Is there a way to temporarily stop Zeitgeist / the Zeitgeist daemon?

I've tried killing the daemon but it just restarts. I've tried stopping it, but it still seems to add entries to the Activity Journal...

7 Answers 7


This can be done using the Zeitgeist Activity Log Manager :

  1. Add the Zeitgeist PPA:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:zeitgeist/ppa
  2. Install the latest version of Zeitgeist:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade
  3. Restart zeitgeist-daemon:

    zeitgeist-daemon --replace
  4. Install activity-log-manager

    sudo apt-get install activity-log-manager
  5. Open up Activity Log Manager and click the Logging active button in the bottom right corner of the window to disable logging:

    enter image description here

    Click it again to re-enable logging.

  • I would recommend removing the dbus startup file for that. I would say, this is not a good solution, thought it solves the issue temporarily. Feb 2, 2011 at 11:14
  • If you really want to hide something, this is not sufficient: Every time Zeitgeist can't write an entry because of the blacklist, it is logged in ~/.cache/zeitgeist/daemon.log
    – tobi
    May 11, 2011 at 16:34
  • Also, i'd like to remind that opening events are still logged in ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel - you can stop this by making that file a readonly folder.
    – tobi
    May 11, 2011 at 16:36
  • @tobi ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel is a file where GTK/GNOME applications log their files and not zeitgeist Oct 28, 2011 at 11:52

Remove the execute permissions of the zeitgeist* as follows. Just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command below.

sudo -s

# on 32-bit systems:
chmod -x /usr/lib/zeitgeist/zeitgeist-fts

# on 64-bit systems:
chmod -x /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/zeitgeist-fts

# on both:
chmod -x /usr/bin/zeitgeist-daemon 
chmod -x /usr/bin/zeitgeist-datahub

After doing so, the processes do not restart.


I've only been using Ubuntu exclusively on a couple of computers since Precise came out. I tasted Mandrake v.9 many years back, but have been Windows virtually all of the time. I grew up in the days of DOS and was around when Windows 286 emerged. (I've been tainted, but am not afraid of the command line.)

I tried uninstalling zeitgeist, tried stopping the logging with the manager listed above, but it kept re-loading itself anyway. Nothing worked.

I got rid of it (effectively) by just killing all the zeitgeist* processes and gave myself ownership of the files:

sudo chown [username] /usr/bin/zeitgeist*

Then I removed the Execute permission for each. I only had zeitgeist-daemon and zeitgeist-datahub.

A simple command such as

sudo chmod a-x /usr/bin/zeitgeist*

would probably have done it easier and quicker than the extra step of taking ownership, but I'm still working on my understanding of how 'Nix does its thing and wasn't sure if it could change itself if I wasn't the file's owner. Remember, I've been spooked by Windows.

So far... No harm, no foul.


I honestly forgot the correct way to do this, but try running

killall -9 zeitgeist-daemon in a terminal or in your run dialog.

Later to restart it, just run the daemon again. There is a correct way, and if I find it I'll post it.

  • Please, don't kill zeitgeist-daemon this way. It might look good, but can lead to weird problems. To restart the daemon use zeitgeist-daemon --replace and to stop the daemon install D-feet and look at SessionBus org.gnome.zeitgeist.Engine , look for Interface org.gnome.zeitgeist.Log and stop the engine by calling the Quit() method [I am one of the zeitgeist developer] Feb 2, 2011 at 11:12
  • No need to use D-Bus, you can also run "zeitgeist-daemon --quit" to stop the Zeitgeist daemon, or "killall -s HUP zeitgeist-daemon".But of course this won't stop the daemon from starting again, DoR's answer would be your best bet here. Feb 14, 2011 at 18:14
  • Yes Seigfried. I was just saying that killing the daemon by SIGKILL is a bad idea. If you are so interested in sending a kill signal, use SIGTERM (but I am not sure if SIGTERM is better than SIGKILL in this case) Feb 16, 2011 at 10:29
  • you can edit my answer if you so desire :)
    – RolandiXor
    Feb 16, 2011 at 15:17

If it's just about nauty things you don't want to show in your log, then there's a blacklist function. See http://saravananthirumuruganathan.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/tutorial-on-gnome-activity-journal-zeitgeist-and-sezen/

Edit: Outdated. See activity-log-managerInstall activity-log-manager


If you try to use an application that uses Zeitgeist, it will start Zeitgeist on Startup in case it is not already running. Example: Nautilus Elementary, Docky, Synapse or Activity Journal.

sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist-engine

is the only solution out there.


I'm having the same problem and, although there isn't clear why it happens, a workaround is to clear the zeitgeist-fts logs.

You could do that in the Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T):

zeitgeist-daemon --quit
rm -r ~/.local/share/zeitgeist/fts.index
zeitgeist-daemon --replace &

After that zeitgeist will back to work with a low memory usage.

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