GNOME Shell High CPU | How To Fix Common Causes In 2023

Are you seeing extremely high CPU usage in GNOME Shell, which makes it run slowly and respond less quickly? It’s known for being easy to use and looking nice, but users sometimes need help with CPU usage that needs to be lowered.

Consider checking extensions, reducing animations, updating graphics drivers, optimizing desktop background, managing resource-hungry apps, reviewing settings, and exploring potential kernel or system upgrades to fix this.

This article will explore the common causes of high CPU usage in GNOME Shell and provide solutions to resolve these issues.

Why Does GNOME Shell High CPU? Common Causes:

1. Extensions: 

Source: omgubuntu

Extensions for GNOME Shell let users improve their computing experience. But extensions that could be better written or updated can make the CPU work a lot. This problem can be fixed by turning off or removing apps causing problems.

2. Resource-Intensive Activities: 

Running apps that use many resources, like video editors or virtual machines, can make GNOME Shell use more CPU. In this case, the apps running on top of GNOME Shell are to blame for the high CPU usage.

3. Background Processes: 

Indexing and making thumbnails are examples of background tasks that can use up CPU resources. For example, when you add or change files, the desktop environment might start to organize them so that they can be searched. You can change these choices so that they have less of an effect on how well the system works.

4. Driver Issues: 

Problems with graphics drivers, especially with GPU makers like NVIDIA, can make the CPU use less power. Make sure you have the latest and correct hardware drivers for your computer.

5. Outdated Software:

Using older versions of GNOME Shell could slow down your computer or make the CPU work too hard. Updating to the most recent version can fix known bugs and speed issues.

6. Extensions Conflicts: 

Conflicts between different GNOME Shell plugins can cause the CPU to use much power. Trying to turn off or on each line one at a time helps you figure out which one is the problem.

How To Fix GNOME Shell CPU High?

1. Check For GNOME Shell Extensions:

  • Extensions for GNOME Shell can sometimes make the CPU work very hard. 
  • Open the GNOME Extensions page ( to see if there are any changes.
  • If you think an extension is causing the trouble, turn it off or delete it.
  • To see the changes, either logout and back in or press the “r” key (Alt + F2 and then type “r”) to restart GNOME Shell.
  • To turn off an extension in the terminal:

gnome-extensions disable <extension-name>

2. Reduce GNOME Shell Animations:

Even though GNOME Shell animations look good, they can use many system resources. GNOME Tweaks lets you turn graphics off or slow them down:

  • To add GNOME Tweaks, use your package manager if you haven’t already.
  • Go to the “Appearance” area of GNOME Tweaks after opening it.
  • You can change or turn off effects as needed.

3. Check For Graphics Driver Updates:

Check For Graphics Driver Updates
Source: avast

Make sure you have the most up-to-date graphics drivers for your computer. Old or mismatched graphics drivers are a common reason the CPU is often used.

To check and install graphics drivers made by a specific company, like NVIDIA:

sudo pacman -S nvidia

If you use AMD graphics, you may need to install AMDGPU-PRO or the open-source AMDGPU driver.

4. Evaluate Desktop Background:

A complicated or high-resolution desktop background may use more CPU power at times. Change the background to something more straightforward to make the CPU work less hard.

5. Check Resource-Hungry Applications:

Applications running in the background that use many CPU resources can slow down GNOME Shell. Find processes that use many resources using system tracking tools like “htop” or the system monitor. Consider closing or removing these programs from your computer if they are extra.

To install “htop”:

sudo pacman -S htop

6. Review GNOME Shell Settings:

You can change the settings for GNOME Shell to make it use less CPU Click on the “Appearance” tab in the GNOME Tweaks tool. Lessen the settings for animation and effects or turn them off totally.

7. Switch From Wayland To Xorg:

Sometimes, running GNOME on Wayland can lead to higher CPU usage. To switch to Xorg, you can modify your display manager configuration. Typically, you’d change the /etc/gdm/custom.conf file and set WaylandEnable=false.

sudo nano /etc/gdm/custom.conf

Ensure you have Wayland disabled and the GNOME session is running on Xorg.

8. Evaluate Third-Party Tools:

If you have third-party monitoring tools, like “indicator-multiload,” running in the system tray, they could contribute to high CPU usage. Consider disabling or removing them.

To uninstall “indicator-multiload”:

sudo pacman -R indicator-multiload

9. Kernel Rollback: 

Kernel Rollback
Source: viralsmagazine

If you think the kernel change is wrong, you can return to the old version (5.19.0-45) and see if the problem still happens. You can choose the older kernel version from the GRUB menu during the boot process to do this. If the case goes away with the old kernel, the problem is likely caused by the new kernel.

10. Review Unattended Upgrades: 

Since the problem happened simultaneously as an automatic kernel update, you should look through the logs for unattended changes. You should see if there are any known problems with your kernel version. Updates to the kernel can sometimes bring bugs or issues that make the CPU work hard.


1. Is It Safe To Remove GNOME Shell?

No, It’s not safe to get rid of GNOME Shell. It’s an integral part of the GNOME desktop experience, and taking it away could make the system less stable. Instead, fix any problems you come across.

2. What Should I Do If GNOME Shell Remains Unresponsive?

If GNOME Shell won’t respond or uses too much CPU, you might want to restart it by pressing Alt + F2, typing “r”, and pressing Enter. Often, this fixes minor problems.

3. Is GNOME Shell Available On Other Linux Distributions Besides Ubuntu?

Yes, GNOME Shell can be found on many Linux distributions, such as Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and more. It’s the desktop environment that comes with a lot of Linux distributions.

4. Does GNOME Use A Lot Of Memory?

Yes, GNOME can use a lot of memory. Using 12GB or more of memory is usually a sign of a problem that needs to be fixed. Regular system maintenance and monitoring can keep memory use within reasonable limits.

5. Why Is My GNOME Shell Animation Slow And Choppy?

If your system doesn’t have enough resources or GPU acceleration, animations may run slowly. Ensure that your hardware meets your needs and that the drivers for your graphics card are up to date.


It can be annoying when GNOME Shell uses a lot of CPU power, but there are ways to fix this. In a recent case, the problem was found to be many GSources in glib primary contexts. The problem was fixed by installing the most recent versions of gnome-shell and mutter. If you’re having the same trouble, watch GSources, check your accessibility settings, and look for updates or patches. High CPU usage can slow down a system, but these steps will give you back a smooth and responsive GNOME Shell experience.