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John T. F.
John T. F., Mac Druid
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2352
Experience:  20+ years in the computer/Mac industry
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kernal_task >300% . What should I do?

Resolved Question:

kernal_task >300% . What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Hello! My name isXXXXX will work diligently to provide accurate advice and information.

Can you tell me what version of OS X you are currently running?

Click the Apple Logo in the menubar at the top of the screen

Select "About This Mac"

In the window that opens, look for the "Version" information. Please let me know what it says.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

version 10.7.5

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, George.

Please try the following and see it shows any improvement. If it doesn't, reply back and we'll look into it further.

1)
Restart your Mac

As soon as you hear the Startup chime, press and hold the SHIFT key

Continue to hold the Shift key until you see the Apple logo and progress indicator.

Then, let go of the Shift key and let it boot to the Desktop.

See if kernal_task is behaving. If so, restart and allow your MacBook to boot normally and verify all is good. If not;

2)
Restart the Mac

As soon as you hear the startup chime, press and hold the following keys;

COMMAND, OPTION, P, R

Hold them until you hear the chime a second time and then release the keys and allow the Mac to boot normally.

See if kernal_task is behaving. If not;

3)
Shut down the Mac.

Plug in the power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

Press the power button to turn on the Mac.

See if kernal_task is behaving. If not;

4)
Shutdown your Mac.

Restart and, as soon as you hear the startup chime, hold COMMAND + R keys until you see the Apple logo and progress indicator (Alternative: press the “OPTION” key at boot and select the “Recovery HD" option in the menu). If neither of those work, try COMMAND + R + OPT.

Wait for “OS X Utilities” menu to appear (DO NOT CHOOSE TO INSTALL)

Choose Disk Utility from the available options.

In Disk Utility, select your normal, bootable hard drive volume from the list in the sidebar (usually "Macintosh HD").

Then, Click "Repair Disk"

If it finds errors, repeat the process until it reports the drive is OK.

Next, click "Repair Disk Permissions"

Then, restart your Mac and it should boot back into your normal Desktop.

If you continue to have questions on this topic, just reply back to this discussion. I will be more than happy to work with you further. Hopefully, this info will answer your question. If so please, please remember that when you are asked to give a rating, you are rating my personal service only and not this website itself or your issue.

Thanks and good luck,
John
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

assuming I did everything correctly, none of these worked.


 


When I tried "1)", kernal_task behaved in safe mode, but went right back up when I restarted in regular mode. None of the other options ("2)" through "4)") seemed to make any difference. The disk repair did not show any errors in the disk.

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the update, George. Does kernal_task behave differently when running off battery as opposed to being plugged in?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No. Same % usage (around 320%, give or take) whether plugged in or not.

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Ok and do you have anything else plugged into the MacBook (External drive, etc...)?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Nothing physically plugged in, no.


 


There is a printer networked through an AirPort. (Incidentally, tried to print something today and the job never printed. That's unusual.)

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Alright and was the software changed in any way recently (Installed new app, updated OS X, etc...)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Installed an updated version of Adobe Flash a day or two ago. That's all, I think.


 


I'm overdue to install a couple of updates distributed by Apple for security fixes, MS Word updates, etc.

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Does kernal_task misbehave as soon as the MacBook boots to desktop?

Also, click the Apple Logo in the menubar at the top of the screen

Select "About This Mac"

In the window that opens, look for the "Version" information. Then, repeatedly click on the word "Version" until it says "Serial Number" and please provide that number.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes, it does.


 


C1MGQ1BSDV14

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. Let's run the Apple Hardware test and see if it reports anything unusual;

Shutdown and then restart your MacBook.

Press and hold the D key before the gray startup screen appears.

It takes a minute or so for AHT to start up and when the process is complete, select your language and click the right arrow.

The AHT console should appear. You can choose which sort of test or tests to perform:
  • To perform all of the basic tests, click the Test button or press the "T" key or the Return key. To perform a more thorough diagnostic test, select the "Perform extended testing" checkbox under the Test button before you click the Test button.

Let's go with the extended test. Your test results should appear in the window in the bottom-right of the console.


To exit AHT, click Restart or Shut Down at the bottom of the window and report back with any findings.

John
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi John,


 


Picking up this thread from last night. It took a while to do the "extended test" under AHT. The test, once it finished, said there were "No Problems Found."


 


So, to summarize:


 


Tried suggestion (1) - starting in safe mode - and in safe mode the kernal_task behaved normally and took up minimal CPU. But when I restarted out of the safe mode and booted up in normal mode, the kernal_task went back to eating 300%+ of CPU.


 


No other start-up related fixes had any effect.


 


Neither the disk repair nor the AHT showed any problems/repair issues.


 


So, what now?

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
While it isn't definitive, that's good news on the AHT at this point.

Are you running any sort of 3rd party anti-virus/anti-malware/firewall apps?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No. Maybe I should be?

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
I dont think that's the issue here but my concern was that certain "on-access" antivirus scanners can cause extreme resource loads such as this.

Open the Terminal app located in Applications/Utilities.

Copy or drag -- do not type -- the line below into the Terminal window, then press return:

kextstat -kl | awk '!/com\.apple/{printf "%s %s\n", $6, $7}'
Open the Terminal app located in Applications/Utilities.

Paste back the lines of output (if any) that appear below what you just entered.

John
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No output.

