Fixing Slow, Choppy and Laggy Maverick Meerkat (Ubuntu 10.10)

A lot of Ubuntu 10.10 users have been complaining about Maverick being too slow, typing becoming laggy and video performance being choppy.   Here are few things you can try to make it fast again. These have been collected from the user experience discussed in this post in Ubuntu forums.

Update your kernel to latest Mainline kernel

Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat uses version 2.6.35 of Linux Kernel. A lot of users have solved their problems by upgrading to version 2.6.36. You can do so by downloading the deb files and installing them from the Ubuntu Kernel Mainline PPA: http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/ Open the latest version that is available (rc8 is the latest in the time of writing this, however only 64bit is available, if you have 32-bit, use rc7) and download the following files:
linux-headers-VERSION_all.deb
linux-headers-VERSION-generic_VERSION_amd64.deb
linux-image-VERSION-generic_VERSION_amd64.deb

If you have 32bit, choose the ones that contain i386 instead of amd64 in the name.
Install them one by one in the same order as listed above and reboot.

Note that if that does not help and if you want to switch back to 2.6.35 kernel again, you can always remove 2.6.36 kernel from Synaptic Package Manager (Alt+F2>gksu synaptic). Also note that you will not get updates to 2.6.36 even if newer versions are out, so you should update manually later if you find newer versions of 2.6.36 kernels.

Clean install

If upgrading the kernel doesn’t help you, you may want to clean install in case you have upgraded from previous versions. That may not help most of you, but still might. If you have installed 64-bit version, you may even want to switch to 32bit version as many users have reported to have no problems with 32bit version. If you install 32-bit version and have 4GB or more RAM, you should install linux-generic-pae kernel from Synaptic Package Manager so that your system can make use of all of your RAM. Some users have also mentioned going to LinuxMint has solved their problems. Or if all elese fails, go back to Lucid (10.04) and wait for Natty Narwhal (11.04) to be released.

Hope this helps.

  • David

    Thanks for pointing out that there is a choice of staying with 10.04.
    One way to minimize the impact of a hosed upgrade is to use multiple partitions. Keep the good OS be that 9.04, Fedora 13, whatever and install the new OS on a different partition. If the new OS is a bust, just boot back to the good one.

  • Glenn

    I tried this and the “laggy” disappeared. Unfortunately, because I have a Dell laptop with the dreaded bcm431X family of wireless chipsets, my random kernel panics reappeared. ( here is the link to my ubuntu forum post: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1579979).
    Going back to the older kernel makes the wireless more usable.

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  • Anonymous

    I was about to give up on 10.10 until I found your post, now my laptop runs faster than ever!
    Thanks a lot.

  • Paul

    Updating to 2.6.36 and 2.6.37 did nothing for me; neither did reinstalling Nvidia drivers. Ironically, after running update manager, I got 2.6.35-23 and suddenly my video files play great again.

    • Paul

      Well, dangit. It didn’t last. I am back to the choppy video… but it works fine occasionally.

  • Bharath H S

    For people using graphics drivers, All graphics drivers come as kernel modules (eg nvidia.ko for nvidia cards). Since, kernel has been upgraded. the driver has to be rebuilt. In console login re-install the driver, this will do rebuilding. Then gdm issues will go away.

  • Muskegdude

    This advice is a complete waste of the users time and should not have even been written. We all already have the latest kernel 2.6.35 so what is the point of telling people to get it? Personally all my other previous versions of ubuntu gnome have ran rather smoothly and never “just” started to lag and become choppy like the current Meerkat 10.10 does, apparently for no reason whatsoever. My kubuntu lucid that i have on my other drive doesnt lag and slow down like this either.
    So is it the current kernel? I doubt it. Is it drivers ? I somehow doubt that too. I think its the last couple of updates that may be the culprit.

    • Hi,
      First off, I have written it 5 months ago. So, there may be better solutions by now (the link to Ubuntu forums).

      Second, I have not written that you should upgrade to 2.6.35. I have said that you should upgrade to 2.6.36

      You asked: “So is it the current kernel?”
      Yes, previous versions of Ubuntu did not use 2.6.35 and Maverick uses 2.6.35. If you did not have problems with older versions, the kernel might be the problem.

      Upgrade to 2.6.36 and see how it goes. Removing/switching back is easy.

  • Jimescu

    !!! This worked for me. i’ve installed  2.6.36 rc 8
    I’m running the 64 bit version of Maverick and i have at the moment only 2 GB RAM but it runs just like after a fresh install. It really feels the improvement. It launches Thunderbird, Skype and other apps very quickly.Even Software Center opens fast and before that it lagged quite a lot.

    I hope it will last. 

    Thanks a lot !