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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard System 10.4
Tiger only hintSome people have claimed memory or performance problems with Dashboard. In my case, I just don't use it, and dislike having applications running that I don't use or need.

After some searching, I found this hint, but didn't find anything similar on MacOSXHints. So here it is, with thanks to the original poster who found it. Launch Terminal and then enter the following commands...

To turn Dashboard off:
 defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES 
To turn Dashboard on:
 defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO 
You have to restart the Dock after making either change for it to take effect:
 killall Dock 
[robg adds: I'm thinking this might be a pretty popular hint :). I tested the commands, and they definitely work. When I ran ps ax | grep Dash with Dashboard active, my three open widgets showed up in the process list. After changing the defaults, F12 no longer worked, and the same ps command didn't find any matches for Dashboard (OK, technically, if found the grep, but that's because I'm too lazy to add it as an ignored match). When I re-enabled Dashboard, I was somewhat surprised to find that my three open widgets were indeed still open.]
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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard | 30 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: Pedro Estarque on Jul 29, '05 10:13:16AM

I saw this before and I think it's useless. Widthgets do take lots of RAM ( have more then 3 opened and you are ~20 Mb shorter ).
But you don't have to disable dashboard to get rid of it, simply restart the dock and all memory is back.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: jeaginsky on Jul 29, '05 09:57:56PM

Tinkertool does this quite easily
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/11967



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: gaoshan on Jul 29, '05 10:50:30AM

You could also use DashOnOff. It is a pref pane that turns Dashboard on and off with a click.

I use this (to leave Dashboard off) and am now using Konfabulator for my widget "needs". It is free, now that it has been purchased by Yahoo, doesn't require me to hit a button to view my widgets, and it is better than Dashboard in other ways.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: danieleran on Jul 29, '05 12:50:45PM

Konfabulator is an interesting thing to bring up in the thread of turning off Dashboard. Apple's Dashboard only runs when you have it open; that's why it's designed as it is, and why you can't run widgets outside of the dashboard layer without changing how Dashboard works. Konfabulator not only takes up FAR MORE RAM, but RUNS ALL THE TIME.

Dashboard goes to sleep between F12 pokes, and the system isn't slowed in the slightest by the Dashboard icon having a triangle under it.

Classic Mac OS users are often horrified to find apps open in the background and worry they are taking up processor and RAM. But under OS X, applications that are not actively running not only take no processing power, but the RAM they "consume" is only a virtual allocation. They aren't assigned a chunk of your RAM chips. If you are short on RAM, the data inactive apps use is copied off to your HD.

Turning off Spotlight may make a difference, because Spotlight's indexing works every time a file is saved, and churns through things in the background, but turning off Dashboard is unnecessary tech voodoo and simply woolly thinking.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: hargreae on Jul 29, '05 01:55:50PM

Your point is accurate regarding Konfabulator, which is well-known to use a lot of system resources, such as RAM and CPU.

However, Dashboard widgets DO, in fact, run while Dashboard itself isn't active. I've seen numerous widgets that use CPU in the background.

Also, Dashboard widgets DO use RAM. The 10.4.2 update greatly reduced the amount of RAM that most used, but it does still exist. Right now, my running widgets are using 60MB of Real memory. And if your Mac maxes out at 640MB of RAM (like mine does), that's almost 10 percent.

Yes, inactive data is copied off to your HD when necessary. It's called swapping and it slows down your computer because a HD is slower than RAM.

All that being said, if you don't want Dashboard widgets eating up CPU and RAM, just don't activate it.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: danieleran on Jul 29, '05 05:20:54PM

Of course Dashboard uses CPU and RAM, but only if you have widgets loaded and are using it.

Swapping pages from RAM to the HD can slow things down, but only if you are actively using more RAM than you have. SO, if you are trying to run every Adobe CS and Quark and Final Cut Pro on 512MB of RAM, you'll be swapping a lot. But if you load up various apps into RAM, and then don't use them, and they are swapped out to disk, no further disk swapping or RAM allocation is going to happen until to return to that app.

Having 50 MB assigned isn't losing 10% of an installed 512 RAM. OS X basically assigns every application 4 GB of space, and only actively deals with memory that needs immediate access quite effeciently.

