I installed 18.04 from 17.04 (passing briefly through 17.10, didn't test it and jumped to 18.04) and I am experiencing a high cpu usage on gnome-shell, it takes almost all available CPU time:

$ top

top - 06:23:01 up 40 min,  3 users,  load average: 3,30, 2,85, 2,09
Tareas: 249 total,   1 ejecutar,  195 hibernar,    0 detener,    0 zombie
%Cpu(s): 24,4 usuario,  3,8 sist,  0,0 adecuado, 71,4 inact,  0,2 en espera,  0,0 hardw int,  0,3 softw int,  0,0 robar tiempo
KiB Mem :  8059572 total,  3489680 libre,  2041520 usado,  2528372 búfer/caché
KiB Intercambio:  9868284 total,  9868284 libre,        0 usado.  5901376 dispon Mem 

PID USUARIO   PR  NI    VIRT    RES    SHR S  %CPU %MEM     HORA+ ORDEN                                                                                                                                  
23946 lealore   20   0 4043344 454724  98808 S  89,1  5,6   5:37.02 gnome-shell                                                                                                                            
24598 root     -51   0       0      0      0 S  30,0  0,0   1:43.28 kidle_inject/2                                                                                                                         
24596 root     -51   0       0      0      0 S  29,8  0,0   1:43.73 kidle_inject/0                                                                                                                         
24597 root     -51   0       0      0      0 S  29,8  0,0   1:43.56 kidle_inject/1                                                                                                                         
24599 root     -51   0       0      0      0 S  29,4  0,0   1:43.16 kidle_inject/3                                                                                                                         
23769 root      20   0  936456 168344  69492 S   3,0  2,1   0:12.22 Xorg                                                                                                                                   
24154 lealore   20   0  657992  25260  19100 S   1,4  0,3   0:04.05 indicator-multi                                                                                                                        
23900 lealore   20   0   51196   5724   3932 S   0,7  0,1   0:02.29 dbus-daemon                                                                                                                            
24659 lealore   20   0  741896  41592  30524 S   0,4  0,5   0:01.01 gnome-terminal-                                                                                                                        
  265 root      19  -1  167208  56740  55524 S   0,2  0,7   0:02.97 systemd-journal                                                                                                                        

I first used nvidia drivers, then I switched to intel graphics, and still the same behavior. It only stops when switching to Unity shell, but for some reason in Unity I have no sound (!). I saw several reports here and on Reddit, but none provided a solution, not even a clue of what it might be happening. I have no other gnome-shell extension than those that comes with a default 18.04 install, if any.

$ inxi -F
System:    Host: lealore Kernel: 4.15.0-20-generic x86_64 bits: 64 Desktop: Gnome 3.28.1
           Distro: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
Machine:   Device: desktop Mobo: MSI model: H61M-P20 (G3) (MS-7788) v: 1.0 serial: N/A
           BIOS: American Megatrends v: V1.3 date: 01/04/2012
CPU:       Quad core Intel Core i5-2310 (-MCP-) cache: 6144 KB
           clock speeds: max: 3200 MHz 1: 1596 MHz 2: 1596 MHz 3: 1596 MHz 4: 1596 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller
           Display Server: x11 (X.Org 1.19.6 ) drivers: vesa (unloaded: modesetting,fbdev)
           Resolution: [email protected]
           OpenGL: renderer: llvmpipe (LLVM 6.0, 256 bits) version: 3.3 Mesa 18.0.0-rc5
Audio:     Card Intel 6 Series/C200 Series Family High Definition Audio Controller driver: snd_hda_intel
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.15.0-20-generic
Network:   Card: Realtek RTL8101/2/6E PCI Express Fast/Gigabit Ethernet controller driver: r8169
           IF: eth0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: 8c:89:a5:a1:ea:02
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 1820.4GB (65.9% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD5000AAKX size: 500.1GB
           ID-2: /dev/sdb model: WDC_WD10EZEX size: 1000.2GB
           ID-3: /dev/sdc model: WDC_WD3200AAJS size: 320.1GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 23G used: 16G (70%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
           ID-2: /home size: 427G used: 217G (54%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda5
           ID-3: swap-1 size: 10.11GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda6
RAID:      No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 94.0C mobo: 27.8C
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 251 Uptime: 36 min Memory: 2268.7/7870.7MB Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.3.56 
  • 2
    If you are using GNOME extensions, try disabling them all and check.
    – pomsky
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 9:54
  • 1
    I am not using gnome extensions, not installed by me in any case, perhaps Ubuntu has some to emulate Unity?
    – Leandro
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 13:08
  • 1
    I'm seeing the same issue on my Elitebook 820 G3, gnome-shell regularly spikes the CPU -- currenly 201% in top.
    – retorquere
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 15:44
  • 1
    Same problem on Lenovo Thinkpad x240 .. 16.04 was much more responsive than 18.04. kill -9 seems to help by resetting it, but that's not a viable long-term solution.
    – Levon
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 10:27
  • 1
    Same on Dell XPS13 Commented May 25, 2018 at 21:13

