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Menubar extras may cause SystemUIServer problems System
I am not sure if this qualifies as a hint, but I want to share some experiences I had with the SystemUIserver. My system is a DA G4 with 768Nb of ram, 10.2.2 installed. It is always on.

I've noticed since running 10.2, the mac slows down for no reason after a while. Sometimes it occured after a few days, sometimes after two or three weeks. Running 'top' revealed that the SystemUIserver was taking up to 80% of the CPU. It varied from 40% to 70%, but it always showed on top as the big CPU hog. Killing the the SystemUIserver worked, but it starts again with high CPU load. Only logging out and in would cure it.

I started investigating what is was, and I narrowed it down to the menu-bar items that depend on an internet connection. For example, Massinova and Weatherman. If they don't receive data, or the data is not in the correct format (for what ever reason, the servers they rely on were down) they cause the SystemUIserver to max out on CPU load, and slow the system down. If you've got threadviewer installed (comes with Dev Tools), you can actually see which threads in the SystemUIserver cause mayhem.

The solution is to command click and drag the suspicious or offending menubar item from the menubar to delete it. Then you must kill the SystemUIserver process. Only removing of the menubar item is not sufficient; the SystemUIserver must be restarted after the menu bar item has been removed.

Together with the occasional lookupd restart (strange mail server errors, strange websites not reachable errors), this work-around now makes sure that my Mac keeps running with no slowdowns, not losing speed, and no strange network connection problems that sometimes occured with the lookupd bug. Apple, what about a fix?
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Menubar extras may cause SystemUIServer problems | 14 comments | Create New Account
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Having the same Problem
Authored by: tobyc on Dec 03, '02 12:30:03PM

I was having the same problem where SystemUIServer would crash and take down applications in the menubar. Eventually I took everything out of the menubar that wasn't Apple related but it was still occuring. The extras that I had running were Meteorologist, xBack and StuffitCM. I noticed that the crashes would always occur after the scrfeen saver had been on for a while, the saver that I was using was the SETI@Home SS. So I uninstalled the SETI screen saver and haven't had a problem since. I have enven reinstalled xBack and Meterologist and haven't had a crash since. I did try reinstalling SETI and it crashed the first time it came on so I uninstalled it.

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Having the same Problem
Authored by: Wevah on Dec 03, '02 01:37:54PM

Just a note: Meteorologist doesn't attach itself to the SystemUIServer; it runs as its own process, and uses an NSStatusItem...

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Apple may not want to fix it
Authored by: friedmaj on Dec 03, '02 03:22:50PM

I suspect this will not be a top priority for Apple, as they specifically don't want third-party developers putting things in the menubar.

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similar story with quickday icon for now up to date
Authored by: brising on Dec 03, '02 03:24:47PM

Now Up-to-date comes with a menubar item called Quickday. It displayed the same problems, but didn't require a quit of the SystemUIServer to get things to calm down.

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I'll check
Authored by: DeanDavis on Dec 04, '02 08:31:17AM

Off the top of my head there is nothing in my code that could cause SystemServerUI CPU usage to spike when receiving bad information. But, I'll be giving the code a hard look and testing this senario to see if I can duplicate it. Needless to say this is the first report I've seen mentioned of this behavior with my application mentioned.

Dean Davis
Author of

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System UI Server
Authored by: youcanrunnaked on Dec 04, '02 10:53:27AM

I've found that some apps cause the System UI Server to quit and relaunch multiple times on login. It makes the menu extras multiply and "dance" across the menu bar, and it sometimes causes icons to appear to the right of the clock. So far, I've avoided this by eliminating DiskSpy and MacReporter. I've read of problems with the Massinova extra, but I've had no problem with it. I also run Meteorologist and PTH Pasteboard without any problems.

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System UI Server
Authored by: DeanDavis on Dec 04, '02 01:39:06PM

This is the reason why Apple doesn't want thrid-party developers making menu extras. Poorly coded extras can cause the menu bar to reload endlessly. A typical user wouldn't know how to fix this problem. Meteorologist is not a menu extra, it's a Status Item. Status Items also live on the menubar. The differnce from a user interface perspective is that menu extras can be moved around the menu bar while a status item cannot. If Meteorologist crashes then the application quits and no harm done. But, if a program like mine ( crashes then it can really screw up the menu bar. Needless to say I have to be very very careful and test the heck out of the code.