My PowerBook has 1.25 GB installed, but virtual memory is handling 8.20 GB of allocated RAM at the moment, and there isn't any obvious paging activity going on while I work. Even with 78 processes active, only 2 or 3 are ever actually active, the rest, like Dashboard, are put to sleep. This is not Classic Mac OS!

With Dashboard, if you start widgets that allocate 50 MB, and then go back to Word, you haven't lost 50 MB. If you allocate more RAM than you have, the RAM you aren't using gets paged out and isn't paged back in until you need to use it again.

Dashboard by design, unlike Konfabulator, is engineered to do nothing until it is activated. Even when in use, most of what Dashboard does is handled via the WebKit, which is sharing resources already loaded for Safari.

Really, if you aren't using Dashboard, it isn't doing anything! Yes, if you load up certain widgets that don't work as Apple intended, there may be some processing going on even while Dashboard is suposed to be idle, but that would also mean you are actively using Dashboard, no?





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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: Pedro Estarque on Jul 30, '05 02:21:51PM

I hate when people say that "this in not classic, OS X can open as many apps as you want". You probably haven't stressed OS X VM to see that it is far from efficient. And please, let's stop with the fallacy that unused processes are swapped to HD. Every single opened process needs RAM, its usage can decrease if not active, but SOME memory is always needed. Just open Activity Monitor and click in "real memory", if you can find a process that uses 0 kb of RAM let me know. There is no magic even in the most in modern memory management system ( not OS X's case )



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: danieleran on Jul 30, '05 11:24:17PM

I wasn't making a technical argument about how VM works, but rather noting that in practical use, apps that are not active are not consuming RAM in the manner of Classic Mac OS.

In OS 9, if you have an app open, it got a minimum allocation of RAM that was lost to the system, and potentially took more. You had to close apps to open others or you ran out of memory.

Under OS X, you can have lots of applications open and apps that are not active will not be taking up a significant allocation of available RAM. Certainly, the more RAM you have, the better, and trying to run more than machine can handle will result in poor performance.

None of that changes the fact that, even you are trying to get by on minimal RAM, stopping Dashboard will not make a difference in system performance.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: tceylan on Dec 11, '05 06:47:12PM

This is not correct. Please add 3-5 widgets to your dashboard, and lauch
"top" tool, and take a look at 'resident' memory usage. Typically my
widgets use about 2-5 megs each. I have seen some widgets use
as much as 30-50 megs. Rouge widgets might also continue
consuming CPU even if you don't run the dashboard. (I used to have
a map quest widget that used 30% of CPU after I put dashboard
in the foreground once, and minimized after).

So, disabling dashboard should make a difference in the performance depending
on other applications, and how much ram/cpu you have, and how much
physical ram is left. This difference might be insignificant if you have
a lot of free ram.

2-5 megs per widget might not be a significant amount of
RAM in most cases. However, claiming that dashboard does not
use any resources is not correct. I would probably rephrase this as
"dashboard uses resources as efficiently as possible."



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: aranor on Jul 30, '05 12:23:52AM

60MB? What are you looking at? Real memory during normal use of Dashboard widgets for me is on average 3 or 4 MB per widget. That's barely anything. And the virtual memory listing doesn't matter.

And as for CPU, Dashboard does in fact go to sleep when it's not being shown. However, it's an optional thing - widgets are simply told to go to sleep, they're not actually forced to. But very rarely should you find a widget that actually needs to run when it's supposed to be asleep, and so if you are finding widgets that aren't sleeping when they should, that's just a poorly designed widget, and Dashboard can't be blamed for it.

So basically, Dashboard widgets take up barely any memory, and that's generally paged out of RAM when you leave Dashboard idle (that's why leaving Dashboard idle for a while makes it take a few seconds when you bring it back for it to start functioning - it has to page RAM back in for all the widgets you're using. And it uses no CPU. Konfabulator, on the other hand, last time I checked it used CPU constantly even with no widgets open, and it uses a *lot* more RAM than Dashboard does. I bought Konfabulator when it first came out, and a month later I had taken it out of my auto-startup and never looked back. That's because of the resource drain and the fact that I never found any widgets worth using. However, with Dashboard, while I use it infrequently, I do use widgets. Right now, I have 10 widgets running, and I don't mind. Their RAM usage is small, generally paged out to VM, and they use no CPU at all when not active.