9 Answers 9


My problem has been solved by disabling clock seconds. Maybe it has problem with anything with fast refresh rate.

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface clock-show-seconds false
  • 4
    +1 for "fast refresh rate". Because it happens with system-monitor plugin too: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-shell/+bug/1773959
    – lashgar
    Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 19:38
  • 5
    I think this correlates more with mouse movement for me... Still verifying. But to turn off the seconds: gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface clock-show-seconds false
    – fattire
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 18:26
  • 1
    Disable the time, it fixed it ! and appearantly most voters agree that it is caused by clock seconds
    – abc
    Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 3:02
  • 1
    Since >30 people agree that this solved their issue: Is there a bug report?
    – Joe Eifert
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 10:46
  • 1
    works on 20.04 thanks! Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 10:50

For what it's worth, I was seeing sluggish behavior after running an application like pyCharm then closing it. In my case, closing pyCharm then clicking the power button looking icon in GNOME 3 in the upper right-hand corner took about seven seconds for the dialog box to come up.

I ended up pressing Alt + F2 then once the command box showed typing r then pressing enter. This restarted GNOME and everything was snappy after that.

  • 4
    Thank you for posting this! It helped me on 20.04, now a single screen update takes ~200ms instead of 1500ms.
    – akwky
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 15:10
  • 3
    Thanks for the Alt+F2 -> r tip. Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 3:21
  • 2
    Awesome, me too, was using pycharm or any intellij idea was tossing my laptop cpu to become high. even after exiting the application. but this is a life saver. Wanted to explain a bit further on Frito's answer. The alt+F2 brings the execute/run command box in gnome. The r command is respawn or repeat command, which in this case relaunches the gnome-shell. You dont loose any of your open applications, which was something I was afraid of.
    – melchi
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 14:42
  • Can anyone explain why this happens? The applications are closed, they shouldn't affect my system anymore.
    – Joe Eifert
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 10:52
  • Oh wow. My system was also very sluggish after running IntelliJ Idea continuously for a couple days, and Alt+F2 -> r worked like a charm! It didn't close any apps just like @melchi said, which is pretty neat. It seems as though for some reason there's residual cpu usage after you run a heavy app like that
    – kyay10
    Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 22:15

There appears to be a relevant issue in GNOME with fixes pending. I'm seeing moderately high (30-40%) CPU usage even just moving the mouse around, and these optimizations will supposedly address that:

Unfortunately, as GNOME 3.30.2 is already released, these fixes likely won't make it until 3.32 is released around next March. Given the impact of this issue, I hope the maintainers will consider another hotfix release of the 3.30 series! (@Daniel van Vugt)

Additional references:

