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kernel_task taking up more than 100% CPU

802 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Dec 17, 2013 7:21 PM by DJWebDUck RSS
shthap3ns Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 30, 2013 2:38 PM

I know this has been asked many, many times, and I've done countless google searches on this, but I'm having this problem. It comes and goes, and seems to be random, usually can be solved by closing off all my browsers, although it takes a little while for kernel_task to die down a bit. It's also not a silver bullet, sometimes closing off all programs doesn't do anything.


I've checked all my LaunchAgents and I don't have any heavy modifications to my system. It's just a bit annoying when it flares up from time to time, and it slows my system down to a crawl, which makes getting any work done impossible. I'm a web developer, so I can't just shut off my browsers whenever the problem happens.


I'm on the verge of trying a clean install, but I wanted to post here to see if anyone can spot anything weird about my system configuration in my EtreCheck report below.


Please help! Thank you!


Hardware Information:

          MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)

          MacBook Pro - model: MacBookPro10,1

          1 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 CPU: 4 cores

          16 GB RAM


Video Information:

          Intel HD Graphics 4000 - VRAM: 1024 MB

          NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M - VRAM: 1024 MB


Audio Plug-ins:

          BluetoothAudioPlugIn: Version: 1.0 - SDK 10.9

          AirPlay: Version: 1.9 - SDK 10.9

          AppleAVBAudio: Version: 2.0.0 - SDK 10.9

          iSightAudio: Version: 7.7.3 - SDK 10.9


System Software:

          OS X 10.9 (13A603) - Uptime: 0 days 4:43:53


Disk Information:

          APPLE SSD SM512E disk0 : (500.28 GB)

                    EFI (disk0s1) <not mounted>: 209.7 MB

                    Macintosh HD (disk0s2) /: 499.42 GB (46.64 GB free)

                    Recovery HD (disk0s3) <not mounted>: 650 MB


USB Information:


          Apple Inc. FaceTime HD Camera (Built-in)


          Apple Inc. Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad


          Apple Inc. BRCM20702 Hub

                    Apple Inc. Bluetooth USB Host Controller



          Apple Inc. iPhone


          Mitsumi Electric Hub in Apple Extended USB Keyboard

                    Mitsumi Electric Apple Extended USB Keyboard


          Apple Inc. Display Audio


          Apple Inc. FaceTime HD Camera (Display)


          Apple Inc. Apple Thunderbolt Display


FireWire Information:


Thunderbolt Information:

          Apple Inc. thunderbolt_bus

                    Apple Inc. Thunderbolt Display


Kernel Extensions:

          at.obdev.nke.LittleSnitch          (4050 - SDK 10.8)

          org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxDrv          (4.1.23)

          org.virtualbox.kext.VBoxUSB          (4.1.23)


Problem System Launch Daemons:


Problem System Launch Agents:


Launch Daemons:

          [loaded] at.obdev.littlesnitchd.plist

          [loaded] com.adobe.fpsaud.plist

          [not loaded] com.adobe.SwitchBoard.plist



          [loaded] org.macosforge.xquartz.privileged_startx.plist


Launch Agents:

          [loaded] at.obdev.LittleSnitchUIAgent.plist


          [loaded] org.macosforge.xquartz.startx.plist


User Launch Agents:

          [loaded] com.spotify.webhelper.plist

          [loaded] homebrew.mxcl.mongodb.plist

          [loaded] homebrew.mxcl.mysql.plist

          [failed] homebrew.mxcl.postgresql.plist


User Login Items:






3rd Party Preference Panes:

          Flash Player



Internet Plug-ins::

          JavaAppletPlugin: Version: 14.9.0 - SDK 10.7 Outdated! Update

          o1dbrowserplugin: Version:

          Unity Web Player: Version: UnityPlayer version 4.2.1f4 - SDK 10.6

          Default Browser: Version: 537 - SDK 10.9

          Silverlight: Version: 5.1.10411.0 - SDK 10.6

          FlashPlayer-10.6: Version: 11.9.900.117 - SDK 10.6

          Flash Player: Version: 11.9.900.117 - SDK 10.6 Outdated! Update

          QuickTime Plugin: Version: 7.7.3

          googletalkbrowserplugin: Version:

          SharePointBrowserPlugin: Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.6

          AdobePDFViewer: Version: 10.1.1

          npgtpo3dautoplugin: Version: - SDK 10.5

          MeetingJoinPlugin: Version: (null) - SDK 10.6


User Internet Plug-ins::

          CitrixOnlineWebDeploymentPlugin: Version: 1.0.94

          Dashlane: Version: Dashlane 1.0.0 - SDK 10.7


Bad Fonts:



Old applications:

          Microsoft Alerts Daemon:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Alerts

