Friends and relatives think I know a thing or two about computers. Lately they been on me about speeding up their PC. There are power users and ones who unknowingly use a lot of power. Multi-tasking has been a mark of computing superiority, how many applications open in use or waiting to be used. The illusions of some to say if the app is open and waiting, my waiting is short. Now wait a minute! I mean you could wait a minute to allow for due process. There are reasons for your PC to be a tad slow. Some operating systems are designed poorly or are on the edge of breaking to give you the illusion of good performance. The user mistakenly translates that to mean speed when depending on the resources and data being pushed really means "fast enough".
First thing I know about computers is if you are not using it shut it down. I have a Bluetooth app running in the background, I don't own any Bluetooth devices to sync with my computer. If you have eyecandy and other compositing effects and don't really need them, turn them off. There is a background services running monitor. If you understand what it is showing, you can turn off things you are not needing. Also apps that start up when you boot up, you need to check it. Then look at email retrieving, do you really need to check it every 10 minutes. Your web browser stores cookies and downloads crap all the time you surf. Lets face it you don't surf, you scuba.
The other thing I now is a little about hardware, some about Linux, less and less about MS Windows any rendition. I have heard that Windows will allocate a part of your precious memory for every open application, sometimes not letting it go when you close the app. This could get hairy if you multi-task or not close properly (remember due process?). Linux may do this too, I'm not picking on Windows.
My Linux experience says the desktop uses a good chunk of memory. My laptop only has 512mb, so I switched from Gnome desktop to XFCE. The result is when using the Inkscape drawing program, the cursor is firm, stable and visible. The response is quicker and the editing is faster also. The other thing I noticed is that videos wither CD or a file on my hard drive plays better when the desktop is not hogging the memory. I did notice that a new Windows install will progressively slow over time. In part because of its design and because of user habits. I have not had this with Linux. Linux performance stays pretty flat in the long run if I don't overload the memory. Why don't I buy more memory? You try to find and buy older laptop memory without winching and flinching.
I like Linux because I can change things around to accommodate the hardware I have. I like the whiz-bang of the cutting-edge but I rather have a working computer running smooth with few issues. Linux gets 5 stars, MS Windows 3.5 stars, any user 2 stars, two cents or two bits. You've heard mind, your Linuxville guide and not so madman after all, later.