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Automatically suspend inactive X11 applications.

XSuspender project website

Star the project if you use it.

When an application window loses focus, XSuspender tries to match it to one of the rules in its configuration. If a match is found, the application is sent a SIGSTOP signal (preventing the process from obtaining further CPU time). Upon windows regaining focus, the process is seamlessly continued where it had left off.


  • Reduce battery use (increase battery run-time).
    Make your laptop run on battery for as long as your mobile phone does, using roughly the same technique.
  • Reduce interaction latency on low-end CPUs.
    With fewer clients requesting processing power, there's more of it to go around where it's needed.
  • Reduce CPU fan noise.
    Save the tinnitus for old age.
  • Avoid apps plotting stuff behind your back.
    That Kali you're running in a VM is perfectly fine, but god only knows what Microsoft Windos is doing.
  • Suspend processes using well-known Unix signals SIGSTOP & SIGCONT ...
    ... or custom shell scripts. Decades of portable operating systems engineering at its finest.
  • Preconfigured for recent versions of popular software.
    Chromium, Firefox, JetBrains IDEs, qBittorrent, VirtualBox ...


  • Quirky. See Notes below.
  • May prevent suspended windows from redrawing until re-gaining focus.
  • May make your web downloads stall and your in-browser media playback stop if you configure it thus.
  • Prevents pasting from clipboard while the selection source process is suspended (explanation).
  • Relies on windows having their _NET_WM_PID hint set correctly.
  • Won't work in remote X sessions.
  • Won't work with Wayland.


Binary packages

Install binary package for your GNU/Linux distribution:

Debian, Ubuntu Arch Linux

From Source

# Install dependencies, namely GLib, Libwnck, procps
# on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint:
sudo apt install libglib2.0-dev \
                 libwnck-3-dev  \
                 procps         \
                 make cmake gcc pkg-config

# on Fedora / RHEL / openSUSE / Solus:
sudo dnf install glib2-devel   \
                 libwnck-devel \
                 procps-ng     \
                 make cmake gcc pkg-config
# Fetch a copy of the source code
git clone
cd xsuspender

# Move to build directory for an out-of-tree build
cd build

# Configure and make
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local ..
make test

# Install within chosen prefix
sudo make install


For brief usage instructions, run:

xsuspender --help

Configuration debugging

To have it print verbose debug messages about what it is doing, run the program with environmental variable G_MESSAGES_DEBUG=xsuspender set:

G_MESSAGES_DEBUG=xsuspender xsuspender

This is strongly recommended to confirm your customized configuration rules indeed work as you expect.

If xsuspender is auto run by your X session manager, you might find clues to its unexpected behavior in ~/.xsession-errors.


  • Processes that take a long time to shut down after their window already disappears may be stopped in the middle of their termination routines. Avoid with reasonably generous suspend_delay.
  • Windows that minimize to system tray need to be awaken frequently to respond to click events in a seamless manner.
  • Don't configure xsuspender for software you want to keep continuously alive in the background, such as music players, daemons, IM clients ... If you frequently stream music from YouTube, you might give Clementine, Minitube, YouTube Viewer or SMTube a try.

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