I recently reinstalled ubuntu (about a month ago) and gnome-shell usually uses about 150-300 MB ram but suddenly from the last 2 days, gnome-shell is taking a lot of ram(Even jumps up to 2GB). I only have 4GB ram, so this is a big issue for me.


I can fix this by restarting gnome-shell but even after 10 minutes of use, I have to restart it again. Is there any way to fix/avoid this?

Note: I'm on ubuntu 20.04

  • 2
    Do you have extension active? If so turn them off and switch them on one by one and see if any of them are the cause. If so report it :-) Also worth a shot: switch to another graphics card driver and see if that fixes it.
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 7:56
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    You can file a bug report on Gnome or Ubuntu bugzilla and see this guide guide.But if you're curious to debug that yourself for now,you can run the command pmap `pgrep gnome-shell` | grep -v -i deleted > /tmp/gnome-pmap1.dump when you first starts the gnome-shell, then run that again after some time when the problem arises this time to the file gnome-pmap2.dump. Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 8:46
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    Then run diff -y --suppress-common-lines those-two-files.Then see what makes the difference.That might help you to file a decent bug report that helps the developers to figure out the problem more easily.But that's not needed when you use the ubuntu-bug program as mentioned in the above guide,because it collects relevant information automatically.Hope it helps :) Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 8:46
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    @Rinzwind I tried turning off all the extensions, the problem was didn't existed since, maybe it's an extension fault, I'll get back to you.
    – Heisenberg
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 9:06
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    @Heisenberg that is almost always the cause if it is software related ;-)
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 9:44

3 Answers 3


To disable an extension, first get a list with

gnome-extensions list

To list only enabled extensions, use

gnome-extensions list --enabled

To disable an enabled extension, use e.g.

gnome-extensions disable [email protected]
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    gnome-extensions: command not found on Ubuntu 18.04
    – Nfettinger
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 15:50
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    worked for me 20.04, but is there a way to find out how much memory those are taking. it seems a bizarre way to implement software if one cannot get that information but have to do a trial and error enabling/disabling and still not have a name for the corrupting process per ps command.
    – pierrely
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 21:15

General methods to investigate issues with gnome shell:

  1. Disable all extensions and check if that solves it.
  2. If so enable 1 extension at a time and find the culprit.
  3. If you find a culprit visit the extensions page and file a bug report if there is not one filed yet.

If 1. is not the answer switch the video card driver to another and check if that fixes it.

  • Please elaborate a bit on how to switch the video card driver.
    – rwst
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 10:58
  • see "additional drivers" option in the menu.
    – Rinzwind
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 17:12

This is an old thread but for what it's worth, I think I've solved a similar problem by installing Gnome Tweaks, then unchecking the visual effects. CPU and memory usage has reduced, and does not appear to be progressively accumulating, as happened before. Ubuntu 18.04.

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