The mds process was too greedy

15 Feb

Every now and then when my mac is slow, I take a peek in the Activity Monitor, to find out what is the culprit. Today I didn’t find any usual suspect and the only odd bit was the process mds. While it was using barely 10% of the CPU, the memory it used was outrageous. I remember having only 1MB free memory left, and that mds was using 14GB of the virtual memory (this figure stuck, while the real memory one didn’t).

I had learnt that mds is in use for Spotlight indexing. I have no use for Spotlight indexing, because I use other tools or tricks. So I searched for the way to disable Spotlight and did it in the Terminal:

sudo mdutil -a -i off
 	Indexing disabled.

All of a sudden the process mds jumped from using 14GB of virtual memory to 77MB of virtual memory, whee! And the system memory, of which 1MB was free, reached the comfortable level of 1.7GB, re-whee!

If I ever need Spotlight, the command above is reversed by using “on”.

You’re welcome!

Update of the day after:
It turns out I need that Spotlight indexing after all, if only to search in iCal. <sigh />
mds is on again! until it gets too greedy, that is.

sudo mdutil -a -i on
 	Indexing enabled.

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