Trust us. We really like the ability to search for files or the content of files on our computer. But Mac OS X Spotlight is a total memory hogging piece of crap (especially on older Apple machines). Every time OS X would slow down and the hard drive fan would turn up to full blast, we knew Spotlight was indexing again.
At first, we weren’t sure what was going on. But after we quit all of our applications and still had a slow Macintosh with a fan in total overdrive, we fired up the Activity Monitor app (Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities) and took a closer look. The culprit? A process called MDS was sucking up all of our RAM. MDS stands for “metadata server” and it’s what the Macintosh’s search app, called Spotlight, uses to generate your search results.
But is search worth a painfully slow computer? No thanks. You can use an app called Terminal to disable and re-enable Spotlight’s MDS agent. This MethodShop.com tutorial will show you how…
How to Disable Spotlight & Prevent MDS From Loading
By typing in the code below, you will remove the Spotlight “mds” agent from launchd and prevent it from running or indexing any drives connected to your computer. Open up the Terminal app (Macintosh > Applications > Utilities) and enter the following command:
sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
You can confirm the absence of MDS by opening the Activity Monitor app (Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities) and making sure MDS is not listed under active processes.
How to Enable Spotlight & Reload MDS
Probably the easiest way to reenable Spotlight is to undo what we did above and reload it into launchd using launchctl. Open up the Terminal app again (Macintosh > Applications > Utilities) and type in the following command:
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
After you reload Spotlight, the MDS agent will immediately start running again and start indexing your computer.
Good luck and we hope your computer runs faster in the future!
- How To Update Your iPhone to iOS 5.0.1 Over The Air [tutorial] (methodshop.com)
- How To Cancel Recurring Payments in PayPal [tutorial] (methodshop.com)
- How To Save Your iPod or iPhone from a Toilet [tutorial] (methodshop.com)
- How To Delete Duplicates in iTunes [tutorial] (methodshop.com)
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.