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On Windows, I used to check every so often for disk fragmentation, delete large files, defragment, check through the registry for startup entries/process hogs, etc etc.

While generally people say that Linux doesn't need defragmentation due to the difference in storage, are there other/similar maintenance tasks that I should be doing periodically to keep my computer happy, healthy, lean, and fast?

I ask both because I want to stave off disk space issues and because I have experienced performance degrading over time, and want to mitigate such speed losses as easily and cleanly as I can.

I'm running Ubuntu.

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Update the software you're using. Also, upgrading ubuntu from older versions to the latest might be a good idea. But I don't usually do anything to mine. – Muhammad Usman May 26 '11 at 21:37
I actually feel like every upgrade slows stuff down incrementally, until, years later, I have the decreased responsiveness of my current setup. – Kzqai May 27 '11 at 4:02
up vote 5 down vote accepted

By large files I assume you mean logfiles that tend to grow. Linux mitigates this by rotating the logs using logrotate.

Software updates, like Muhammad pointed, are generally optional (updating for the sake of updating only isn't good, because you're updating something that just works). However, security updates are a must.

You can also run fslint, it will point you to misc problems with the filesystems.

Running a file integrity checker like aide is a good idea too. Maybe a rootkit scanner as well, if you feel yourself at danger.

Generally, you maintain a Linux system by reading the logs, maybe also having triggers for some events. Then you choose an appropriate action strategy.

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No, I mean things that take up a large portion of diskspace and thus push the disk towards a state where it might become fragmented, e.g. downloads and distro iso's, for example. – Kzqai May 26 '11 at 23:30
I'll check out fslint, and you're right about the syslogs, that's probably something that I should check into (and try to decipher) using the system log viewer, so that's a good general thing to check. – Kzqai May 26 '11 at 23:33
Also checking the output of dmesg is worthwhile. – Ruairi Fullam Jul 6 '11 at 19:33

Also, I regularly run sudo apt-get autoremove and sudo apt-get clean to keep the package manager cleaned up.

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I did not know about this. Thanks! – Muhammad Usman May 27 '11 at 6:41

For the right maintenance do the following on a weekly basis:

  1. Update your system (if possible daily).
  2. Apply the tips mentioned here:
  3. Install a specialized cleaning program called Bleachbit from here:

Those are the major aspects that you must be aware of. The rest of the notes are mentioned in the previous answers.

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  • If it is a server, let him reboot once a year to let fsck check the file system
  • Check your backups data integrity
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Reading the system logs (e.g. via System > Administration > Log File Viewer) has turned out to be especially important, since often performance problems that I'm experiencing have had a root cause obvious (though not necessarily obviously fixable) in the logs.

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