Picture this scenario: You’re playing a tough Souls-like game on your PC, stuck in a difficult area between save points, and a friend asks you to join their Warzone squad. Or perhaps you’re in the middle of a very lengthy Blender render that’s tapping your CPU, but you need to jump into a video call with a colleague.
If you were doing this stuff on a modern game console, you could simply suspend those activities, freeing up your CPU and GPU resources, and resume them later with the click of a button.
It’s an incredibly useful feature, especially for multitaskers. Fortunately, it does exist on both Windows and Linux PCs, thanks to a free open source application called Nyrna!
The scope of Nyrna is focused on one thing: it gives you the ability to suspend and resume both games and applications the same way you can on modern consoles like Playstation 5, Xbox Series S|X and Switch. And it reclaims all the CPU and GPU horsepower (but not RAM) that was being consumed by that software.
(Simply minimizing or alt-tabbing out of a game rarely stops it from using your system’s resources.)
Nyrna is available for both Linux and Windows. On Linux, the developer packages it up as an AppImage, a Snap, or a portable version. If you’re using Windows, you can install it via a classic .exe installer, portable version, or through winget on the command line (winget install nyrna).
And don’t let the “open source” label fool you; Nyrna is simple to use. Launch it, and it presents a simple window displaying all of your currently running apps (including their Process IDs). All you need to do us click the app name you want to suspend. The associated app window gets minimized, and the green button nexts to the title in Nyrna turns orange.
Then just click the app in Nyrna again to resume it. The app window gets restored, and the button turns green again.
Nyrna isn’t quite perfect, though, and I have to point out a couple weak points.
First of all, it won’t necessarily free up your system memory, so if you want to use this with a TON of apps at once, I’d recommend having at least 16GB of RAM to play with.
Second, it doesn’t seem to have any effect on processes that are executed inside a Terminal window (which may also affect WSL2 users on Windows). It’s also not guaranteed to work with every app under the sun — but I encourage you to file Issues on the developer’s GitHub so that the software can be improved.
Despite Nyrna’s limitations, it’s incredibly useful for a variety of use-cases. Hope you enjoy it!