Ian's blog
Apr 4 2021

Stop chrome from pausing when switching desktops

Sometimes I switch desktop environments because, why not? Every time I switch between gnome and kde, I face the same issue. Chrome pauses.

When chrome displays the paused sign, it’s an issue with cookies. In this case, the cookies are encrypted, and chrome can’t decrypt them because it’s looking for the decryption key in the wrong keyring.

Too many keyrings

A keyring is a lot like a password manager. The only difference is that keyrings are meant for programs, and password managers are meant for humans. For security, chrome stores the key used to decrypt cookies in the keyring.

All major operating systems have some sort of keyring implementation. Windows has one, Mac has one. Linux has several. On Linux, chrome decides the keyring it will use based on the current desktop environment.

When switching desktop environments, chrome will switch keyrings without migrating the keys. This makes chrome forget the key needed to decrypt the cookies.

Stick with one

The solution is to hardcode the keyring chrome will use. You can do this with the –password-store flag, which has 3 options:

To set the flag, first install menu-libre.

sudo apt install menulibre

Then using menu-libre, edit chrome’s command.

/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --password-store=kwallet5 %U

Hopefully, that works, and you can switch desktops without breaking your browser.

Further reading

Benefits of keyrings