I'd also like to point out, to the author of this article, that your comment "In my case, I just don't use it, and dislike having applications running that I don't use or need" just shows that you don't understand Dashboard. If you have no widgets open, you aren't running any extra applications. The Dashboard is built into the Dock - the only extra applications are the DashboardClient processes which manage individual widgets. So if you have no widgets open, you have no DashboardClient processes, and thus no extra applications. I'd be surprised if the terminal command did anything other than simply tell the Dock "don't let me bring forward the Dashboard layer".



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: terabolic_radius on Apr 08, '06 08:12:46AM

aranor,

i don't understand why you say that an unused widget doesn't use RAM. i am running 10.4.5 on a 2001 iBook w/ 384 MB of RAM, and using the Activity Monitor, it shows quite distinctly that I have a widget using 114+ MB (real mem, not VM)! and 20% of CPU, oscillating b/w 1% & 20%! and i have not called up the dashboard in the past hour either. and the other widgets i have active when using the dashboard all use about 10MB and their memory usage is listed under the 'Real' column of the Activity Monitor.

out of 384MB of total physical RAM, the Activity Monitor says i am using 373.90MB and i am only running Safari, the Activity Monitor, the Finder of course, and DockFun (which only consumes 12MB). the rest of the ram is eaten up by Dashboard and the widgets, again according to the Activity Monitor.

but if i am missing sth, so please tell me.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: gaoshan on Jul 29, '05 11:50:31PM

Wooly thinking keeps my head warm, thank you very much.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: dkulp on Jul 30, '05 01:21:00PM
Turning off Spotlight may make a difference, because Spotlight's indexing works every time a file is saved, and churns through things in the background, but turning off Dashboard is unnecessary tech voodoo and simply woolly thinking.
I did some rudimentary tests to check on the effect of Spotlight. I wrote some scripts that created thousands of files and deleted them, too. Spotlight appears to be well designed to wait until I/O activity drops below some threshold before updating its indices. You can see Spotlight start working only after the I/O activity finishes. Thus, in my experiments, Spotlight thankfully had no effect on appreciable I/O performance.

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enabled + disabled compared
Authored by: echo on Jul 29, '05 04:07:48PM

From Tiger's beginning, I had closed all widgets, dragged dashboard's icon out of the dock, disabled the fKey+ deleted associated prefs files + caches. In Activity Monitor I couldn't identify any dashboard processes running, but always wondered if there was any overhead from it.

I just compared info from Activity Monitor with dashboard enabled + disabled, both after fresh logins, and memory + cpu usage (+ other data) remains the same. I'm convinced disabling dashboard has no advantage.



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enabled + disabled compared
Authored by: jasenko on Jul 29, '05 06:36:11PM

Even if you don't use any widgets, when you press F12, you can instantly see the change. That means that something is working in the background. I still didn't find out what process is that, but I believe that it is on kernel level.
Since disabling Dashboard few weeks ago, stability of the system improved dramatically so my theory that it runs directly from the kernel space got some credibility.



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enabled + disabled compared
Authored by: burntout on Jul 31, '05 10:05:50AM

Yes, it's called Dock.app. If you view processes hierarchically in Activity Monitor you will see all widget processes are children of the Dock. If you don't have any widgets running, Dashboard will do nothing. Anything you think you detect is a placebo.



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enabled + disabled compared
Authored by: ubi on Aug 01, '05 09:14:25PM
I think it does save some real RAM, even if you don't (accidentally) start Dashboard by hitting F12 or a hot corner. I made the following bash aliases for convenience:

alias dashoff='defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES ; \
sleep 2 ; killall Dock ; echo Dashboard disabled.'

alias dashon='defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO ; \
sleep 2 ; killall Dock ; echo Dashboard enabled.'

alias dashstat='if (( `defaults read com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled` )) ; \
then echo Dashboard is disabled. ; \
else echo Dashboard is enabled. ; fi'

I have 7 widgets running, with 112 of 640 MB RAM free. When I execute 'dashoff', I now have 153 MB free. After 'dashon', I have 151 MB free. So a couple of megs got eaten just now, even before hitting F12 to see the widgets.

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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: vonkas on Jul 29, '05 10:35:57PM

Great - what I need now, is a way to disable Spotlight and activate Find again!



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: john7jr on Jul 30, '05 10:08:57AM

That's easy, stop using Tiger and go back to Panther. Don't like the future? Stay in the past.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: Gigacorpse on Jul 30, '05 10:51:49PM

http://systemsboy.blogspot.com/2005/05/getting-back-to-search-basics.html



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: Nysos on Jul 30, '05 09:59:11AM
Cool hint!