          Microsoft AutoUpdate:          Version: 2.3.3 - SDK 10.4

                    /Library/Application Support/Microsoft/MAU2.0/Microsoft

          Microsoft Chart Converter:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Chart

          Microsoft Clip Gallery:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Clip

          Microsoft Database Daemon:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Database

          Microsoft Database Utility:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Database

          Microsoft Document Connection:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft Document

          Microsoft Error Reporting:          Version: 2.2.8 - SDK 10.4

                    /Library/Application Support/Microsoft/MERP2.0/Microsoft Error

          Microsoft Excel:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft

          Microsoft Graph:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft

          Microsoft Language Register:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Additional Tools/Microsoft Language Register/Microsoft Language

          Microsoft Lync:          Version: 14.0.2 - SDK 10.5


          Microsoft Office Reminders:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Office

          Microsoft Office Setup Assistant:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Office Setup

          Microsoft Outlook:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft

          Microsoft PowerPoint:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft

          Microsoft Ship Asserts:          Version: 1.1.3 - SDK 10.4

                    /Library/Application Support/Microsoft/MERP2.0/Microsoft Ship

          Microsoft Upload Center:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Microsoft Upload

          Microsoft Word:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft

          My Day:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/My

          Open XML for Excel:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Open XML for

          SLLauncher:          Version: 1.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Silverlight/OutOfBrowser/

          Solver:          Version: 1.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Add-Ins/

          Spotify:          Version: - SDK 10.5


          SyncServicesAgent:          Version: 14.2.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/

          WhatSize:          Version: 5.1.1 - SDK 10.5


          WhatSize:          Version: 5.1.1 - SDK 10.5

                    /Users/calvin/Software/WhatSize 5.1.1/

          dynamiclinkmanager:          Version: 6.0.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common/dynamiclink/CS6/

          dynamiclinkmediaserver:          Version: 6.0.0 - SDK 10.5

                    /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Common/dynamiclinkmediaserver/1.0/


Time Machine:

          Time Machine not configured!


Top Processes by CPU:

               2%          WindowServer

               2%          uTorrent

               2%          EtreCheck

               1%          Activity Monitor

               1%          node


Top Processes by Memory:

          606 MB             mds_stores

          442 MB             zeus command: server

          344 MB             Safari

          311 MB             Finder

          265 MB             WindowServer


Virtual Memory Statistics:

          6.95 GB            Free RAM

          6.77 GB            Active RAM

          785 MB             Inactive RAM

          1.51 GB            Wired RAM

          7.23 GB            Page-ins

          0 B                Page-outs

MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012), OS X Mavericks (10.9)
  • petermac87 Level 5 Level 5 (4,065 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2013 2:46 PM (in response to shthap3ns)

    I would try uninstalling Homebrew for a start, as per the manufacturers instructions, but I don't know how to tell what damage it may have already done or how compatable it even is with 10.9





  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,860 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 30, 2013 3:28 PM (in response to shthap3ns)

    The kernel is using excessive processor cycles. Below are some possible causes for the condition.


    When it gets high temperature readings from the hardware, or a low-voltage reading from the battery, the kernel may try to compensate by interrupting the processor(s) to slow them down and reduce power consumption. This condition can be due to


    • a buildup of dust on the logic board
    • high ambient temperature
    • a worn-out or faulty battery in a portable
    • the malfunction of a cooling fan or sensor


    Note that if the problem is caused by a sensor, there may be no actual overheating or undervoltage.

    If the computer is portable, test with and without the AC adapter connected. If kernel_task hogs the processor only on battery power, the fault is in the battery or the logic board. If it happens only on AC power, charging is causing the machine to heat up. That may be normal on some models. CPU usage should drop when charging is complete.

    The Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics, though not very reliable, is sometimes able to detect a bad fan or sensor.

    If nothing is wrong with the hardware, then whatever you can do to improve cooling may help.

    Installed software

    User-installed software that includes a device driver or other kernel code may thrash the kernel. That category includes virtualization software, such as Parallels and VMware, as well as most commercial "anti-virus" products. Some system-monitoring applications, such as "iStat," can also contribute to the problem. You can test for this possibility by completely disabling or removing the software according to the developer's instructions, or booting in safe mode. Note, however, that disabling a system modification without removing it or booting in safe mode may not be as easy as you think it is.

    Corrupt NVRAM or SMC data

    Sometimes the problem is cleared up by resetting the NVRAM or the SMC.

    External display

    Connecting an external LCD display to some MacBook Pro models may cause this issue. If applicable, test by disconnecting the display. You might get better results with a newer LED display.

  • DJWebDUck Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 17, 2013 7:21 PM (in response to shthap3ns)

    I was having the same problem but after days of googling I finally found a working solution:


         Mavericks System CPU Spikes When Unplugged


    It worked for me. Hopefully it'll work for a few of you.


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