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System UI Server: MacReporter?
Authored by: alajuela on Dec 05, '02 10:18:40AM

MacReporter actually lives in the dock, correct? Yet, it seems to have an impact on the menubar. Anyone know why?

Also, what about things like Quitling, ASM, menuversum, etc.?

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random SystemUIServer hangage
Authored by: sjk on Dec 06, '02 05:56:12PM

After leaving my iBook (10.1.5) running all night, I occasionally notice the menubar clock has stopped and the SystemUIServer process is CPU-hungry. Running \"fs_usage\" on the PID is silent. A SIGKILL is required to kill the process and it doesn\'t restart. There\'s a general degradation of system performance after that, and eventually even Finder stops responding. At that point, a logout/login is the only option.

Menuprefs is the only menu extra I use. It stopped showing up for awhile, but recently it\'s been consistently appearing again during login and I haven\'t had any SystemUIServer trouble since. Oh, Virtual Desktop adds a menu, too.

This has been rather mysterious because I\'ve never made any software changes that I\'d think would correlate with this behavior and my sysadmin background keeps me quite aware of such things.

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So how do you restart it?
Authored by: BLASTfemur on Dec 07, '02 07:49:55PM
Only removing of the menubar item is not sufficient; the SystemUIserver must be restarted after the menu bar item has been removed.
Maybe I'm missing the obvious, but how do you restart the SystemUIServer?

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So how do you restart it?
Authored by: Ruleryak on Apr 03, '03 07:45:54AM

It was only obvious if you're used to using the terminal. You'll need to launch your terminal app, then type "top" and hit enter. Look on that list (you may have to lengthen the window to see it, but most likely not) for "SytemUISe". To the left of that name is a 3 or 4 digit number, which is it's process ID. When you know that number, press q to stop top, then type "kill ###", where ### is the ID from SytemUIServer. Run top again to be sure it took effect. If it did you should see that the idle is taking up most of the processor again and systemUIServer is back to 0 or 1%.

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So how do you restart it?
Authored by: lpb2h on Feb 03, '04 04:44:24PM

Well, while my right half of menu bar was beech balling, I killed the SystemUIServer process hoping that it would toss all those items visually as well as in the system. But they remained visible.

The following page:
says that SystemUIServer is launched by loginwindow.

The SystemUIServer lives here:

To answer your question: I don't know the exact parameters for the application (apparently, no parameters are required), but in a pinch you can run the application straight from the terminal, i.e., just type:

I did just that, and it did cause a couple of my menu items (volume and time) to re-appear and function properly.

Apparently in Panther there are additional parameters:

Luc kfglq*


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Menubar extras may cause SystemUIServer problems
Authored by: honem on Apr 04, '03 05:44:50PM

Sometimes my menubar can go into a funk ie it has the spinning beachball thing and sometimes when i disconnect from the net the PPP menu can go into a forever loop disconnecting .

Startup process viewer from your utilities folder . Select it to update every 30 seconds so you can actually see what's going on . Select the process named "SystemUIServer" . Double click and select "Quit" or "Force Quit" .

Make sure you select "SystemUIServer" and not "Window Manager" . If you force quit the Window Manager you will be instantly treated to an involuntary restart ! . After quiting the SystemUIServer OS X will detect this and restart it automatically for you !

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Menubar extras may cause SystemUIServer problems--Folder keeps popping to the front
Authored by: lalynne on Nov 22, '03 10:53:39PM

I had a problem today (11/22/03) where the SystemUIServer folder would consistently pop up to the front of the screen every 30 sec or so... I tried everything, and luckily found this thread. I also noticed that my NUPD Contact and Calendar were no longer on the MenuBar and neither was the clock. I did what was described here to delete the SystemUIServer from Process Viewer, although it was a little different than described, I had to go to the menu bar and select quit (after selecting SystemUIServer and highlighting it), then another screen came up to Force Quit, Cancel or Quit. I tried Force Quit, then restarted -- same problem -- went back into it, tried Quit and (fingers crossed now) it worked! I am documenting this here, just in case anyone else ever has this problem.
Laura D.

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