I've recently switched to Xubuntu and just noticed a process I've not come across before---tumblerd that was eating about 100MB. I can't find much information about this, except for this on SourceForge. Should I be concerned?

  • 1
    @unhammer tumblerd is behaving quite insanely! Based on your suggestion I close a download folder (although I'm not actually downloading anything) and the CPU is back to normal. I open it again, CPU goes up. I think I've never experienced this before. If you have any tips/suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Apr 16, 2012 at 7:54
  • @Chan-HoSuh This doesn't seem to be an issue any longer in the upcoming 12.04
    – Matty
    Apr 16, 2012 at 10:07
  • I hope so. I am actually running beta2...on the other hand, once I killed tumblerd, and upon opening thunar later (activating tumblerd again), everything seems ok. I'd never had tumblerd grab 98% CPU like that before though. Let's hope it was just a fluke, given its past history.... Apr 16, 2012 at 10:25
  • @Chan-HoSuh I actually forgot about it - I've been running it since the alpha and had surprisingly few problems. Should all be fine now.
    – Matty
    Apr 16, 2012 at 14:29
  • @Matty I appreciate the response. Good to hear it. Apr 17, 2012 at 22:39

6 Answers 6


It's another program called tumbler that is part of the XFCE standard installation (package tumbler).

From the package description:

Tumbler is a D-Bus service for applications to request thumbnails for various URI schemes and MIME types. It is an implementation of the thumbnail management D-Bus specification described on http://live.gnome.org/ThumbnailerSpec.

  • 13
    And the damn thing can lock your USB drive...
    – RobinJ
    Aug 8, 2012 at 20:19
  • 4
    How do I stop it? :-/
    – Bibhas
    Aug 20, 2012 at 20:48
  • 1
    I removed it. sudo apt-get remove tumbler. =) Now I need an alternate for generating thumbnails. =|
    – Bibhas
    Aug 24, 2012 at 5:19
  • 2
    a solution to disable thumbnails for videos or other files: askubuntu.com/a/266060/47206
    – user47206
    Oct 31, 2014 at 0:02
  • 4
    @Bibhas To stop tumblerd: killall -HUP tumblerd. I recently had a USB drive that I couldn't eject because of tumblerd, so I just ran that command and I was able to eject it. That seemed to me like a less extreme solution than removing it altogether.
    – bmaupin
    May 23, 2017 at 17:49

(followed Daenyth's suggestion and moved this from a comment to an answer)

tumblerd may be eating lots of CPU if you:

  1. are downloading some huge media file (e.g. movie) and

  2. have the download folder open in Thunar.

I'm guessing every time the file grows a tiny bit, tumblerd will check to see if it has changed, and try to remake the thumbnail. Closing the folder makes tumblerd stop.

There's a XFCE Bugzilla bug report on it, still open as of yet. See also the list of open tumblerd bugs.

(Apparantly it may even happen with completed downloads, though this may have been fixed in 12.04; I haven't confirmed it myself).

  • 6
    bug still exists on 13.04 using xfce - huge CPU if as unhammer says : am downloading huge file(videos) while download folder open in Thunar - band-aid solution is to just close Thunar Jun 14, 2013 at 1:14
  • 1
    Bug still exists on 20.04. See below askubuntu.com/a/399226/15847 how to limit the size of files for which a thumbnail is generated. This mitigates the problem.
    – Беров
    Sep 6, 2021 at 17:44

The bug is still present in Xubuntu 14.04 x64.

The workaround of editing /etc/xdg/tumbler/tumbler.rc and disabling video file thumbnailing works fine for me. Image file thumbnails are more important to me, and those work without problems.


You can edit tumbler behavior by editing /etc/xdg/tumbler/tumbler.rc (destination may be different - search in /etc).

There you can set folders where can tumbler work (i set only /home), and disable some plugins (i keep only jpeg & pdf)

I think this is good compromise.


The bug still exists in Xubuntu 12.04 x64 for me. I had a folder open with several big MPEG2 files (complete size around 30GB) in Thunar and after starting one movie file in SMPlayer my system became unusable.

top revealed tumblerd as ressource hog. I disabled thumbnails in Thunar and deinstalled the tumbler package. Things are fine now.

BTW: None of the MPEG2 files was changing size.


Running XFCE(Ubuntu 14.04)x64 on amd5400b.

Tumbler will alternate between cpu0 & cpu1 at over 90% (as shown by gkrellm).
Kill process tumblerd and system load returns to normal.

Thanks to @ciprianl & @alvinish Raj for suggestions on fix.


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