Sunday, 3 April 2011

What's going on (in the background)?


When you hear your computer's fans kick in for no apparent reason there is always a good time to check up on what's going on in the background that is driving the CPU to work hard and thus kicking the fans to start in order to cool the working and heating up CPU. Or sometimes when the computer seems to be acting slow, there could be some application or process that is causing the system to slow down. It's time to take a look at the processes (not to be confused with processors) running on your system
Today's culprit is Finder, which is OS X's file explorer that you use to navigate folders in order to find / open / manage your documents and files.
Finder what are you up to using 99.2 CPU usage?
Finder what are you up to using 99.2 CPU usage?

It was using 99.2% of my CPU core's cycles. I closed the 2 Finder windows and my fans stopped in due time. The reason you want to stop this kind of behaviour is that it slows down your system and also causes a lower battery life as it is processing something in the background. I saw no reason for it to behave this way, I closed the windows. If you are encoding/rendering a video you will expect some application to be using the CPU cycles and thus closing that program will cause that action to fail, thus don't just willy nilly close any application that is using CPU cycles.
To view current CPU usage by processes
  • Mac: Open Terminal and type "top -o cpu"  (without the quotation marks) and press Enter
  • Linux: Open the Terminal / Console and type "top" and press Enter
  • Windows: Press Control + Shift + Escape > Click "Processes" tab
    Windows Task Manager - Processes Tab
    Windows Task Manager - Processes Tab
To close misbehaving applications
  • Mac & Linux: "kill -9 PID"  and if that doesn't work "sudo kill -9 PID" (PID is the number under the PID column in the "top" output)
  • Windows: select the process and click the "End Process" button
Hopefully this will help you kill some misbehaving applications and help increase your battery life when you're out and about.

Written By Timothy Lim