com.apple.IconServicesAgent using 99% CPU in Mavericks

Message boards : Questions and problems : com.apple.IconServicesAgent using 99% CPU in Mavericks
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Bud
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Message 51825 - Posted: 28 Dec 2013, 2:50:02 UTC

Since upgrading to Mavericks, my computer runs slow. I traced the problem to the process com.apple.IconServicesAgent. This is a system process and I cannot disable it. I have 2 instances of it, one for my login account and one for "user" boinc_manager. The former mostly uses 0% cpu but the latter is pegged at around 99% cpu usage. The only solution I have found so far is to disable BOINC. I will have to leave it disabled until I can find another solution. Shutting down BOINC is not sufficient to solve the problem; it also requires a reboot. So this is a royal pain.

Besides, I have had BOINC running on my various Mac computers for many years. I don't want to shut it down.
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Profile Gary Charpentier
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Message 51829 - Posted: 28 Dec 2013, 16:54:59 UTC - in response to Message 51825.  

Sounds like an Apple bug related to the upgrade.

If you need Mavericks, then do it as a clean install. Otherwise downgrade to the O/S version you had been on that you know is working and wait for Apple to release a bug fix.
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Bud
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Message 51834 - Posted: 30 Dec 2013, 1:52:19 UTC - in response to Message 51829.  

Thanks for the options, Gary. I don't want to do a clean install of Mavericks because it will take me days to reinstall/reconfigure all my apps. I also don't want to revert to Mountain Lion as everything else is working just fine at the moment.

I agree that this is an Apple O/S bug as the Mac forums are abuzz with complaints about com.apple.IconServicesAgent cpu usage although I haven't seen anyone else mention BOINC in this context. Also, no one seems to know if Apple is even aware of this bug let alone working on it.
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Profile Gary Charpentier
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Message 51854 - Posted: 2 Jan 2014, 4:33:00 UTC - in response to Message 51834.  
Last modified: 2 Jan 2014, 4:40:44 UTC

Thanks for the options, Gary. I don't want to do a clean install of Mavericks because it will take me days to reinstall/reconfigure all my apps. I also don't want to revert to Mountain Lion as everything else is working just fine at the moment.

I agree that this is an Apple O/S bug as the Mac forums are abuzz with complaints about com.apple.IconServicesAgent cpu usage although I haven't seen anyone else mention BOINC in this context. Also, no one seems to know if Apple is even aware of this bug let alone working on it.

If no one is mentioning BOINC, then the issue has nothing to do with BOINC. A pure Apple bug. Eventually Apple with get around to fixing it, could be months though.

You could try killing the process and see if that calms the system.
[edit]or renice it to super low priority. Also see someone on the Apple forums has had success if they force quit the finder.

Oh, this sounds like the same kind of bug Safari 5 for windows has, a run away process. Instead of fixing the bug Apple dropped Safari for windows!
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Bud
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Message 51892 - Posted: 5 Jan 2014, 4:01:53 UTC - in response to Message 51854.  

I just discovered that even if I don't launch Boinc, com.apple.IconServicesAgent for "user" boinc-master runs anyway (and uses its normal 99% cpu)! So, I either have to uninstall BOINC or I may as well let it run. I have 8 processors, so draining 100% of 1 processor is not the end of the world. I can notice the slow-down but it is currently only a nuisance. I don't relish restoring BOINC settings if I uninstall it, so I guess I'll just let it be for now.
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Profile Gary Charpentier
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Message 51897 - Posted: 5 Jan 2014, 6:14:19 UTC - in response to Message 51892.  

I just discovered that even if I don't launch Boinc, com.apple.IconServicesAgent for "user" boinc-master runs anyway (and uses its normal 99% cpu)! So, I either have to uninstall BOINC or I may as well let it run. I have 8 processors, so draining 100% of 1 processor is not the end of the world. I can notice the slow-down but it is currently only a nuisance. I don't relish restoring BOINC settings if I uninstall it, so I guess I'll just let it be for now.

