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com.apple.helpd ( helpd ) - 1MB to 1GB ram Usage

22589 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Jan 2, 2012 11:50 AM by Marianco1 RSS
  • arkling Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 26, 2011 7:36 PM (in response to Facchini)

    I'm also noticing a service (deamon) called: imagent (launching from /System/Library/privateFrameworks/IMCore.framework/imagent.app)

     

    that is constanty running and making internet connections (to Apple and google mostly) even when I have no I.M programs running (such as iChat, Facetime, Adium, etc...)

     

    it also seems to hit a CPU spike now and then, and is of course consuming some memory.

  • machei Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2011 7:04 AM (in response to Facchini)

    Ihad this problem last night, but hadn't had it (or noticed it) before then. Oddly, I'd just bought and installed Logic Express on my system. As I was trying out the software, the system became completely unresponsive, and when I checked, it was helpd eating pretty much all of my system resources. I quit everything, restarted the system, and it seems to be happier, although I haven't played around too much since then, so the jury's still out. It's sort of disconcerting that there's no real fix for this given the monumental impact it has on the system.

     

    BTW, I run an iMac (mid-2010), i5 processor with 4GIG RAM. It really shouldn't have trouble running this software.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 2, 2011 4:47 PM (in response to machei)

    It may be corrupted caches. 

     

    The easiest way to delete them is with an app, such as the free OnyX.  On the Maintenance window, select the Rebuild tab, then check Help Viewer menu towards the bottom.

  • Marianco1 Level 2 Level 2 (225 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2012 11:50 AM (in response to Facchini)

    Helpd updates all of the Application help files on your Mac.

     

    However, I hate having helpd launching repeatedly and seemingly randomly, taking up 1 gig of RAM, and using so much CPU time that the fans go loudly full blast on my MacBook Pro.  I prefer having my MacBook Pro be quiet.

     

    Upon investigation, I found that helpd is controlled by a System LaunchAgent plist which is run on startup:

    /System/LaunchAgents/com.apple.helpd.plist

     

    When examining the contents of this plist using XCode, what you find is that:

    1. helpd is run when it is loaded by the system at startup or login

    2. helpd is run on every Sunday at 2:30 AM

    3. the launch agent watches the following folders and runs helpd whenever the folders change:

        /Applications/

        /Applications/Utilities/

     

    The biggest problem is the watch foldersThey change whenever you open them (i.e. their modified date changes when opened).  They change when you install a new application. Many applications change their Application folder content when run. etc. etc.

     

    (Lingon is a simplified launch agent and launch daemon editor.  Lingon 3, by the way, cannot manage anything other than your own user's launch agents and launch daemons.  It is limited by Apple's new App Store rules.  Lingon 2 can open up system launch agetns and launch daemons.  But it is missing many of the plist fields revealed by using XCode. For example, it will show the /Applications/ watch folder. But there are TWO watch folders - the second one is /Applications/Utilities/  Thus, Lingon may cause problems by modifying the system launch agents and daemon plists by missing several fields. I don't recommend Lingon other than to create your own user launch agents and daemons - with Lingon 2 being a much more capable version. To its credit, Lingon 2 does have an "expert mode" where it shows simply the text of the plist.  Also Lingon 2 does allow you to change the system plists within the application without having to change permissions on the file. Thus if you know how to manually change the plist text, Lingon 2 is useful for managing these plists.)

     

    The easiest solution is to use Xcode or another plist editor to modify the com.apple.helpd.plist to change the watch folders.

     

    I changed /Applications/ to /Applications/Utilities/  and left the second watch folder /Applications/Utilities/

     

    Since I seldom open /Applications/Utilities/ this causes helpd to launch far less often.

     

    You can also just simpliy eliminate the watch folders.  This keeps helpd running on Sundays at 2:30 AM or on startup or login.

     

    When users get rid of many older applications, they see helpd launch less often since these older applications may be the ones modifying the /Applications/ folder.

     

    If you have only newer applications or few applications, you don't run into the helpd problem as often or at all. This is why few people complain about helpd. Only the users who have numerous applications (particularly older ones or ones not bought from the App Store) run into this problem.

     

    Here are the contents of the com.apple.helpd.plist:

     

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

    <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">

    <plist version="1.0">

    <dict>

              <key>EnableTransactions</key>

              <true/>

              <key>EnvironmentVariables</key>

              <dict>

                        <key>NSRunningFromLaunchd</key>

                        <string>1</string>

              </dict>

              <key>Label</key>

              <string>com.apple.helpd</string>

              <key>LimitLoadToSessionType</key>

              <array>

                        <string>Aqua</string>

                        <string>LoginWindow</string>

              </array>

              <key>MachServices</key>

              <dict>

                        <key>com.apple.helpd</key>

                        <true/>

              </dict>

              <key>OnDemand</key>

              <true/>

              <key>Program</key>

              <string>/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/HelpData.framework/Versions/A/Resourc es/helpd</string>

              <key>RunAtLoad</key>

              <true/>

              <key>StartCalendarInterval</key>

              <dict>

                        <key>Hour</key>

                        <integer>2</integer>

                        <key>Minute</key>

                        <integer>30</integer>

                        <key>Weekday</key>

                        <integer>7</integer>

              </dict>

              <key>WatchPaths</key>

              <array>

                        <string>/Applications/</string>

                        <string>/Applications/Utilities/</string>

              </array>

    </dict>

    </plist>

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