Why is the finder using so much CPU?

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
I ran top and saw that the Finder is using a LOT of the CPU. What would cause this?

The only thing I can think of is possibly the desktop picture? Would that cause it? The picture, according to Get Info, is 660KB.


  • Reply 1 of 9
    dmband0026dmband0026 Posts: 2,345member
    Not your desktop picture, but this tends to happen from time to time with different apps in OS X, although I've never seen finder do it. It has happened to me with Safari and most recently iChat a few times. I don't know that there is an explanation as to why it happens, but it is rather easy to fix.

    You can fix it either with a command line, or through the finder itself. First, make sure you have all your work saved in other apps and things like that in case something goes south on you.

    To do it through the finder go to the Apple menu/Force Quit. Than select "Finder" in the list and tell it to relaunch.

    For the command line fix, when you type in "top" in terminal it will give you the process ID (the number to the left of the process name). Remember the process ID and than press "q" (to get out of top) and type:


    sudo kill (process ID)

    But insted of typing (process ID) put Finders process ID (in this case 1139) in there without the quotes.

    This should relaunch the Finder and bring your CPU usage back to normal.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    k squaredk squared Posts: 608member
    I've noticed this with the Finder and Safari too. On certain web pages which I keep open to read at a later time, the Finder all of the sudden uses a lot of processor. I just use Activity Monitor to quit the Finder and restart it after a few minutes.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    well considering finder is a pretty important part of the os x system, it makes sense that every now and then its gonna need a little more power to do something.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    dmband0026dmband0026 Posts: 2,345member
    Your right ipodandimac, but there is no reason why it should be taking up one whole processor and three quarters of another (I'm assuming that OSXaddict is running a dual machine based on the amount of processor usage ) It happens in several different apps, of course Finder would have a reason to take more CPU time than certain other apps, but 174%...that's just a system error.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    You are right it is a error... but just not the error you are all thinking of. Hehe.

    Top by default puts the most CPU intensive program (at the current point in time) on the top of it's list. hense the name. If another process is above the finder at only 6.7% and another is below at 0% then it is safe to say that the finder is using the CPU less then 6.7% at that current point in time. So it is an error, but just in the readout of top.

  • Reply 6 of 9
    dmband0026dmband0026 Posts: 2,345member
    I think you may be incorrect about this one. When I go into top, it doesn't display the processes in order of the most CPU usage, it just shows the top users of processor time and memory, I don't know what order they are in exactly (maybe the first one launched is on the bottom ), but the top user isn't always at the top of the list.

    For example, when I have Safari or iChat go crazy on my processor (using between 50 and 70%) they are not at the top of the list, they are usually somewhere in the middle, and the processes never change position when I have top open.

    I'm sure that OSXAddidt's system slowed to a crawl when it only had 25% of one processor available, as mine does when this happens to me. I doubt very much that it was a display error that can be blamed on top, I really think it was a finder error.

    Edit: DMBand can't type.
  • Reply 7 of 9

    Ok do this for me.

    Go into a term.

    Type in the command:


    Note how you are just running top without any other option set. This will run top with the default settings.

    Then look at the term window while you drag around a window, run an app, or do anything else. The program in use will pop to the top of the list.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    Wait... I just reread your post.

    The standard top (not tuched by apple) runs in the way I just described. I guess apple changed the default for whatever reason. This is fine by me but it does defeat the purpose of calling the program "top" in the first place.

    I will now return to my bash shell...

  • Reply 9 of 9
    osxaddictosxaddict Posts: 131member
    Yes, I do have a dual G5

    A simple restart fixed it..but I don't know what the cause was. The mac did start to crawl and I noticed a definate lag!
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