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How to speed up the Cinnamon Desktop

The Cinnamon desktop environment bills itself to the Linux community as the traditional, slim alternative to popular choices like Gnome and KDE. According to the developers, it’s simple, lightweight and doesn’t rely as much on graphical effects like the other desktops out there. Still, even though the developers behind the Cinnamon desktop environment try their best to make sure that it runs good on all computers, it doesn’t always work out that way, and often, users get frustrated.

For this reason, we’ve decided to make a post outlining how you can take steps to speed up the Cinnamon desktop. Let’s get started!

Update Cinnamon

In my “Speed up Gnome” post, I talk about how it’s essential to upgrade your operating system, as often some fixes come down that can vastly improve the speed of your desktop. This statement couldn’t be more accurate with the Cinnamon desktop. In fact, in it’s latest release (version 4.0), the developers have talked about how the newest version has some serious performance improvements. So, if you’re noticing a considerable slow-down of Cinnamon, or maybe you want it to run better on your aging computer, it’s a great idea to install updates!

To update, open up a terminal window and use the package manager’s “update” command. Not sure how that works? Check out the wiki page for the operating system you use. It’ll have information all about how you can install system patches directly from the Linux command-line!

Switch to Linux Mint

Is your Linux OS not issuing the latest releases of Cinnamon fast enough? Consider installing the newest version of Linux Mint instead! Version 19 of the distribution has serious performance improvements to Cinnamon that are sure to speed it up and make it run better on all types of computers, new and old!

Sold on Mint? Head over to their official website to learn more about the operating system.

Use Software rendering mode

Many users are unaware of this, but there is a feature for the Cinnamon desktop known as “Software rendering mode.” It’s an alternative version of the desktop that, once logged into, uses dramatically fewer GPU resources. Without getting too technical, let’s just say that it does all of the hard work of displaying graphical effects with the software, rather than your graphics card. If you’ve got a weak GPU and are looking to speed up your Cinnamon desktop session, do yourself a favor and start using this mode.

To access “Software rendering mode,” follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Log out of your current desktop session and return to the login screen.

Step 2: Look for the “sessions” area of your desktop manager and click on it with the mouse. Keep in mind that depending on what desktop manager you are using with Cinnamon, the options may differ.

Step 3: Take a look in the “sessions” list and select the “Cinnamon (Software Rendering)” option.

Step 4: After selecting “software rendering” mode as your session, click on your user and log back in. Upon login, the Cinnamon desktop will notify you that it is currently in software rendering mode.

Disable effects

Cinnamon doesn’t use as many graphical effects as KDE or Gnome Shell, but it does use them, and it can impact performance if you’re not on a computer with particularly impressive hardware. To disable visual effects in Cinnamon, start by pressing the Windows key on the keyboard. From there, write “Effects” in the search box, and click on the icon with that label.

In the effects window, you’ll notice many settings (all of which can be shut off). Go through these settings and turn everything off. When all visual effects are shut off, you should instantly notice a change in performance.

Stop using Cinnamon Desklets and Extensions

Desklets and Extensions are two aspects to the Cinnamon desktop that let users customize and make their PC their own. The trouble is, these customization features eat up a lot of system resources (especially if you go overboard). So, if you’ve loaded up your Cinnamon setup with dozens of Desklets and Cinnamon extensions, it’s a good idea to remove them to increase performance.

Get rid of desklets

To delete Desklets, right-click on the desktop and select “Add desklets.” Then, under the “manage” tab, select the desklet(s) you’d like to remove, and click the “X” icon at the bottom to remove it from the Cinnamon desktop.

Get rid of extensions

To delete running Cinnamon extensions, press the Windows key and write “Extensions” in the search box. Then, launch the “Extension” app that appears in the search results.

Inside of the extension application, locate the “manage” tab. From there, highlight the extension(s) you want to remove with the mouse and select the “X” icon to delete it from Cinnamon.

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