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I can run multiple X instances via startx -- :1, and switching between the X sessions is easy, but switching back to my account, which has a lot of visual extras in it, takes a long time, in the 10-20 seconds range, and very inconsistent in how long it takes. (Switching to the 'stock' account is decent.) Is there any way to make this time shorter?

I am running Compiz (with a lot of extras) on a nVidia graphics card.

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Is the hard disk active while you switch back to your account? If so, it means your computer is swapping. The cure would be to add more RAM, or cut back on programs that use a lot of memory.

Otherwise it's an inefficiency in the video driver. There may be a compromise you can make between visual effects and speed — try turning off or toning down some of your compiz extras.

Depending on why you're running multiple instances of X, there may be another way that avoids the lengthy switch. For example, if you want to run GUI programs as another user, you can use ssh -X (slow but simple) or copy .Xauthority cookies (native speed but takes a little more work per session). If you want to try out another window manager, you can also do that with Xnest or VNC.

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I think the problem is that the nVidia driver doesn't like Compiz that much. I don't run multiple X instances too often, so it shouldn't be that big of a issue, though. I'll buy ATI next time. And I've never really figured out how to use SSH. I was trying to SSH two Linux computers but that didn't really work... –  xsznix Aug 14 '10 at 20:10

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