A fix for OS X if your mds or mdworker processes are running wild

Just ran into this fix from Sebastian Shack if your mac has a lot of processor activity that you can’t track down/stop. ?The problem is that the “mds” and “mdworker” processes (which control and index your hard drive for Spotlight searches) get stuck consistently using ~100% CPU time (on a quad core, that’s out of 400%). ?In this case, the reason is because I’ve been using Backblaze, and online backup solution, though this fix may work for other online backup software or general apps.

The problem is that Backblaze is constantly creating and uploading files in the /Library/backblaze folder, and Spotlight sees that and is constantly trying to index those files even though they’re temporary. It’d be like trying to conduct a survey of New York City residents on a Saturday in Times Square — there’s a whole bunch, they’re constantly changing, and lots of them aren’t NYC residents. ?Or it’d be like if your doorbell rang every time someone walked by your house — you’d be up and down all the time, and none of those people are sticking around to talk to you anyway.

The solution is to block Spotlight from searching in Backblaze’s folder. ?Open up Spotlight preferences (System Preferences -> Spotlight) and click on “Privacy”. ?Now we need to find the folder Backblaze uses and drag it over. ?Go to Finder, click Go -> Go To Folder in the menu bar, and type in “/Library”. ?Select the “Backblaze” folder and drag it into the Spotlight preferences “Privacy” tab, and voila!

Read Sebastian’s full post here, or take some time out of your stressful day for some procatination.


12 responses to “A fix for OS X if your mds or mdworker processes are running wild”

  1. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!

  2. Ray Brown Avatar
    Ray Brown

    Hi Justin

    Greetings from Melbourne.
    I have this same MDworker issue and I think you are closer than most to having a solution for me. The system certainly seems to be “going round in circles” and using CPU space almost constantly.
    I’m non technical but have managed to follow your instructions as far as the Spotlight “privacy” page. Unfortunately I’m stuck after that. I can’t seem to find the Backblaze (or its equivalent) file.
    Any chance of a bit of further help? This problem is driving me nuts!!
    Thanks in advance.


  3. Ray Brown Avatar
    Ray Brown

    p.s. loved the NYC analogy

  4. Thank you!

  5. Julian Hermele Avatar
    Julian Hermele

    Just to say thank you for this. My Mac’s hard drive has been buzzing for the last two years almost all the time. Until I found your website I could not find out why or how to fix it.
    In the last two years I have used two online backup services – first Livedrive and now Sugarsync. I had to give up on LiveDrive because my machine was grinding to a halt. Sugarsync has been much better but there is still a lot of constant disk drive chatter. And maybe the problem is nothing to do with LiveDrive or Sugarsync. As you suggest, I have told Spotlight search not to look in the directory that Sugarsync uses – Library/ Application Support/Sugarsync and immediately the drive chattering stopped.
    I will watch to see how it goes and report back but first signs are that the problem has been fixed.

  6. Thanks, it works to prevent the mds in my mac working up to 100% when my external drive pluged in.
    I have add my external drive in spotlights preference “privacy” and all back to normal.

  7. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Mine was doing the same thing with Drop Box. Your the man!

  8. It might be anything like dropbox or any sort of file cloud storage that is always active and ope n i just blocked dropbox and prevented spotlight from searching some other thigngs. I’ve always noticed that spotlight hangs i just never thought about disabling it for certain applications. Smart fix.

  9. Hi, I am having the same problem, I don’t think I have the folder ?Backblaze? in my library. I even did regular search while including the system files as well. I don’t have it. Yet my mdworker processes are eating up my system. :(.

  10. Guardian Bagel Avatar
    Guardian Bagel

    Gana Sagar, try removing the “All My Files” folder from the sidebar in Finder. Worked for me.

  11. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of Backblaze as being the culprit, but the fix was immediate. Thanks for the tip!

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