Really slow response from Ubuntu LiveCD

Robert Hodgins ehodgins at
Mon Aug 18 15:53:43 UTC 2008

On Mon, 2008-08-18 at 11:29 -0400, Bob Jonkman wrote:
> Hi all:  Yesterday I was trying to fix someone's really old PC by 
> removing Windows98 and installing Ubuntu (7.10).  The PC dates from 
> 1999, and holds a maximum of 128 MiBytes RAM. I tried installing more 
> RAM, but the  motherboard configuration switches max out at 128 MiBytes 
> and additional RAM just isn't recognized.

128 Mb is a pretty small amount of RAM.

> Unfortunately, both Ubuntu and Kubuntu were abysmally slow.  It took at 
> least 30 minutes to get through the booting and get to a file browser 
> so that I could copy the files (which took less than a minute).  
> Dragging a window couldn't be done in real time - it took over a minute 
> for the window to appear at the new location, and in the meantime the 
> mouse cursor was completely unresponsive.

You "might" have better luck with xubuntu.

> I also tried Knoppix 4.10 (a CD from 2005), and in comparison it was 
> wonderfully snappy and responsive.

Knoppix is always worth trying when other live CDs won't work.

> I left Win98 on the computer, since I didn't want to risk such poor 
> response with Ubuntu installed.

I recently installed the xfce version of Debian Etch on 128 Mb Compaq
Armada. The installation completed with no problems and the machine is
quite responsive.

> Is it possible that Ubuntu would work much better once installed on the 
> hard drive?  If so, what might be causing the poor performance on the 
> Live CD?  Are Live CDs known to be much MUCH slower than installed?  
> How come Knoppix was so much better?

It might. If all the user's data has been saved, if would be no effort
to try it. OTOH something like xubuntu might be a better bet. And yeah,
live CDs can be much slower than an installed OS: the CD drive spins
more slowly than a hard disk.

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