Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage Desktop
My 12" Powerbook with 10.3.6 recently started running its fan on high constantly, and draining the battery within 45 minutes, and shutting down with no notice. Activity Monitor showed the Finder eating upwards of 90% of the CPU activity. Force quitting the Finder temporarily solved the problem, but it would quickly come back when the Finder was relaunched.

I ran every utility I could think of and tried every tip from MacOSXHints that seemed relevant: re-installed 10.3.6 from the combo updater; reset the NVRAM in open firmware; deinstalled every extras I had running -- all to no avail. What finally made it stop was creating (and logging in as) a new user. Armed with this information, I moved my main user's entire Library -> Preferences folder to the Desktop (so it rebuilt all new preferences), and low and behold, this fixed it too.

Then I added select preferences back in groups. At one point, the problem reappeared and I narrowed it down to one of the group of com.apple.finder.plist, com.apple.loginwindow.plist, and com.apple.systemuiserver.plist.

I couldn't narrow it down any further, but the problem has now been gone for a week, and hasn't come back. Hopefully this will help someone in the same boat...
    •    
  • Currently 3.83 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (6 votes cast)
 
[44,351 views]  

A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage | 32 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: diamondsw on Dec 13, '04 10:38:00AM
I'm sorry, but I don't see this as a hint. There was a CPU spike that might have been fixed by deleting one of three different plist files? We could sit here all day with stories of fixing things with the so-called "shotgun approach".

I'll place bets - 95% on the Finder plist, 4% on the SystemUIServer plist (menu extras), and 1% on the LoginWindow plist.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: davehodg on Dec 13, '04 05:39:50PM

In my case, I consulted the cargo cult, and it was the finder plist that fixed it.

Interesting comment below about Nikon stuff. I've got about 4G of Nikon digital pictures on my disk...



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: chrisash on Dec 13, '04 10:49:20AM

I had this same problem about a week ago, where Finder was using all available cycles.

Console was the key here (even though I really don't understand what it's messages mean) because it had a line listing a jpeg on my desktop. It was just a standard jpeg I'd saved from the web.

Maybe the Finder was trying to build an icon or a preview, I'll never know. Once I trashed the offending jpeg and restarted, my CPU usage went back to normal.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: LeeG on Dec 13, '04 11:51:20AM

This 'jpeg on the desktop' is a common problem, and has been discussed a bit at MacNN forums, it is highly reproducible for me on my rev b 12" - If I export a jpeg from iphoto - the finder SPIKES up to 100%, the fix (for me) is to put the jpeg in the trash, logout, log back in, and then empty the trash.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: lebowski on Dec 13, '04 12:00:19PM

I have a few folders that each contain several hundred .jpeg files, and icon preview enabled for each of them. I find that if i open one of those folders briefly and then close it again the Finder's CPU usage spikes dramatically - essentially using every available cycle.

While it makes sense that when i open one of the folders the Finder would be busy loading all of the icon previews, this should really stop once the folder is closed imho. The strangest thing about it though, is that sometimes i have let the Finder do whatever it is doing for about 10 or 15 minutes and then gone back to the folder in question. I had expected to find many/most of the icon previews to be loaded by then, but they weren't.

So it seems to me that the Finder gets busy not doing something that it thinks it is doing...

I don't expect 10.3.7 to fix this either, since it has been around for a while. Maybe 10.4 will.

---
------------------

You can't fight in here, this is a War Room!!



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: smkaiser on Dec 13, '04 11:32:47AM

I had a similar issue not too long ago, and the problem was WeatherPop (not Advance). Because I'm behind a proxy at work, it was trying and trying to connect to the various weather sites, but couldn't because it's not proxy-friendly. I disabled WeatherPop, and CPU usage came back down to where it should be.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: r0n on Dec 13, '04 11:47:22AM
I´ve had the same CPU eating Finder mystery long time ago.

It turned out, in my case, Calculate all sizes was activated for Finder windows viewed 'as list' (Finder -> View / Show view options) resulting in never ending Finder calculations.

This may be just concerning slower macs like mine (G4/400!), but it´s reproducible: Once I check 'Calculate all sizes', and toggle some window into list view, Finder starts doing the CPU eating thing.