Ah, looks like the Unix user number that BOINC uses for the boinc-master account got used by Apple for IconServicesAgent daemon. That might cause issues in the future.

Charlie needs to look at that.

Oh, if I read the purpose of IconServicesAgent correctly once it has indexed all your files on all your drives it should spend 99.99% of its time sleeping.
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Bud
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Message 51914 - Posted: 6 Jan 2014, 1:12:54 UTC - in response to Message 51897.  

I also have a com.apple.IconServicesAgent with me as the user that mostly registers 0% cpu usage. I sometimes also have a com.apple.IconServicesAgent with "user" boinc_project that also always uses around 99% cpu. Plus, I have 2 lsregister processes for users boinc_master and boinc_project that use about 20% cpu each. This amounts to 2.5 of my 8 processeors

If you can tell me how, I'll post an image of Activity Monitor showing this.

If I delete any of the 3 com.apple.IconServicesAgent processes, they immediately regenerate themselves.
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Charlie Fenton
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Message 51915 - Posted: 6 Jan 2014, 11:30:16 UTC - in response to Message 51897.  

Ah, looks like the Unix user number that BOINC uses for the boinc-master account got used by Apple for IconServicesAgent daemon. That might cause issues in the future.

I checked and as far as I can tell Mavericks does not have any other UNIX user ID which conflicts with boinc_master. To test this yourself, enter the following command in the Terminal application:
dscl . list /users UniqueID

Similarly, this command will list all UNIX group IDs:
dscl . list /groups PrimaryGroupID

On advice I received from Apple, BOINC's user and group IDs are greater than 500, as are those for actual (human) users; those defined by UNIX or OS X for applications and daemons are below 500.

In any case, the BOINC installer checks for such conflicts. If it finds a conflict, it changes the boinc_master and/or boinc_project user or group ID to one that does not conflict. So if you suspect there is such a conflict, just run the BOINC installer again.
Charlie Fenton
BOINC / SETI@home Macintosh & Windows Programmer
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Profile Gary Charpentier
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Message 51919 - Posted: 6 Jan 2014, 16:53:14 UTC - in response to Message 51915.  

Ah, looks like the Unix user number that BOINC uses for the boinc-master account got used by Apple for IconServicesAgent daemon. That might cause issues in the future.

I checked and as far as I can tell Mavericks does not have any other UNIX user ID which conflicts with boinc_master. To test this yourself, enter the following command in the Terminal application:
dscl . list /users UniqueID

Similarly, this command will list all UNIX group IDs:
dscl . list /groups PrimaryGroupID

On advice I received from Apple, BOINC's user and group IDs are greater than 500, as are those for actual (human) users; those defined by UNIX or OS X for applications and daemons are below 500.

In any case, the BOINC installer checks for such conflicts. If it finds a conflict, it changes the boinc_master and/or boinc_project user or group ID to one that does not conflict. So if you suspect there is such a conflict, just run the BOINC installer again.

Thanks Charlie. I wonder if the issue Bud is reporting (Apple service running under a Bonic ID) is due to the upgrade to Mavericks from an earlier version. In this case Apple upgrade not checking for a conflict? Or perhaps some error when he did the upgrade? As long as he is the only one reporting it, then it likely isn't an issue with the installer.
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Bud
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Message 51925 - Posted: 7 Jan 2014, 5:14:49 UTC

Thank you Gary and Charlie for all your help. I checked and there was no ID conflict. So, assuming my problem is due to the Mavericks upgrade, I uninstalled BOINC, leaving only the BOINC Data file in the main library/application support. Then I reinstalled it.

SUCCESS, at least for now. I'll continue to monitor, but here's what happened. Installation required a reboot. Shortly thereafter the com,apple.IconServicesAgent process (user boinc_master) appeared and started using various amounts of cpu between about 40% and 60%. After about a minute it settled down to 0%. It has remained at 0% for about 20 minutes now, so hopefully the problem is solved.

I really appreciate all your support.
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Message boards : Questions and problems : com.apple.IconServicesAgent using 99% CPU in Mavericks

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