12 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2014 7:05 PM by Sandra Davis
asfafa Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi All

 

I've been running Mountain Lion since it was released, upgrading from Lion. I've never had a problem with mdworker until a few days ago when suddenly, the mdworker process started hitting 90% CPU on my iMac.

 

I've disabled Spotlight, deleted the .Spotlight directories, rebooted the iMac, but each time mdworker . Prior to this, the iMac's CPU temperature was around 43C, with very little CPU usage, but now it is around 60C and 100% across the two cores. The only way to 'get back to normal' is to use :

 

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

 

but of course Spotlight doesn't work at all.

 

I've used 'sudo fs_usage -w -f filesys mdworker' but I can't see anything that mdworker is perhaps choking on.

 

Does any have any ideas? I'm racking my brain to remember if I did anything different a few days back that might have caused this to happen, but apart from just normal email and web surfing, nothing else springs to mind.

 

Help!

 

Paul


iMac, OS X Mountain Lion, 4GB RAM, 2TB HD
  • 1. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    antobal Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I was having the same problem, and a second level support person at Apple helped me solve the issue today:

     

    Look in the \library\spotlight folders both at your drive root level and your user folder. These folders contain spotlight plugins, with the extension .mdimporter. Some of those plugins, if defective, can make the Spotlight indexing processes to run continuously.

     

    Move the contents of those folders to the desktop.

     

    You may need to actually delete the files from the spotlight folders, once they are on the desktop: in my case, the Finder made a copy of them, instead of moving them.

     

    Restart the computer.

     

    Check the activity of mdworker on Activity monitor.

     

    If the problem is gone, put back those files one by one in the spotlight folder, until you find the culprit. I think in my case it was an old Parallels Desktop plugin.

     

    Good luck

     

    Antonio

  • 2. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    David Losada Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    In my case it was the BritannicaBookmark.mdimporter that was a PowerPC mdimporter. But it was not in \library\spotlight but inBritannica 12.0/Ultimate Reference Suite.app/Contents/Library/Spotlight.

     

    You can see what spotlight plugin is choking on you by selecting the mdworker process in the Activity monitor and click on Open files and processes.

  • 3. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    asfafa Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks David - this solved my problem!

     

    As for you also, I had the BritannicaBookmark.mdimporter file and deleted it, before rebooting my iMac. Success.

     

    Thanks also for providing instructions to determine which mdimporter file mdworker was choking on. Very useful, and I am sure will help others to resolve their mdworker high CPU issues.

     

    Paul

  • 4. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    margaret.miz Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

     

    In my case it was the BritannicaBookmark.mdimporter that was a PowerPC mdimporter. But it was not in \library\spotlight but inBritannica 12.0/Ultimate Reference Suite.app/Contents/Library/Spotlight.

     

    You can see what spotlight plugin is choking on you by selecting the mdworker process in the Activity monitor and click on Open files and processes.

     

    Sounds helpful, but I don't see "Open files and processes" in Activity Monitor. If I click on inspect, I get a choice to "Sample" processes. I get a system log that is a bit beyond me.

     

    I was having the same problem, and a second level support person at Apple helped me solve the issue today:

     

    Look in the \library\spotlight folders both at your drive root level and your user folder. These folders contain spotlight plugins, with the extension .mdimporter. Some of those plugins, if defective, can make the Spotlight indexing processes to run continuously.

     

    Also sounds helpful, I found .mdimporter files in my system library, but nothing looked unusual. I didn't see a spotlight folder in my user library. I looked in application support and several other places. I used Onyx to repair permissions, rebuild spotlight index, clear caches etc, rebooted, it seems to be OK now.

  • 5. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    asfafa Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    When you double-click on the process, a new window should open up, and there is an 'Open Files and Ports' tab (not sure if it was actually 'Open Files and Processes'). When you click on that tab, there is a process description and all the parameters being used. i.e. the actual process being run.

     

    It updates dynamically which is useful as you can see what it is processing at that time.

     

    Hope this helps.

  • 6. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    margaret.miz Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks - I think this must be the same as the "Sample Process" button - I am in Lion, not Mountain Lion, perhaps this is why. In any case, I'm afraid these log entries are a bit beyond my comprehension. One thing I did which I think arrested the runaway mdworker processes was to go into user/library/saved application states and remove the file of a program I was having trouble with at the time. I had also used Onyx to rebuild the Spotlight index, but the mdworker problem had come back.

     

    As far as finding all the mdimporter files, Easyfind found more of them than the Terminal command.

  • 7. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    qwerty64 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi,

    I also had this problem. Your answer pointed me to the solution. Thank you very much!

  • 8. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    Maxxx-im Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks it was driving me crazy

  • 9. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    margaret.miz Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    When I searched for mdimporter files in easyfind, I found a lot of duplicates. I had included hidden volumes in my search - these duplicates are in a hidden "(Original)" HD. Is this my recovery partition, or is it something that could be causing problems?

     

    Easyfind screenshot - duplicate Original HD.png

     

    Message was edited by: margaret.miz

  • 10. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    tonyk451 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks David, that solved my problem. Just in case anyone's wondering, Britannica 13 looks like it causes the same symptoms under 10.8.5.

  • 11. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    60wpm Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)

    Thanks Margaret.miz -- I didn't quite get it all but I got this:

     

    In my case it was the BritannicaBookmark.mdimporter... But it was not in \library\spotlight but inBritannica 12.0/Ultimate Reference Suite.app/Contents/Library/Spotlight.

     

    I got rid of that. mdworker is no longer 99% of CPU usage...in fact it's not even on the list for Process Names.

     

    Note: I also put my new Time Capsule into Privacy on Spotlight.

     

    RAM no longer seems to be so quickly deplete...so far so good.

  • 12. Re: mdworker process suddenly high CPU usage
    Sandra Davis Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    Thank you! That really helped me. I didn't know that Britannica was a PowerPC application.

    I don't know how to up vote you but thanks!