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Apple Core Rot: Runaway Spotlight (mds_stores Process)

If the Mac is running sluggishly with odd delays and pauses, think “low memory” and/or “runaway process” and particularly Apple Core Rot.

  1. In the Utilities folder (cmd-shift-U in Finder), open Activity Monitor.
  2. Choose All Processes and take a look at what’s going on—% CPU, Real Mem, memory pressure, Disk and Network activity. The columns can be sorted by clicking on the column title.

Here, the MPG Mac Pro has 64GB memory. Apple’s Spotlight (mds_stores process) is consuming 54GB of that memory and causing the virtual memory system to resort to compressed memory. The mds_stores process process is also using an entire CPU core (100% CPU usage of one core).

Everything was feeling sluggish, Apple Mail was not working properly, multi-second delays were seen doing normal things, etc: the system was essentially out of memory and this was causing severe performance issues.

The only fix was to reboot; this persisted for more than two hours before I diagnosed it (being somewhat distracted by phone calls and misc).

mds_stores (Spotlight) consuming all available memory and 100% CPU

William T writes:

Found your post - I’m having the same problem, and your’s is the only mention of this specific issue that I’ve seen. But reboot doesn’t help.

In my case, the run-away mds_stores only seems to occur if Mail is opened.

MPG: the issue has some set of conditions necessary for it to occur on my system. It has not recurred as yet.

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