  • It still says 3.28 on 18.04 now and I often see a 30% usage... Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 15:01
  • Thanks to this answer, I managed to figure this out (kind of). I have a dual screen setup. One monitor is 60Hz and the main monitor is 75Hz refresh rates. When I move the mouse cursor from one monitor to the other, the gnome-shell spikes up CPU usage, (up to 80% on a ryzen 3700X). I will update when I find a fix. I tried setting 60Hz on both monitors, but we'll see. Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 9:49
  • 1
    Yes, setting the refresh rate of the main monitor to 60hz (was 75Hz+ before) solves the issue partially. On idle mouse cursor, gnome-shell is at 0.3% CPU usage and when moving the cursor around, as much as I tried, it maxed out at 16-17%. This is a HUGE improvement from the previous 80% CPU Usage. Thank you @Jimmy He Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 9:56
  • 2
    I'm on gnome 3.36 and still had it so not, they haven't solved this :)
    – javagirl
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 16:49

While animations are nice and eye-catchy, after awhile they might be annoying. To disable animations first install Gnome Tweaks:

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

Then launch tool either from command line by running


or by using dash and searching for Tweak.

gnome-tweaks was previously known as gnome-tweak-tool. Try that if you are using an older version than 18.04.

On the first tab Appearance there is a toggle switch Animations.


That's it!

Source: How to disable animations in Ubuntu 17.10 or 18.04?

  • 13
    Did not change gnome-shell cpu usage on my system.
    – lashgar
    Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 19:40
  • 1
    With gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface clock-show-seconds false, I got a message: ``` GLib-GIO-Message: 17:22:50.456: Using the 'memory' GSettings backend. Your settings will not be saved or shared with other applications. ``` But with gnome-tweaks, under Top Bar, I turned off showing seconds. This helped reduce the high CPU usage of gnome-shell on my 18.04 system. Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 0:31
  • @NicolasRouquette your comment is helpful, thanks! Commented Dec 5, 2019 at 15:43
  • I tried this but it did not change anything. Ubuntu 18.04 gnome-shell still hangs from time to time. My solution is to sudo killall -9 gnome-shell. However, this is not ideal. I would like to find a solution to it.
    – desmond13
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 11:54
  • 2
    20.04 here, turning off clock seconds had no long-lasting effect, if any at all.
    – Hannu
    Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 8:10

What helped me was running ubuntu-drivers autoinstall - seems it may have been the problem with nvidia drivers in my case.

  • 9
    This happens in a VM too. No nvidia there. Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 13:21
  • If you have a video port on the motherboard plug try plugging into that temporarily (and rebooting) so you can complete this command; then switch back to the nvidia card when complete.
    – John Mee
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 23:12
  • thanks, your answer did it for me! amd ryzen and rtx2080 with the mouse lag.
    – Magus
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 23:04
  • The question said changing drivers did not help.
    – abc
    Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 3:51

Just chiming in to tell my case, Dell XPS 13, Ubuntu 18.04 - it's the wireless mouse!

  • Wireless Bluetooth mouse via USB C adapter: high CPU usage when mouse pointer is moving around (20-30% on all 8 threads!), sometimes gets stuck on it even when mouse activity ceases.
  • Touchpad: no issues!

Apparently I had another application for monitoring my system called System Load Indicator which had a few graphs on my status bar.

Disabling it stopped the spike in CPU usage.

  • 1
    I had a similar problem. Stopped indicator-multiload sent the CPU utilization down from ~30% to normal.
    – khatchad
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 21:26
  • Stopping indicator-multiload worked for my ancient Thinkpad i7 T520 :-) It's Ubuntu 20.
    – Juan Lanus
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 22:02

Running Ubuntu 18.04.1 in VirtualBox 6.0.2 on a Windows 10 Pro 1809 host, gnome-shell CPU usage was vastly improved (especially at rest) by selecting the "VMSVGA" controller in settings. GNOME Shell 3.28.3

  • VMSGA is the default selection for me, and the issue persists despite it.
    – Asclepius
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 0:50

Just my personal experience, not sure if related: After install ibus-pinyin (IM), the problem is gone

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .