After some analysis I found that the slowness was not due to heavy system resource usage but because of Unity.
Unity is a shell interface for the GNOME desktop environment developed by Canonical Ltd and is the default desktop environment that comes with Ubuntu installation.
Starting with Ubuntu version 12.10, support for Unity 2D is dropped and your machine is trying to use Unity 3D, which makes your system act slightly restrained, or even refuse to run Unity.
I tried a few things like Accelerating 3D graphics support in the VMware Workstation display settings and using dconf-editor to update the window minimizing animation settings (instructions can be found here) but all of that didn’t really help.
Finally I decided not to use Unity as my Ubuntu desktop environment and instead use LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment).
LXDE is an extremely light desktop environment that focuses on high performance and low resource usage. Now not only my Ubuntu virtual machine is faster then before but I am actually liking the user interface as compared with Unity.
I would really recommend switching from Unity to some other desktop environment if its slowing down the window animations. There are a few available desktop environments, entire list can be found here.
Here are step by step instructions on installing LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment):
- If you have regular Ubuntu installed, you can also install it from the Software Center, just look for
- You can also install it from command-line:
sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop
- Restart your computer or virtual machine.
- When logging in just click on the existing desktop environment (upper right hand side corner of login screen) and system will give you a list of all installed desktop environments.
- Select Lubuntu and login.