PC slowes down

My PC tends to work sluggish from time to time. Usually during specific actions, like opening certain applications or moving files around. I want to figure out what causes it. Is there a good way to check writing/reading speed of all my components (disk, RAM, CPU)?

I have used Phoronix in the past and it’s pretty great, but I don’t have any good figures to compare my results with.

How to check if the problem is within software. Maybe I simply use too many heavy applications and my machine can’t handle it?

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How old is it? Was thinking maybe that the CPU needs a fresh coat of thermal paste to help with heat dissipation.

Also, I know for my computer, it is due for a cleaning as it has collected a bit of dust and I don’t want that to constrict the airflow.

It’s about 5 years old. It was pretty powerful when I got it, so I don’t think it should be slowing down too much. I might use some extra RAM though (I have 8GB).

I de-dusted it recently, it didn’t really help.

My laptop is older and I have no such issues.

I would try to use something like htop and try to see what consumes too much CPU when the slowdown happens.
It would also be interesting to know which distro and desktop environment.

I would try to use something like htop and try to see what consumes too much CPU when the slowdown happens.

I use system activities to check RAM and CPU usage, but in most cases it doesn’t show anything interesting. Perhaps there’s a tool that could run in the background and give me some sort or report at the end instead of me trying to check it in real time?

It would also be interesting to know which distro and desktop environment.

I use KDE on KDE Neon.

Does the same system activity measure disk usage? I used to get that on a Windows machine, and some AV program was using the disk around 98%.

Also, is it an HDD or SSD?

8gb of ram is usually enough, even for most DE’s in Linux. I run KDE Plasma with 8gb on a Zenbook with 2-core i5 with no issues. I mostly do email, surf the web, and some Python scripting on it and it has no issues with memory. I have not tried to edit a large HD video with kdenlive on it, though.

Which OS are you running? What CPU does it have? Is it a laptop or desktop? There are many things that can contribute to slowness.

I haven’t checked my disks and they are likely suspects. Do you know any good software that I could use to check them?

THIS makes me wonder if it’s perhaps a disk issue? Have you done any error checking?

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Run fsck on the disk(s). If there are bad sectors, fsck will mark them and will try to relocated the data. If bad sectors are the issue, this should correct the problem.

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At 5 years your thermal paste will be like chalk so dedusting wont help much if the heat doesn’t making it to the heatsink. It could be contributing to the lag or the whole source.

Suggest: New paste from Tom’s Hardware list: https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/q6JBN5sC6v9Pgh3uHH5FPF-650-80.png
Optional: ArctiClean thermal paste removal kit

I’d recommend trying a live distro and doing similar tasks to see if the lag is the same. It’s a quick way to help narrow things down.

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Looks like you got a lot of other replies. I have not used fsck as @Mr_McBride suggested, but if you’re familiar with htop there is also iotop (and maybe run it as iotop --only to make it easier to look at). Doesn’t record it per se, but it will show load while you’re opening things. You can also install sysstat and use iostat.

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Try the nmon utility.

It will let you see what memory/swap is in use, disk activity, network traffic, etc. in real-time, but I’ve found it useful.

Browsers are serious memory hogs, and when real memory fills, swap will be used, and medium to high swap use will tank your system.

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I would slap in a SSD drive if you do not have one. Makes a massive difference. I have laptop four years of age with 16GB of RAM with Debian on it. It started to get so very slow, and even hang at times. Turns out it was the drive for sure. Dell put in a low end Toshiba hard drive which is slower than a SATA 2 drive I have made way back in 2011.

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I have both SSD and HDD drives. SSD for / and /home. HDD for /var and data.


Others have point out using htop, but that is a bit dated now. There is a much newer, and better application out called “bashtop”


It will certainly show you where your bottleneck is.

Also, can only help if you go full SSD. They are slowly coming down in Price again

I have NVME for everything except /opt, which is a HDD. But, I should move /var to the HDD as well.

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I like glances myself.

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I finally sat down and tried removing different parts and seeing how PC would run without them.

Turns out my RAM was faulty. I replaced it with a new one (and also updated from 2x4GB to 2x8GB). I forgot PC’s can run this nicely.


Congrat’s !!!