New Life for an Old Laptop – an Update part 2

After gettng Fedora running successfully as I covered a couple of days ago I decided to see if I could improve it a bit. I know from previous experience that memory usage is probably more important to performance than many people realise. One of the easiest ways to improve performance no matter what type of computer or OS you have is to make more memory available. When I upgraded the memory on this laptop it felt like a new machine.

The first  thing I did has no direct impact on performance but if done carelessly can have a negative affect. I customised the appearance of the desktop. While trying out different themes I discovered some activate “Enable GUI Effects” under the effect tag of Style. This can have a detrimental affect as I discovered so I made sure that was off. I also changed the Background to use colour instead of an image. Choosing the wrong (ie. a large) image can make a big difference so I played it safe.

With the desktop looking better, to me anyway, I looked a bit deeper. I found this page of Fedora 8 services. There is details on earlier versions on the site as well as lots of useful  general Fedora info. All operating systems include a wide range of services which are small programs that run automatically and handle such things as networks, interaction with hardware and all that “behind the scenes” stuff we take for granted. While they are essential often there are some included that aren’t required. Eg. no need to have Bluetooth running if your computer can’t handle it or you don’t use it. Following the guide here I turned off quite a few services I don’t need. I didn’t do a comparision of memory usage before and after but there was a small improvement in speed.

Sites like this are available  for all Linux distros and are worth the effort. At least you will learn a little about how your system works. If you follow the advice here there is little chance of doing anything terminal to your system. At worst some piece of hardware may stop working. Just restart the service and it should be OK again.

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2 thoughts on “New Life for an Old Laptop – an Update part 2

  1. Hi Jim

    I too have found that changing simple things on the desktop makes a difference – on Vista I had introduced a picture and sensed it was slowing things down so took it off and wow what a change. I also remove all shortcut icons that I do not really need – I am told this helps but actually do not see a change.

    I also keep promising myself that I will track down all these weird programs that run in the background but never seem to get round to it! Santa was kind to me so now I have a box with 2GB of RAM in lieu of the 256kB I had before so these things are not such an issue as they were.

    Strange thing _ I find that I have to be deliberate in a string of commands otherwise the damn thing seizes up – if I take it more slowly it is OK. Hasten slowly!

    Best wishes.

  2. Hi Adam

    all these fancy things use memory and each little bit adds up. I don’t worry so much on my desktop, it has 1 gig ram and Fedora works fine with all the fancy bits even desktop effects and multiple applications, even XP runs well on it. I don’t have Vista.

    My experience in Vista is on a friend’s new laptop with Core Duo and 2 gig ram and it is not much faster then my old T20. I think I’ll be sticking with Fedora as my main system.

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