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
    Aug 12, 2020 at 7:56
  • My computer has 32GB of RAM. but gnome-shell with only the default extensions installed uses only 326MB RAM. I think your Ubuntu 20.04 has a software problem which is causing your gnome-shell to use too much RAM.
    – karel
    Aug 12, 2020 at 8:04
  • 1
    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. Aug 12, 2020 at 8:46
  • 2
    @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
    Aug 12, 2020 at 9:06
  • 1
    @Heisenberg that is almost always the cause if it is software related ;-)
    – Rinzwind
    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 ubuntu-appindicators@ubuntu.com
  • 1
    gnome-extensions: command not found on Ubuntu 18.04
    – Nfettinger
    Sep 15, 2021 at 15:50
  • 2
    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
    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.


I had the same problem in Ubuntu and Debian with GNOME 3.28 and 3.30. If you want something light you have Xfce, but the new versions of KDE plasma are also quite agile and very customizable, and consume less RAM than GNOME.

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