Why does every awaiting system update cause the desktop freeze unexpectedly

Practically every “awaiting” system update causes the desktop freeze unexpectedly: only mouse pointer is movable, the sound/music (if any) keeps playing, but nothing is clickable and nothing is invocable through the keyboard.

What I mean with “awaiting” and how it emerges in a time span:
In some day the system notifier shows a popup at taskbar like “there are available 9 updates”. My natural reaction is to ignore it to let more packages accumulated for a substantial update.
A few days (or a week) later the notifier shows something like “there are available ~200 updates”, later it shows like “there are available ~400 updates”. Then, in next few days I encounter an unexpected desktop freezing, and it does not usually tied to a specific event like “right after reboot” or “on resume from suspend”, - it just happens in a meanwhile.

So I have to only reboot, which is pretty bad cause of unable to save edited docs, coding results, finish critical download/upload data or finish messaging (sending correspondence) with someone.
Why does that happen and can that be avoided?

Tech details:

$ inxi -b
  Host: roman-pc Kernel: 6.5.5-1-MANJARO arch: x86_64 bits: 64
    Desktop: KDE Plasma v: 5.27.8 Distro: Manjaro Linux
  Type: Laptop System: Dell product: G3 3779 v: N/A
    serial: <superuser required>
  Mobo: Dell model: 04R93M v: A00 serial: <superuser required> UEFI: Dell
    v: 1.2.1 date: 07/18/2018
  ID-1: BAT0 charge: 10.6 Wh (100.0%) condition: 10.6/56.0 Wh (19.0%)
  Info: 6-core Intel Core i7-8750H [MT MCP] speed (MHz): avg: 800
    min/max: 800/4100
  Device-1: Intel CoffeeLake-H GT2 [UHD Graphics 630] driver: i915 v: kernel
  Device-2: NVIDIA GP106M [GeForce GTX 1060 Mobile] driver: nvidia
    v: 535.113.01
  Device-3: Realtek Integrated Webcam driver: uvcvideo type: USB
  Display: x11 server: X.Org v: 21.1.8 with: Xwayland v: 23.2.1 driver: X:
    loaded: modesetting,nvidia dri: iris gpu: i915,nvidia,nvidia-nvswitch
    resolution: 1: 1920x1080~60Hz 2: N/A
  API: OpenGL v: 4.6.0 compat-v: 4.6 vendor: intel mesa v: 23.1.8-manjaro1.1
    renderer: Mesa Intel UHD Graphics 630 (CFL GT2)
  Device-1: Intel Cannon Lake PCH CNVi WiFi driver: iwlwifi
  Device-2: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet
    driver: r8169
  Local Storage: total: 2.05 TiB used: 449.21 GiB (21.4%)
  Processes: 341 Uptime: 4h 54m Memory: total: 16 GiB available: 15.48 GiB
  used: 6.63 GiB (42.8%) Shell: Bash inxi: 3.3.30

Manjaro is a rolling release it’s suggested to keep it updated.Letting updates build up to 400 seems like quite along time to wait.Suggestion would be to update more often.


You might benefit from adopting a habit of not ignoring updates because they happen to be inconvenient. Some updates may be critical; newer updates may even depend on having already installed updates you ignored.

Being proactive can also help avoid these annoyances. Use the command-line to regularly update at a time that suits you; preferably after closing any open applications, media files, or documents you may have open.

It may also best to perform a full system upgrade via a TTY shell while at the Login Screen; before logging in to the GUI.

This command will request/perform a full system upgrade:

sudo pacman -Syyu

I hope this is useful. Cheers.

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not sure if related;
but in the middle of a game it froze, alt tab to desktop showed a Pamac update notification.
couldn’t do anything besides ctrl alt del and logout/or restart…

Impossibe to know without more context, and logs from when the event occurred.

nvm, it seems to have been a coincidence since it crashed again in the same place on the map.
so probably game related.

Is it correct to assume you correlate the notification with an actual update?

Did you enable Automatically download updates in the Add/Remove Software App (Pamac)?

If that is the case - disable this.

Also disable Upgrade the system at shutdown if enabled.

I rather correlate the issue with accumulated update packages and the notification is just an indication.

No, and I never had it enabled.

It’s not enabled.

As you didn’t enable any automated actions within Pamac the notification is only a counter - it has no other bearing.

There is a slight possibility that the tray icon has a bug as the package in unstable was recently rebuilt.


My personal opinion is to avoid those update notifications - in my case they are not needed as I have my own maintenance routines.

sudo pacman -Rns pamac-tray-icon-plasma

I also disable the pamac update check completely.

It is likely one of the pamac binaries which causes the problem - if you can remove the problem by doing above two actions - please see if an issue has been created otherwise create an issue at

While it’s understood about “updating more often” the question remains: why it often does behave that way: freezing the desktop?

While it’s understood about “habit of updating” the question remains: why it often does behave that way: freezing the desktop?

Interestingly, I have experienced similar annoyances; which were likely only coincidental. I don’t see how it might be connected to the Pamac notification, though. My guess is the accumulated debt of not having updated in a timely fashion must surely have contributed, however.

If you don’t sync your system and do not add new packages and thus - technically speaking - your system is not changed then your system should not freeze.

I will suggest to

  • disable pamac update check
  • remove the tray icon

Then validate if this stabilize your system.

To check for updates without pamac running in the background you can use


For custom scripts pulled from AUR search the forum for check-aur.sh

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… and (only if potentially relevent); to isolate Pamac from AUR updates:

pamac update --no-aur

Exactly, that’s quite reasonable.

After that, can you suggest an alternative notificators instead of manual check?

By the way, regarding the correlation between awaiting accumulated update packages and freezing: sometimes Firefox gets freezing unrecoverably when it’s in the update list of accumulated awaiting packages, thus, it signals about necessity of update and formally acts as “anticipation/prevention” factor/indicator of the potential whole system freeze.

I use matray from the extra repository for that:

$ pamac search matray
matray  1.1.4-1 [Installed]                                                                                                                                                                                                                             extra
A Manjaro Linux announcements notification app

So it can be installed using:

pamac install matray

An addon/ extension/ plugin/ plasmoid/ widget (use your favourite terminology) was often the cause of graphics (related) crashes I’ve experienced in the past; seemingly triggered by network activity.

Systematically removing these and waiting, or checking applicable logs (which I’m guilty of not doing) can often help diagnose.

I’m not a programmer; I’m unable to explain explain the “why” in succinct fashion; only offer my observations, but perhaps it may be related.

This is installed by default, at least, it was on my system. It displays only Manjaro system related updates, which in itself can be a handy feature.
For example the last notification via Matray linked to: [Stable Update] 2023-10-04 - Kernels, Systemd, LibreOffice, NVIDIA, Mesa, GNOME, AMDVLK.

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I am fairly certain that whatever the number of changes as such - between your system and the most recent metadata has nothing to do with the freezes.

But as your observations are indicating some correlation - then there is so much more reason to disable pamac update check - to verify if this is indeed Pamac causing the system to hang.

It is fairly easy to create a systemd user service which runs checkupdates and display the number of lines

checkupdates | SYNC=$(wc -l) | if [[ -n "${SYNC}" ]]; then notify-send -u normal  "${SYNC} package(s) to sync"; fi

You can create something similar to [root tip] [HowTo] Check if your AUR build scripts have been updated

I think it depends on if the ISO used was released before or after matray. I know I didn’t have it by default and had to install it separately.

I recall there was a brief period where its continued existence was in question; the specifics evade me, but from memory, the maintainer was considering discontinuing.