Just wondering if there a way to temporarily disable PulseAudio as I am trying to run a specific Wine game (Left 4 Dead 2) and it makes the game crash occasionally.

If I kill the process it automatically comes back up. Any suggestions?


You can use pasuspender. Try prefixing your wine command with it.

pasuspender -- wine path/to/file.exe
  • How do I reenable PulseAudio after disabling it? I have no sound after running this, except in the program I run with pasuspender (chuck in my case), even after exiting said program (chuck). Audio does work as normal after I restart my computer. Is my experience what is expected? – jyoungdev May 11 '15 at 1:54
  • I answered my own question. From wiki.debian.org/…: "While you run pasuspender, other applications won't be able to use PulseAudio. When you quit the application, the default behaviour of PulseAudio will be restored automatically." So I have a special problem tangential to the original question. – jyoungdev May 11 '15 at 1:57
  • prefixing pasuspender to qjackctl (pasuspender qjackctl) solved ages of problems for me!!! thank you so much – Mina Michael Oct 6 '15 at 17:17

In /etc/pulse/client.conf, you can uncomment the line autospawn=yes and replace the yes with a "no". Of course this should be possible to set this in .pulse directory in your home directory.

A cleaner way to do this would be to create a client.conf in your .pulse dir in ~ and put the line "autospawn=no" in it. It would be good to turn back on autospawn after you have done what you need to do.

  • 1
    Or, edcould be used to change the config before running the game, and change it back afterwards. – nanofarad Jul 19 '12 at 15:33
  • second line put that you said, and first line just put: .include /etc/pulse/client.conf – Aquarius Power Oct 15 '16 at 2:23
  • 1
    Neither this or creating a .config/pulse/client.conf in my homedir with autospawn=no works for me. Pulseaudio continues to start on boot - Ubuntu 19.10 – timbo Nov 19 '19 at 20:15

In my case, I was unable to stop pulseaudio since it was being restarted automatically by systemctl.

The proper way to stop pulseaudio, in that case is:

systemctl --user stop pulseaudio.socket
systemctl --user stop pulseaudio.service

To start it again, you can use:

systemctl --user start pulseaudio.socket
systemctl --user start pulseaudio.service
  • 1
    It could be that it's not being managed by systemctl. In that case, to stop pulseaudio, you should just pulseaudio -k. – user156516 Dec 12 '18 at 0:19
  • 1
    My mistake, I was using service instead of systemctl. – Joseph Garvin Dec 12 '18 at 1:43

I use the script:

echo autospawn = no > $HOME/.config/pulse/client.conf
pulseaudio --kill
rm $HOME/.config/pulse/client.conf

Then play the game, then re-enable PA:

pulseaudio --start

Works on Xubuntu 13.10. Replace ".config/pulse" with ".pulse" in the script if it doesn't work (usually on old *buntues)

  • Very elegant approach. – Rafał Cieślak Aug 26 '14 at 11:44
  • 3
    Useless if you already have a client.conf and end up deleting it. – Ken Sharp Apr 7 '15 at 3:19

Alt+F2 type pactl exit

stops all pulseaudio processes. You can enter

Alt+F2 type pulseaudio

to start it again. Unfortunately, some programs doesn't seem to sound anymore, after that. Still looking for a way to reactivate pulse without reboot…

  • 7
    pactl exit does not stop pulseaudio completely on my machine, it is immediately restarted (just like with pulseaudio -k). – Philipp Wendler Aug 15 '14 at 13:10
  • pactl exit worked for me. With pulseaudio -k it restarted automatically even though I had autorespawn disabled. – cbix Jan 31 '17 at 19:48

Try this Ubuntu Tips. It works fine on my Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Ubuntu Tip: Turning PulseAudio On and Off


What I did.... stopped it from respawning because it couldn't find it....... right click the /etc folder in the file browser (open as root) create a new folder called pulseoff, then move the pulse folder into it (drag and drop). The system doesn't have the command to look there for it. If you want to start it again, cut it from the pulseoff folder, go up a step to the /etc folder and paste it there...... Some people like to make it out to be harder than it really is with editing files and stuff and mostly those edits don't work I tried them. Do it the easy way. I restarted the machine and checked the system monitor before posting this, pulseaudio is not running and sucking up memory.

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