the machine, and found out that I can upgrade from 2x512MB to 2x1024MB. That's the maximum it can handle, and I already found both modules for a combined price for 15€ second-hand in my hometown. I just wrote to the seller and already got a reply.
I will give my friends a small extra christmas present in the form of RAM and hope it helps. With nothing open but 2 Tabs in Firefox and the System Monitor the RAM is at around 80%, and both processors at around 40%.
Hoser Rob wrote:[...]
A gradual system slowdown may be caused by a lack of free space. After it's 90% or 95% full Linux will slow down quite a bit. The only fix forn that is to free up some space.
[...]

They're at 72% of their 117GB HDD :lol:

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Hoser Rob » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:13 am

I don't find that Firefox runs all that fast anymore, and that's especially true with low RAM. On my 1Gb netbook Chrome runs a HELL of a lot faster.

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby JerryF » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:33 am

Try Chromium browser. It's listed in the Software Manager.

P.S. There my not be a need to keep updating the kernel. If their computers and all peripherals were running fine, let sleeping dogs lie.
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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Petermint » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:01 am

You could boot a live version of LM Xfce to let your friends test Xfce. https://xfce.org/ https://www.linuxmint.com/rel_sonya_xfce_whatsnew.php

My LM 18.2 Cinnamon fits exactly in 2 GB with both Thunderbird and Firefox open. A lot of little bits, the Bluetooth applet, the screensaver, etc, use 20 MB each. Delete what you do not need. LM Xfce has lighter weight versions of some applets.

Both MATE and Xfce were bad back when I tested them a couple of years ago. Both now share LM supported applications, like Xed, and work reliably. Cinnamon in LM 18.3 has some performance improvements that might make Cinnamon a good choice after you upgrade to 2 GB.

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Schemel » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:53 pm

Just got the RAM modules (2x1024MB) for 15€. I'll visit them again in two weeks and swap them out with the 2x512MB modules and see how that goes. I really don't want to confront them with a new DE or another browser, so I hope the RAM will do the trick.
@JerryF: About the kernel updates, don't kernel updates not only provide support for newer hardware, but also security updates? That was the only reason I was keeping the kernel updated, because all the hardware works fine in LM. Which cannot be said about Vista and XP that were running on it before. For example the soundcard driver didn't work at all and had to be reverted every time, and then it made updates in the back and broke it again. Horrible!

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Petermint » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:17 pm

Kernel updates can drop compatibility with older hardware. Hardware reaches a point where the developers do not have a machine of that age to test kernels. Some fanatic wants to keep his 8008 based PC running. You expand the memory from 8 KB to 16 KB then install Linux Mint using an 8" floppy disk. Perhaps you choose Xfce instead of Cinnamon. An older kernel might work. :o

There are some posts where 4.4 is recommended, over later releases, for some old hardware.

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Schemel » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:08 am

Yes but what about security? 4.10 works like a charm on their machine.

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Re: Searching for ways to speed up slow system

Postby Pjotr » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:20 am

Schemel wrote:4.10 works like a charm on their machine.

Then that machine definitely doesn't need another kernel. Don't change what works well.

Older kernels aren't necessarily faster than newer kernels anyway.
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