How do I get more information why a specific extension is not working and showing me "Error loading extension" when trying to enable it?

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  • 1
    The new answer by @Cibes is a better alternative imo, you might want to consider accepting that instead.
    – pomsky
    Jan 9, 2019 at 17:34

2 Answers 2



sudo journalctl /usr/bin/gnome-shell

and look for errors associated with the extension while trying to enable it. Alternatively you can use grep to filter logs by extension name:

sudo journalctl /usr/bin/gnome-shell | grep 'system-monitor'

Also sometimes an extension works alright if you just manually add your GNOME shell version (which is not officially supported by the extension) to the extension's metadata.json file.
To do that (if you have installed the extension not as the root) go to ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/ and look for the directory associated with the extension. Open it and you should find a metadata.json file inside. Open the file, add your GNOME shell version under the "shell-version": section and save the file. Relogin and if you're lucky the extension may start working.

  • This can contain a ton of log output, most of which probably doesn't relate to the error.
    – Cerin
    Mar 18, 2019 at 16:37
  • @Cerin "and look for errors associated with the extension while trying to enable it." Timestamps would be useful.
    – pomsky
    Mar 18, 2019 at 16:53
  • instead of "look for errors" you can use grep, e.g.: sudo journalctl /usr/bin/gnome-shell | grep 'system-monitor' to look for errors from system-monitor extension Nov 7, 2019 at 13:42

You can see details of GNOME extensions, including errors, using GNOME's Looking Glass tool:

  1. press Alt+F2, type lg, then Return.
  2. go to the "Extensions" section
  3. search the relevant extension and click on "Show Errors" for it
  • 4
    +1 Thank you very much. Now why could not Tweak Tools show those same error messages when clicking on what currently is a useless error icon? That is a rhetorical question; no answer expected.
    – Frelling
    Jan 19, 2019 at 11:02
  • 1
    And how do you close it when it's stolen the focus and has no x icon? You google on a different computer, then press Escape. Nov 20, 2019 at 19:24
  • This doesn't work in Ubuntu running inside of Docker.
    – Cerin
    Apr 7, 2021 at 23:47
  • Wow! Watching the Looking Glass apearing from nowhere reminded me from my early days in TI, when there was a unkown world to explore and everything was a nice surprise! Thank you for that. Jun 14, 2023 at 13:35

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