I think calculating folder content has been the #1 performance killer trap back in the days when running System 7.x. However the classic Finder was slowed down just as long as any windows were opened in list view. OS X Finder keeps the CPU busy even when I close all windows and uncheck the 'Calculate all sizes' option again - gotta kill and relaunch the Finder to stop its CPU hunger. Maybe it keeps calculation sizes in advance...


[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: Zaphod_B on Dec 13, '04 04:57:36PM
As someone else pointed out, this is not a fix but a shotgun. It only temporarily disables the problem.

On my side the Finder (very reproducable!) eats all CPU when browsing folders with images, specially Nikon photo's.

I started a website to make Apple move on this issue. It is already in there since 10.3.3. If you encounter the same problem as described on my site, please sign the petition:

http://finderbug.pingwings.nl

[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: ritchiem on Dec 13, '04 07:50:23PM
As suggested by rOn the Finder still has some bugs in it.

I have documented a bug for Apple where by an image with corrupt metadata causes the finder to enter an infinite loop and consume 100% of the CPU. If Show Item Info is enabled for the Desktop and the Finder is unable to read the file to discover its dimenions then it will consume 100% of the CPU.

I have noticed this bug since 10.3.4 when I had a corrupt image from my camera that I left on the desktop for me to investigate what was wrong with it.

My suggestion is either turn of the Show Item Info or not put any images on the desktop.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: shoelzer on Dec 21, '04 07:36:58PM

Images with bad metadata turned out to be the problem for me as well. I fixed it by opening them all and doing a "Save As..." to create brand new (non-corrupt) images. Now Finder CPU usage is back to normal.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: carteblanche on Oct 30, '07 04:35:13AM

Bingo! That's cured it on my MacBook Pro. Turning Show Item Info off reduces CPU usage from about 100% down to less than 0.5%. Switch it back on and - bang - straight up to 100% again.

Thanks so much for spotting this!

Stuart



[ Reply to This | # ]
Note to Apple:
Authored by: jiclark on Dec 14, '04 01:04:13AM

Fix the friggin Finder! Man, the thing's a piece of junk compared to what it could (and should) be by now...

C'mon, this isn't the beta version of OS X anymore guys...



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: rkehlor on Dec 14, '04 01:29:21AM

Many thanks to ritchiem -- that narrowed it down to the culprit!

I realize my hint was not really a full hint; but, since I'd been going crazy for hours on end for several days (and had searched MacNN and MacOSX Hints thoroughly, I thought), I thought my shotgun work could at least save someone some time.

And, luckily, it spawned some great comments. I tested it and with the "show item info" on, with a single jpeg file on the desktop, the CPU freaks out. Removing it and logging out/in starts it up again. (Thus, it was indeed the finder.plist file that was fixing it initially for me, and not the other two, since it reset the "show item info" setting.)

Thanks for your patience and insight, all. And yes, fix the friggin' Finder! Jheesh.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Dec 14, '04 01:50:53AM

I agree--this is a valid enough hint, since it led to the discussion that cited the more precise fix for the problem the user was seeing in this case, to change a particular setting (the Finder's "Show Item Info"--click on the desktop, then select "View: Show View Options") rather than to trash the entire com.apple.finder.plist file. Besides, trashing that plist file, as well as others, can solve other problems that might not be fixable by changing every setting you can think might be stored in those plist files, if something in those files is damaged (I think many of us have seen examples, either in our own experience or that of others).

But yes, finding the particular troublemaking setting, if there is one, and changing it first is the best approach, since we don't seem to have quite enough influence in helping Apple to fix a lot of these problems in a timely fashion, even with all our bug reports.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: zo219 on Dec 14, '04 02:18:49AM

Funny, I've just had several weird CPU-hog-and-hangs in a row . . of a kind I'd never seen before: the SystemUIServer was hung.

Force-quitting the process cured the problem, of course. But the tasks where it hung have all been very routine . . . and reading this thread, I'm thinking something was introduced in the recent Update.

I'm an experienced user with a well-maintained machine; if I've never seen it before - and others are having similar - it belongs to Apple.

