Problem: Since an update two weeks ago, the Ubuntu 18.04.2 Settings application goes into zombie mode, appropriating most of the CPU power.

Symptoms: Among the symptoms are:

  • Settings "pops over" and stays over the currently running app, launching itself without being requested.
  • Settings pigs out on system resources. It will intermittently allow the focus to be passed to Rhythmbox, but only for a few seconds. Usually it is impossible to close Rhythmbox (generally the only other program running, as this is my wife's music server) and sometimes it's impossible to shut down the system any other way except a hold-the-power-button-down maneuver.
  • Settings usually shows the spinning-wheel "busy" cursor.
  • Settings resists being closed, and, if closed successfully, it will re-launch itself. Even during the periods when it seems closed, it is clear from the system's lack of responsiveness that the zombie is still running.
  • The Settings problem seems to be independent of Rhythmbox (i.e., it will pop up and persist whether or not Rhythmbox is running).
  • Sometimes, after a re-boot, Settings won't appear for a period of time (5-30 minutes). But the zombie always appears eventually.
  • With enough patience, Software Updater has been run, and all updates and patches are current.

FWIW: Hardware Info:

  • Core i3 processor
  • 6 Gb RAM
  • 500 Gb spinning-rust HDD, about half full; passed a Spinrite check two days ago.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


Since I received no replies, I gave up and installed Ubuntu Mate 18.04.2 in the / directory. Whatever the problem was, it's gone now!

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