If your system is slowly grinding to a halt, and multitasking is a nightmare, you may need to check your swap is in use. If you’re experiencing non-stop, furious hard drive activity resulting from even the most simplest tasks (like clicking another tab in your browser, or even something basic like minimising an app), with things you’ve initiated taking 2 minutes or more to appear, then open a terminal and enter top.
You’ll see “Swap” near the beginning, and if the total is 0k (that’s zero kilobytes), then that means your swap has been deactivated for some reason. To enable it again, start the Partition Editor (found in System > Administration; if it isn’t installed, enter sudo apt-get install gparted in a terminal to do so).
Locate linux-swap, right-click it, and choose Swapon. Your swap partition should now be in use, but if you have further hassles, it might pay to reformat (or even delete) the swap with GParted (ie: Partition Editor). To format it again, just right-click the swap and choose Format > linux-swap.
In case the swap appears on (even if not working), you will need to Swapoff to get the Format options. Similarly, if you decide to delete the swap and start again, you might need to turn it off first so the Delete option is available. The swap can then be recreated with the unallocated space it left when deleted, which you would then format as linux-swap.
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