MacOS Spontaneous Disk Activity

Today I noticed my Mac Book Pro (running 10.4.8) was doing a lot of disk activity with the system sitting idle. I could hear the disk accesses and the system was running noticeably slower when I tried using it.

I ran the Activity Monitor (in Utilities) and could see that two processes, mds and mdimport, where doing a lot of processing and their activity also seemed synchronized with the disk activity. With a little web searching, I found these processes do indexing for Spotlight, Apple’s spiffy new search tool in MacOS.

I also found this site that suggests the continuous disk activity could be related to a corrupt Spotlight index. The page also describes how to turn off indexing, delete the spotlight index, and restart indexing. After following these directions and waiting for the index to be rebuilt (mouse over the spotlight icon at the top right of your screen to see whether the indexer is running), my Mac is back to being its happy and reasonably quiet self (as quiet as a Mac Book Pro can be–you may have heard the stories.)

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