If you are not getting the expected performance out of your computer running Ubuntu Linux, one method of troubleshooting the problem is to test your hard drive performance. By default, Ubuntu has robust disk utility tools that can not only provide you with detailed information about the data transfer rate of your hard disk, they can help you diagnose and repair problems with the disk's file system.
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Using Ubuntu's Disk Utility
Select "Administration" from the "System" menu, then select "Disk Utility." Under the listed storage devices, select your computer's hard drive, then click on "Benchmark -- Measure Drive Performance." A new window will open, displaying a chart. Under the chart will be two buttons: "Start Read Only Benchmark" and "Start Read/Write Benchmark." Either button start a series of tests measuring the data transfer speeds of your hard disk. Be aware, though, that the "Read/Write Benchmark" erases your hard drive's data, while the "Read Only Benchmark" test preserves your data.
Using the Terminal
Select "Accessories" from the "Applications" menu and choose "Terminal." Type the following in the open terminal window: "sudo hdparm -t /dev/sda", then enter your password when prompted. The results of the test will be displayed.
Alternate Terminal Method
An alternate method using the terminal is to type the following in a terminal window:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/output.img bs=8k count=256k
From the Ubuntu Software Manager, you can find and install GSmartControl, which is another utility used for testing your computer's hard drive -- mostly for errors, but it also reports data related to data transfer speeds.
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