Slow GUI startup

I am finding the GUI on Ubuntu Mate 1.12.1 very un responsive after I complete the login prompt. Applications will not launch and the mouse clicks are not even buffered. I have installed the System Monitor in the panel and it appears to have a lot of CPU thrashing going on, but even when it dies down, it takes a while (2-4minutes) before it resumes in a responsive way. I would have expected it to at least be able to buffer the mouse clicks and perform the start of apps amongst all of that? I have been running it for 3 months and very happy otherwise.

What should I look at to try to analyse/eliminate this problem?

Hello @robwlakes

Not sure about your “computing literacy” but if I was facing your solution what I would be gunning for is the following:

  1. what type of machine do you have?
  2. do you have both on-board and an extension video card?
  3. i would remove my extension video card (AGP or most probably PCI-E), plug in 1 monitor into my on-board video card and boot with that. What’s the outcome?

If you aren’t feeling confident in doing so, can you possibly give us more informations about your setup by issuing:

$ sudo lshw -short

and pasting that over this thread?

Also, what about dmesg? Just the last lines will do.


What process(s) in the system monitor are using a lot of cpu?

To monitor resources in terminal enter:


Hi v3xx, and also to DLS.

Thanks for your help. I have capture the requested information in an
attachment. I don’t think there are any real surprises there, but I
would appreciate your feedback. I have found the ‘top’ command probably
the most helpful as the Terminal screen does pop up responsively (where
as Thunderbird announces it will and then doesn’t). The main CPU
thrashing seem to last as long as Dropbox (caja variety) is listed in
the tasks, and once it dropped out everything was back to normal. I
have altered Dropbox before this, as the default setting was choking
the bandwidth, now that it has unlimited access the “dead time” appears
shorter (say 30sec approx), whereas it had previously been 2-3mins.
Until I used the ‘top’ command I was unsure as to what I was doing.
Unfortunately I could only get a snap shot of the ‘top’ activity off the
terminal screen after it had died down, so no dropbox shown there.

However I am only a very infrequent Dropbox user. That is I only store
very small files occasionally in it, and yet this slow down occurs at
every login? If the contents are stable (I don’t share access to my
dropbox) then it should be quicker?? The network and hard drive are not
being thrashed so much at this time.

Anyway I will appreciate whatever time you can spare to have a look at it.

Thanks again, Rob

PS The question about my Computer Literacy was a good reminder that I
was hand coding a National Semiconductor SCMP system in 1977, and
running programs on punched cards 4 years earlier and a heavy computer
user ever since. I was also trying to run Linux on an Acorn RISC
machine (of ARM prehistory) around 1998, it ran, but it was pretty crude
back then, bring on the Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately most of my time on
computers has been teaching in schools with the compulsory MS Windows
machines, until… about 4 years ago when I retired and now
exclusively Linux and Ubuntu Mate in particular. I appreciate you guys
helping me get under the hood so to speak and guiding me to what are the
most productive tools. I am forever learning, cheers!


You may remove caja-dropbox and reboot and see if it works. Then you could install dropbox rom the official site and test it.
Also, I suggest you to check the SMART status of your drive as it may have some physical problem.

In that case you could just disable it at srartup. In terminal:

caja-dropbox autostart n

Reference command:

man caja-dropbox

Thank you v3xxx and DLS, for your initial debugging hints, and and the
rest, as your suggestions are much appreciated.

I feel I can tackle it more logically now.


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