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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets System 10.4
Tiger only hintIf you want to quickly free up the memory being used by all your Dashboard widgets, simply restart the Dock application. Open /Applications -> Utilities -> Activity monitor, and find the application named Dock in the list. Select it and then click Quit Process in the toolbar. In the sheet that comes up, click Quit.

The Dock will quit, unloading all its Dashboard widgets. Then the OS will immediately restart the Dock. The Dock then will not load its widgets again until you activate Dashboard again and open a widget.

[robg adds: You could also use the Terminal and type killall Dock for the same result. The effect is the same as manually closing all your widgets, but if you've got a bunch open, this is definitely the faster "sledgehammer" solution. As noted in other hints and comments, the amount of RAM used by Dashboard isn't necessarily huge, so don't expect a large jump in available memory.

You can see how much real RAM your open widgets are using by launching Activity Monitor and entering 'dashboard' in the Filter box at the top of the window. In the resulting list, look at the Real Memory column to see your widgets' memory usage (my five open widgets are using about 45MB of RAM).]
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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets | 14 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: maddys_daddy on Aug 05, '05 12:21:13PM
45MB??? I don't know how you do it. I have 11 widgets open (and yes, I use them all--I'm a pro-Dashboard party member), and combined they're using about 238MB of RAM. And the lowest usage widget is the very simple (and useful) quitDOCK widget, using just over 15MB, and the highest being Apple's own Dictionary widget at just over 27MB. So I don't know how you manage to average 9MB per widget. I need to figure that one out. BTW, the quitDOCK widget is rather apropos for this hint if you don't always have Activity Monitor or Terminal running. Small, clean, simple, and easy.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: themacnut on Aug 05, '05 12:23:53PM

This is also a good trick to use to restart a malfunctioning widget as well. Before I saw this hint, when a widget froze up or started giving bad info, a restart would fix it, but I had to either restart the whole system or log out and back in. The inconvenience to either one was obvious and I'd often let the widget sit until I had to restart the system for another reason, like a software update or some recent electrical work I had to do in my house.

It's far more convenient to restart the Dock instead of the whole system. I glad I now know how. Thanks for the hint!

The MacNut
Owner, ClarisWorks/AppleWorks Email List

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My five widgets total 118MB of Real RAM
Authored by: hargreae on Aug 05, '05 12:35:19PM

After updating to 10.4.2, my widgets used much less RAM. But I just bought a new iBook, which has a newer build number, and the widgets are once again huge memory hogs. With only five open (Calculator, Calendar, Day in History, Weather, and Yahoo Traffic) they use more than 118MB of Real Memory. The weather widget alone uses nearly 60MB.

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Who cares about RAM usage?
Authored by: deleted_user18 on Aug 05, '05 01:09:22PM

Its all in the VRAM on hard disk anyway once you run out of memory and it is no longer needed.

No need to play around with RAM on your one. At least not as long it uses "wired" RAM.

Looks to me as the new hype after chkdsk.exe which was misused for 10 years now. We have NTFS and 10.3 HFS+, no need to defrag for a long time now.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: rmcmahan on Aug 05, '05 01:44:22PM

My weather widget only uses 9.57 MB -- not the 60MB mentioned above. I have six widgets open (Calendar, Case Converter, Digital Clock, Weather, VideoPoker, CharacterPal) and I am using only 46.6 MB. I have 10.4.2 on a Dual 1GHz G4.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: Twist on Aug 05, '05 04:12:22PM

I would suggest making an Automator workflow to do this and use it through the Automator contextual menu. Quicker than launching Activity Viewer or the Terminal. You could also just make an AppleScript and use it through the AppleScript Menu Extra.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: bkuestner on Aug 05, '05 04:17:31PM

This will be a tough wake-up call for many to see just what a memory hog OS X is compared to even Windows on the same Intel hardware. It will be plain embarrassing for Apple and OS X afficionados:

Safari with only this window open: 60 MB
Calendar widget: 19 MB
Mail: 50 MB

This list could go on and on.

The kernel coming in at "only" 40 MB, now that is acceptable.

For the old Mac OS the rule was, that a Mac could do with less RAM than a comparable PC running Windows. For OS X ... no more! This OS eats all available RAM for breakfast and then craves for more.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: deleted_user18 on Aug 06, '05 05:30:14AM

So what? 1Gig DDR-RAM costs 100 Euro.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: DrLex on Feb 04, '06 04:06:40PM

That's a bit of a lame excuse. Especially if one's Mac has a hard upper limit on the amount of RAM that's needed to feed memory gobbling applications without causing excessive swapping, like my old iBook. Using Safari together with Photoshop is a guarantee for swapping. Even the date menu causes swapping in such situations. And of course Dashboard too, by the time it has loaded I could have grabbed a physical calculator.

Yet, widgets use around 10MB of RAM on my machine. Although it's kind of funny that a basic calculator now uses more memory than the entire OS + applications back in the days of System 8, it's not dramatic considering that each widget is actually a tiny web browser. Of course widgets could have been implemented much more efficiently, but then it would be a lot harder to make new widgets, while now anybody with HTML and JavaScript knowledge can make one.

By the way, each widget has a VSIZE of 150MB, which may seem rather enthousiastic. But since VSIZE actually doesn't mean much, this is nothing to write home about. VSIZE is _not_ the amount of swap used by a program, otherwise my HD would gone nuclear on me as soon as I start up Classic, Safari, Firefox and Dashboard.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: adrianm on Aug 08, '05 06:31:43AM

You should probably try to understand what the memory numbers mean before forming an opinion and ranting publicly.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: Taiichi on Apr 28, '06 11:32:48PM

bkuestner, you have a point.

No-one should ever need more than 640K of RAM.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: peagiddy on Aug 07, '05 10:30:19PM

This is why I never even have any widgets loaded up, sitting there, wasting my memory. I just load them as I need them.

For Safari, just restart the browser from time to time. Browsers are notorious for not giving up memory they no longer use. Restart Mail as well. Looks like maybe you've opened a few windows in it, too. Now that I think about it, a lot of apps use up more and more memory the longer they're opened.

To say that OS X uses a lot of memory, so go buy more memory, it's cheap...well, maybe it's relatively cheap, but that's beside the point. No app that has such an incredibly simple function should take up that much memory. I just opened iCal and it's taking up 28 megs (just opened it, but still...)

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Weather Widget
Authored by: Tomnibus on Aug 08, '05 12:56:29PM

I don't know how people can get the weather widget to take up only 9MB ram. I just now loaded it up and it's taking 26.55MB in the "real ram" column.

I'm running 10.4.2. How is it that others only take up 9MB? That baffles me!

I never run widgets because they take up so much RAM. One time I left the weather one all weekend and it was sucking up 75MB. That was in the real memory column.

Safari, don't even get me started. It frequently is up to 150MB. I have to restart it all the time.

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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: markformac on Sep 30, '05 02:00:52AM
I think everyone needs to keep in mind that Apple computers are designed to use the most RAM possible for every application. And this RAM fluctuates depending on what Application needs to use more RAM. There are two recommendations I have for those who want to limit RAM usage: 1. An Application AppStop - This Application appears in the Menu bar and you can select the Applications you want to be "paused" so they don't use your RAM. 2. A Widget 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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