(Yes, you can safely force quit the SUI in Activity Monitor.)



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: landis on Dec 14, '04 11:21:26AM

Every once in a while I do get a SystemUIServer hang and the whole computer seems to slow down. I don't know exactly what the SystemUIServer is, but I've done force quits and it restarts and everything is fine - for a while.

I'm running the MenuMeters Haxie under OS X.3.5. I don't know if this may be the cause, but it does help quite often to determine when the system is hanging and when I should be opening the Activity Monitor to see what's going on.

Just a side note: I've got several JPEGs on my desktop. My computer has oddly seemed to get slower and slower over the past year or so, but I don't have a clear cut case of this JPEG bug. Taking them off the desktop doesn't speed things up and the processor isn't constantly running at much past 20% when everything is idle (playing iTunes, checking email, browsing the web).

To back up my thought that my computer has slowed down - SETI@Home (which I only turn on at night, manually) used to take about 10 hours per work unit, now it's closer to 15-18. And the whole machine generally feels a bit sluggish (during the day, without SETI running). Any suggestions? Delete those three prefs mentioned in the 'hint'?



[ Reply to This | # ]
not-a-haxie
Authored by: sjk on Dec 19, '04 02:54:11AM

MenuMeters isn't a haxie but Unsanity's Menu Master is.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: remolinero on Dec 14, '04 10:31:03PM

Hi,
I followed the suggestion of disabling the "Show Info" option, restarted the Finder and the problem is gone. This happened to me with pictures from a Nikon CoolPix 4500 camera. Now the thumbnails show very fast, and the Finder don't use all the CPU.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: tonyinsf on Dec 16, '04 08:15:00PM

I had no such luck. My PB has been sounding like a jet engine for the last few weeks. I updated to 10.3.7 and after just one day, it has been much quieter, like in the good ol' days.

---
eating meat is the signature of apathy



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: michaelrjohnson on Dec 21, '04 03:40:45PM

My finder doesn't use major CPU cycles, but the fan on my 1.33 12' PB (768MB RAM) is almost always on... why is this? It sits on my desk, elevated by a CoolPad to reduce heat... why is the fan always on?

Thank You!!!



[ Reply to This | # ]
fan runs all the time on g4 powerbook
Authored by: kissedsmiley on Jan 06, '05 09:46:59PM

1.thanks Rob for posting this "hint", it helps a lot searching to find things like this.
2.fyi, I am not happy how much my powerbook G4 fan runs; but I'm sensitive to noise. It runs all the time; that's why I put it to sleep whenever I'm not working and power it down for sure.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: sml6atlehigh on Jan 10, '05 11:33:44PM

I had this same problem and it was fixed in about 5 minutes following this 'shotgun' approach. CPU now runs noramlly again, THANKS SO MUCH for saving me some time here. My powerbook now runs as is used to. Although im not sure what caused this problem, the explaination of calculating the size of the finder or desktop is likely. The problem was first noticed when I was getting info on these items.

Thanks for the fix!!!



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: sprewell on Jul 04, '05 05:56:29PM

I had the same problem: Finder was eating up 80-90% of my cpu, causing the bottom of my powerbook, running 10.3.9, to overheat and the fan to kick in and run constantly. I used Activity Monitor to see what was going on with the Finder and found a jpeg in the list of open files for Finder. This was a picture from a digital camera that I had just uploaded to my computer and had been uploading to a server using an ftp client. I had not tried to open the file but it's always possible that I had double-clicked on it in the ftp client without realizing it, starting Finder on its infinite loop death crush with this jpeg. I used Activity Monitor to force quit Finder and everything went back to normal. It looks like Apple has never figured out this image-loading bug with Finder.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: ruminator on Apr 13, '08 06:53:40PM

Running a G4 Laptop w/ OS 10.5.2 - The CPU has been running wild for the last 3 weeks, and I had forgotten the old Classic trick of deleting the finder preference file to rejuvenate the classic Finder.

Deleting the "com.apple.finder.plist" has worked for me.
Everything is back to normal. - Thanks for the hint!