I packed both script commands into a utility, for easy Desktop/Finder placement : Stop/start dashboard utility

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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: rbanzai on Jul 30, '05 07:42:04PM

I've been much happier with Tiger now that I have successfully turned off the two cripple-ware modules, dashboard and spotlight.

Konfabulator has stepped in smoothly and does exactly what dashboard is supposed to do but more efficiently.

Easyfind is helping to make up for spotlight's hideous bugs, especially the 'i'll just index forever and melt your ibook' issue.

But as soon as spotlight is fixed I'll be happy to use it.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: Makoto on Jul 30, '05 11:46:20PM

It's probably also a good idea (that if you've disabled Dashboard and/or Spotlight), to remember that you've disabled them and re-enable them (just in case) before applying any system updates. I remember reading that some were having problems with the 10.4.1 update because they had disabled Spotlight beforehand.



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Unix Toggle Script
Authored by: pobs on Aug 03, '05 03:31:33AM
Hello all,

Thank you for this script... it certainly seems to be useful for those who are wont for power (every process that isn't in use can save a few minutes of juice).

I made this simple bash script that toggles the "defaults write" command based on what it is currently set to. I'd like to share it with you all... for those who would rather use a unix script than another prefpane binary to handle this... or for those who like to muck around with unix like me :) . Improvements are welcome and I suppose you could use the same format with other 'defaults' settings.

Thoughts? comments? flames?

Best,
pobs
 
#!/bin/sh

#function to evaluate whether the widgets are on or off
function evalwidgets {
         domainvar="com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled"
         defaults read $domainvar
return ; }

#case statement to decide whether to turn widgets on or off
case $( evalwidgets ) in
        1 )
                echo "TURNING ON WIDGETS"
                evalwidgets
                defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO;;
        0 )
                echo "TURNING OFF WIDGETS"
                evalwidgets
                defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES;;
        !1 | !0 )
                echo "this is the result of evalwidgets function..."
                evalwidgets
                echo "..."
                echo "sumpin aint workin";;
esac

#kill the dock to put the widget call in effect
killall "Dock"


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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: Nysos on Aug 05, '05 05:59:59PM
Ok, I couldn't resist.. :p

Here it is, the only widget you'll ever need: DisableDashboard-widget :D

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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: amcgee on Aug 17, '05 02:01:27PM

Strangely, disabling Dashboard in my main admin account results in periodic dock crashes. The dock restarts very quickly, but the crash is there nonetheless. Re-enabling Dashboard makes the crashes go away. The crash was immediate and more frequent under 10.4.0, less so on 10.4.2. Thoughts?

Also, it seems that you could also disable Dashboard by simply turning off it's function key in system preferences, and removing the icon from the dock. No memory is used if you never invoke it. That's what I'm doing now, instead of using the hint.



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: markformac on Sep 30, '05 02:08:18AM

I don't know if this was posted yet or not because I was not about to read everyones post....there is a crapload within this topic.

A nice option to turn on/off dashboard is to download the Widget Preference Pane from http://www.ego-systems.com/Products/widgetsprefpane.html

This preference pane gives you the option to disable Dashboard. Allows you to activate, deactivate and delete widgets. Also allows you to option to allows widget downloading to the Desktop as well as changing the Dashboard's menu background.

---
Mark Brooks



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: appler on Aug 02, '09 04:48:08PM
Well, one may argue weather doashboard take a lot of resources or not.
My MacBook when used with Skype and other apps running low on memory and if I disable Dashboard - it releases just enough to get-by.
I use this app:
http://www.mark-up.com/apple.stuff/dashboard.enabler/


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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: gmil on Oct 21, '09 09:30:56PM

None of these comments worked for me; however, there is a simple downloadable widget that will disable/enable the dashboard and the icon for the program is in the dock. It is too easy!!!! I tried everything else to no avail and my F12 key did NOT enable dashboard after it had been disabled...so try this link for DASHBOARDKILLER http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/19248



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10.4: How to disable (and enable) Dashboard
Authored by: sean808080 on Feb 20, '10 10:26:06AM
Here's a freeware utility I wrote to kill the dashboard and improve performance. KillDashboard : a utility to disable the Dashboard on your Mac - http://bit.ly/KillDashboardFreeware

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