Then do this as root: Code: for i in /usr/share/icons/*; do gtk-update-icon-cache $i; done And do the same as limited user for any directories in your home containing custom icons. Your menus should now fill up with icons immediately, instead of annoying you with those little delays that you never see on Windows 7. The explanation, as I understand it: GTK2 uses cache files to help it find and render icons. Ideally, your distro's package manager is supposed to keep these caches up to date. Unfortunately, this appears not to be the case with all distros; and I don't think any of them automatically update the caches for custom icons in user home directories... So GTK2 cannot always take advantage of the caches, which results in perceptible delays. Note that I'm not sure if GTK3 uses the same mechanism; this might not do anything for sluggishness and rendering delays in Gnome 3. Here's to hoping this proves useful to someone... (And that I can find it again if need be!) Edit: Sorry, I meant to post this under "All Things UNIX."