---
- The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: FareThoughts on Jan 17, '09 12:21:56AM

I'm running 10.5.6, and I've had a problem where my Finder eats up the CPU and the fans nearly send my laptop into orbit. Deleting these three files (although it might have just been one of them) and restarting has so far fixed this problem.

Now, my Finder uses about 0.3 percent CPU, and the fans are low. All of my temps are dropping — and so is my blood pressure.

Hint or not, it was a solution for me, and that's all I care about.

Thank you so much.

Also, as a side note, this got rid of some menu icons that were stuck and couldn't be removed by any method. It did not remove any of the ones I actually wanted.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: zman60 on Jul 02, '09 04:16:16AM

I have 10.5.5 and I also found high CPU usage from finder. This same fix, 'shotgun' approach did the trick. Prior to doing this, I saw the processes which were causeing the problem but I could not figure out why those processes were a problem. This thread shows a number of potential culprits and I suspect one or more of them can be the root cause. In my case, the preferences being rebuilt worked. I had tried to repair the hard drive, used Onyx, and a number of other things.

I agree with another contributor that Apple should spend a little effort and improve the finder. It is crazy to read these threads that go back for years.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage - beware of GIFs
Authored by: KalleK on Sep 13, '09 01:42:07AM

I also agree with zMan60. Let's see if Snowleopard is going to change anything.

I had the same problem for two days - Finder CPU usage at 95-106%. Reading this thread then inspired me to delete a GIF animation from the late 1990's (2 megs, downloaded two days ago to be used in a lecture) from the desktop. Deleting it did the trick.

(MacBook C2D 2G, 10.5.8)



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: sanandak on Oct 26, '09 10:22:57AM

I'm running Snow Leopard (10.6.1) and just had this problem. Deleting Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist
and then logging out and back in fixed it.

For how long...? Who knows.

Thanks to OP for suggesting this. Wish Apple would take a look at this problem!

S



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 26, '09 02:11:04PM

Not sure if you noticed how old the original hint is. Amazing how long these problems stick around. On the other hand, I wouldn't be so quick to assume the Finder is stuck when it's using alot of the CPU. It's doing a lot more now than it did in 2004.

Try giving it a chance to complete before trying to kill it or logging out. And remember that the percentages are a sum of all cores.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: randomnickname on Oct 27, '09 07:48:23PM

I noticed this problem in Snow Leopard, but only when I had an open Finder window. The Finder was using about 50% of the total CPU, and the CPU was heating up dramatically (up to 80C) .

In my case, I solved it by deselecting the "Calculate all sizes" option under "View Options".



[ Reply to This | # ]
A possible fix for high Finder CPU usage
Authored by: Diomedes on Apr 06, '10 02:18:40PM

I was wondering about this too. I took my mid-2009 MacBook Pro into my Apple Store because I noticed how slowly the Finder was responding, and I would get a beach ball when switching between Finder windows. My hard drive was indeed failing, but even after replacing it and doing a restore via Migration Assistant (so I would have a fresh copy of Snow Leopard), it was still happening. My MacBook Pro is a top-of-the-line Mac: 3.06 GHz processor, 8 Gb RAM, and 7200 RPM drive, and the nVidia GPU is on. So I didn't think there should be any reason why Finder should be slow on a new machine with a new hard drive.

Disabling calculate all sizes fixed the issueamazing. I use Path Finder, which seems to calculate file/folder sizes instantly, with low CPU utilization and without taking up CPU or real memory.

I will say though: having ample RAM is a double-edged sword. It seems applications abhor a vacuum, and apps will use up more real memory and the same amount of virtual memory.



[ Reply to This | # ]
I believe I've found the true culprit
Authored by: bedouin on Dec 17, '09 03:30:50AM
I tried deleting the preference files mentioned above but was unsuccessful. I disabled calculate file sizes and that did the trick, but I like having the file sizes there so that wasn't a viable long term option.

What I discovered is that the .DS_Store file at the root of one of my drives had become corrupted. Once I deleted this file from Terminal the CPU dropped back to normal. The corrupted .DS_Store was not on my boot drive by the way, so that is not necessarily the only place you should look. I'm running 10.5.8.
Edited on Dec 17, '09 03:31:36AM by bedouin


[ Reply to This | # ]