Ubuntu is slower than XP?!

I've been running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS for two weeks on my Dell Latitude E6400 (a secondary laptop). Its running slower than Windows XP (I'm dual booting).

  • Firefox launches much more slowly on Ubuntu (64bit) than in XP (32bit).
  • At idle Ubuntu uses 1GB of RAM whereas XP uses 520MB of RAM. This laptop has 2GB of RAM in total.
  • CPU usage at idle is higher, circa 15% on Ubuntu vs. 5-10% on XP. Normal Intel Core2 Duo processor.

I haven't run any benchmarks as I don't have Novabench on Ubuntu.

What do you guys think?

  • Is this normal?
  • Would I benefit from uninstalling Ubuntu and installing Xubuntu in its place?
  • Note: I need to dual boot as I have one specialised software programme for work that I can only use on Windows.

Also, Ubuntu is kinda ugly. Purple on Orange... Really? Thankfully that changes with the background.

I can only say that it shouldnt be slow. I have used Ubuntu off a cd without install and it ran very well. might be worth reinstalling it. Format the partition completely and start again

XP is more then a decade old OS while you are using Ubuntu from last month. Even the most recent revision is still 6 years old. Try comparing XP to Ubuntu 8.04.

Try a different Desktop Environment like Mate or XFCE as they aren't as heavy or as kludgy as Unity.


Also Linux is much smarter about ram usage, XP was designed when most systems where lucky to have a 1Ghz CPU, 256Mb of ram and has terrible pre-emptive multitasking support, Linux will use all the ram availible to it to run more smoothly.

Thanks for the replies guys. I think i'll format the partition and install another distro.

I don't think I want anything ubuntu related. Between the slowness and the Amazon/spyware thing I'm not interested anymore.

Does it make sense to go the debian + Xfce route?

Try Zorin, I think you'll like it.

Zorin is nice, although if you are new to Linux might I recommend Elementary OS?

Eh, I stick with Mint Mate edition, everything that Ubuntu and Gnome ever got right, none of what they got wrong. That and you get to leverage all of the support out there for Ubuntu and Debian, I.E. since it's based on Ubuntu Steam and all games on it have no trouble as Ubuntu is the preferred distro for Steam and the build target for all of the games.

Ubuntu 14.04 still has quite a few problems that need to be ironed out. If you want to use the Ubuntu Core, go for Xubuntu on a 2 GB RAM machine, and you'll have a pretty good experience, it works pretty nice and has a lot less bugs.

RAM usage in Linux doesn't mean the same as in Windows. Typically, Linux will reserve as much RAM as it can for different purposes, part of which is disk caching for instance. If you look at RAM usage through a GUI app, the total amount of RAM "reserved" is shown, not the total amount "effectively used".

If you want to know exactly what part is effectively used and what part is reserved, open terminal and enter the command "free", and you'll get a detailed overview. For instance, the first result line of the "free" command may say that (just an example) 1500 MB of RAM is "used", and the second line with specify that of that 1000 MB of that 1500 MB is actually counted as "cache/buffer", which means that it's available to the system if the system would need more RAM to load applications, but if the system doesn't need that, it will use that part as cache/buffer. If you want to know what application uses what amount of RAM, you can enter the command "top", and you'll get a detailed self-updating list (to quit that process when you've seen enough, just press "q" or "Crtl-C").

It may be Unity overhead, and the difference of 32 bit and 64 bit, if you think it's too slow but still want the Ubuntu experience try Mint or whatever suits your fancy

Thanks guys for the suggestions as well as the explanations. Much appreciated.

I've shortlisted the following distributions to check out (already torrenting/downloading):

  • elementary OS
  • Xubuntu
  • Mint Mate
  • Zorin

I'll try them out on Virtual Box or live CD/DVDs over the next couple of weeks and then decide which to install. I have two laptops that will need to migrate from XP so might experiment a bit.

Do you guys have a favourite way of uninstalling Linux or other operating systems? I had to rebuild the master boot record and boot.ini files on XP after formatting the Ubuntu partition. I'm sure there's a tidier way.

I like using Darik's Boot and Nuke, pretty freaking fun to watch too, but it does a pretty good wipe so if you want to recover data later it will be hard

Would you know why wifi dosent work on eOS

Open a terminal while you are connected to the internet and enter sudo apt-get install linux-generic-lts-raring. That will download and install a newer kernel. I had this problem on a co-workers laptop. Instead of searching for the correct driver, I just installed a newer kernel. 

If you want to save your blank discs you can use something like Starup Disc Creator to make live USB versions that also have persistence using the standard CD/DVD .iso files. I've got a 64Gb USB3 stick running Ubuntu 14.04 with Steam and bleeding edge kernel and OSS driver stack to show people what Linux is capable of, loking at upgrading to a 128+GB stick though so I can fit Metro:Last Light on it as well...


Also, Mint is currently in RC as of the 16th RC being usually, but not always the final beta release for the next version.

thanks. i'll check out the USB boot option. I've already burned through 5 or so CDs/DVDs as i don't have a spare USB around. I should get one the next time i'm at the shops.

I'll check out darik's boot and nuke as well. I usually don't trust non-OS software to do partition and format stuff. I'll look into it though.

I tried xubuntu live CD today. Seems pretty good. Very XP (in a good way) without being windows (in a bad way), or so it seems. Will test it out a bit more.