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Since morning today, my laptop has been freezing up frequently. Only option available at that time is to kill x-server(as ctrl-alt-backspace is the only thing which works that time). I checked "Task manager" and it shows "gnome-shell" process consuming upto 70% of CPU. What is going wrong and what can be done to fix it?

Update Issue happened again and i captured few snapshots, which shows the consistent CPU percentage consumed by 'gnome-shell' process. You can also check the "graph" on top-center, which is continuously touching the roof!

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I've moved to Cinnamon Desktop. This problem was hampering my work productivity alot so finally made the switch and i'm pretty comfortable with it now.

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After keeping the system idle for few minutes, the overall CPU consumption has gone down to normal level i.e. 13-30% – subeh.sharma Jan 27 '12 at 9:21
How about posting (and looking in) the output of ps -el? – TheIndependentAquarius Jan 27 '12 at 9:24
Thanks, the issue has occurred 3-4 times now. Currently it has stopped after keeping system idle for couple of minutes so the output of "ps -el" doesn't show anything alarming. May be next time when it happens(and it happens quite frequently), i'll capture that. But from what I've seen, only gnome-shell process takes up bulk of CPU whereas others were only taking single-digit CPU %. – subeh.sharma Jan 27 '12 at 9:26
Is there a command which could show CPU consumption history? – subeh.sharma Jan 27 '12 at 9:27
'Top' doesn't show any history which was what I asked. It only shows you the real-time data of processes and their statistics, which i am already seeing in "Task manager". – subeh.sharma Jan 27 '12 at 9:49

I suffered the same problem (just using Gentoo/Linux as OS). Actually the gnome-shell-theme I used ("Transparent Atolm") seemed to create the problem. After rolling back to the default theme everything worked fine again.

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