How To Clean And Speed Up Ubuntu [Guide]

Ubuntu is already a pretty fast operating system. Due to the nature of Linux, it uses much less CPU power, GPU, memory or hard drive space. Still, for as well as it runs, it could be better. If you love your Ubuntu PC but are looking for ways to improve it, you’ve come to the right place! Today in this tutorial, we’ll go over all of the great ways you can clean and speed up Ubuntu to make it run faster.

Reduce Boot Delay

One way to speed up Ubuntu can be to reduce the time between the bootloader and the actual bootup sequence. The default setting is 5 seconds, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re in a hurry, it can feel like an eternity. If you’d like to shave a couple of seconds off this time, you’ll need to edit the Grub bootloader configuration file. To edit this file, open up a terminal and use the Nano text editor to modify the settings.

sudo nano /etc/default/grub

Scroll down and look for “GRUB_TIMEOUT” and change the time from 5 (or whatever it may be set to) to 1.

Changing this setting will tell Grub to wait only one second before booting the default operating system. If you feel like this number is too fast, you may want to set it to 3 instead.

Save the file by pressing Ctrl + O and exit the editor by pressing Ctrl + X.

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When the edits to the Ubuntu Grub bootloader are done, restart your PC. You’ll notice that it waits a lot less before loading up Ubuntu!

Removing Unneeded packages

Each time a package gets uninstalled from Ubuntu, packages get orphaned and build upon the system. The reason this happens is due to the Apt package manager. It lets the user remove a package one at a time, instead of forcing the removal of all related programs.

Letting Ubuntu build up with unneeded programs and dependencies on your PC can slow it down by reducing disk space. Not to mention, it’s just annoying seeing Apt continuously complain about packages that you need to uninstall. To remove these packages from Ubuntu, you’ll need to open up the terminal. Sadly, it’s not possible to quickly and efficiently clean up Apt without using the command line.

In the terminal, run:

sudo apt autoremove

The autoremove will go through all packages on the system that don’t need to be there and remove them. For best results, it’s a good idea to run this after uninstalling any program from Ubuntu. Alternatively, run it every month or so.

Eliminating Unneeded PPAs

Often, for whatever reason, you may need to add a third-party PPA to Ubuntu. Having the ability to quickly and easily install software from a third party source can be pretty cool. However, PPAs don’t last forever. They eventually get abandoned, and as a result, you’ll run into errors when running apt update in the terminal. These PPAs can seriously clutter your software repositories, and even slow-down refreshing software sources.

All that’s required to fix this issue is to remove problem PPAs.

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:someppa/ppa

The above command should quickly remove any PPA you’re having difficulty with and help clean up your Ubuntu PC. Do you till not understand how to remove PPAs and need more guidance? Consider checking out our in-depth guide all about how to remove Personal Package Archives from Ubuntu!

Manage Startup Apps

An easy way to slow down your Ubuntu PC is to allow a whole bunch of apps to run automatically at startup. Lots of programs on Linux are guilty of adding themselves to the “autostart” folder, and it can be seriously annoying. To speed things up, try deleting some entries.

There are many different ways to delete automatic startup entries on Ubuntu. Programs like Stacer and Gnome Tweak Tool make short work of this kind of thing. Still, Ubuntu has lots of different flavors and desktop environments, and not everyone can use these programs in this way. To get around this, we’ll work directly with the autostart folder via the terminal.

First, use the CD command to move the terminal from your home folder to the ~/.config/autostart/ directory.

cd ~/.config/autostart

Inside the autostart folder, use the LS command to list all of the files in the directory quickly. Take note of the Desktop shortcuts to different programs in this folder, as these are the startup entries.


Read the LS printout and determine what files you’d like to delete. Keep in mind that each Desktop shortcut file you remove will disable a startup entry from the system. To eliminate the entry, use RM.

rm someprogram.desktop

When you’ve purged Ubuntu of your unnecessary startup programs, it’ll start using significantly less CPU and RAM. Additionally, it shouldn’t take a lot to finish the login sequence after entering your username and password!

About Alex Miller 12813 Articles
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