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Okay, repeat with each of the three following commands. They are each a single line and press return after each one. Paste back the lines of output (if any) that appear after each. You may be prompted for a password, this is just your normal admin account password. ---

sudo launchctl list | sed 1d | awk '!/0x|com\.(apple|openssh|vix)|org\.(x|postfix|ntp|cups)/{print $3}'


launchctl list | sed 1d | awk '!/0x|com\.apple|org\.(x|openbsd)/{print $3}'


ls -1A /e*/mach* {,/}L*/{Ad,Compon,Ex,Fram,In,Keyb,La,Mail/Bu,P*P,Priv,Qu,Scripti,Servi,Spo,Sta}* L*/Fonts 2> /dev/null


John

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok.

For the first one, after entering my password, it returned the following:

com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

For the second one:

com.citrix.ServiceRecords
com.citrix.AuthManager_Mac
com.google.keystone.user.agent
com.adobe.ARM.202f4087f2bbde52e3ac2df389f53a4f123223c9cc56a8fd83a6f7ae

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

For the third one:

/Library/Components:
/Library/Extensions:
/Library/Frameworks:
AEProfiling.framework
AERegistration.framework
AudioMixEngine.framework
NyxAudioAnalysis.framework
PluginManager.framework
iTunesLibrary.framework
/Library/Input Methods:
/Library/Internet Plug-Ins:
AdobePDFViewer.plugin
AdobePDFViewerNPAPI.plugin
CitrixICAClientPlugIn.plugin
JavaAppletPlugin.plugin
Quartz Composer.webplugin
QuickTime Plugin.plugin
SharePointBrowserPlugin.plugin
SharePointWebKitPlugin.webplugin
Silverlight.plugin
nsIQTScriptablePlugin.xpt
/Library/Keyboard Layouts:
/Library/LaunchAgents:
com.citrix.AuthManager_Mac.plist
com.citrix.ServiceRecords.plist
/Library/LaunchDaemons:
com.apple.remotepairtool.plist
com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper.plist
/Library/PreferencePanes:

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

continuation: JavaControlPanel.prefpane
/Library/PrivilegedHelperTools:
com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper
/Library/QuickLook:
iWork.qlgenerator
/Library/QuickTime:
AppleIntermediateCodec.component
AppleMPEG2Codec.component
/Library/ScriptingAdditions:
/Library/Spotlight:
Microsoft Office.mdimporter
iWork.mdimporter

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Are you receiving these?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm having trouble pasting the final part of the response to the third command.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Continued part of response I got to the third command:


 


Library/StartupItems:


 


etc/mach_init.d:


etc/mach_init_per_login_session.d:


 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Here's the rest:


 


 


etc/mach_init_per_user.d:


Library/Address Book Plug-Ins:
SkypeABDialer.bundle
SkypeABSMS.bundle


Library/Fonts:


Library/Input Methods:
.localized


Library/Internet Plug-Ins:


Library/Keyboard Layouts:


Library/LaunchAgents:
com.adobe.ARM.202f4087f2bbde52e3ac2df389f53a4f123223c9cc56a8fd83a6f7ae.plist
com.apple.AddressBook.ScheduledSync.PHXCardDAVSource.04FB7A42-D550-4577-AACB-082B382FEC27.plist
com.google.keystone.agent.plist


Library/PreferencePanes:


 


 

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Looks like it is coming through ok. I'm on dinner break right now (6:30 here ) but will look over everything as soon as I get back.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No worries. Thanks.
Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Okay, and one more terminal command, please:

osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to get name of every login item'


Thanks,
Johh
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

iTunesHelper

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. XXXXX don't see anything readily amiss in the results. Can you create a new user account and try logging in there to see if the same issue occurs? I'd like to verify its a system issue and not one isolated to a single user account.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Same problem occurs with a new user account.

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Alright. Can you please download the trial for iStat Menus:

http://bjango.com/mac/istatmenus/

This utility should feature a "Sensors" menu. I'd like you to load that up and see what it gives for fan speed, if possible.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Around 2000 rpm.


 


Cool app.

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks George. This is quite an unusual issue. Signs are pointing toward software but nothing sticks out as being particularly troublesome.

You mentioned having outstanding software updates. Can you please do these plus tempoaraily uninstall Adobe Flash Player and Silverlight?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

All done. No effect.


 


Should I just backup and then reinstall OSX?

Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Normally, I would be reluctant to recommend a fresh install however, I think in this case it may be the quickest way to a final answer.

I would recommend a completely new install after erasing the hard drive.

If it behaves OK, then slowly add back in your apps, etc...

If you need guidance on erasing the drive prior to install;

Shutdown your Mac.

Restart and, as soon as you hear the startup chime, hold COMMAND + R keys until you see the Apple logo and progress indicator (Alternative: press the “OPTION” key at boot and select the “Recovery HD" option in the menu). If neither of those work, try COMMAND + R + OPT.

Wait for “OS X Utilities” menu to appear (DO NOT CHOOSE TO INSTALL)

Choose Disk Utility from the available options.

In Disk Utility, select your normal, bootable hard drive volume from the list in the sidebar (usually "Macintosh HD").

Choose the Erase tab.

Name your hard drive on the right side (usually "Macintosh HD") and choose "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" as the format.

Next click Erase.

When finished, quit Disk Utility and install OS X.

John
Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Howdy!


I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. If you need further assistance on this or other issues, please let me know.


Thanks,
John
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi John. I haven't had time yet to do the erase and reinstall. Not having done one before, I don't know what to expect when I start restoring applications. Will I just be able to pull them from Time Machine back onto my hard drive?
Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
Hi George,

If they are applications that were originally installed by drag and drop then that would be fine. If they were installed by an installer then you would likely need to use the installer once more as it may have placed files outside of the Applications folder.

Time Machine is best at restoring personal files OR a complete system.

However, I have one more thing for you to try before re-installing, it might have no effect but at this point I think its worth a shot.

1) Open System Information (under Apple icon in upper-left, click About This Mac, click More Info)

 

2) Click System Report button, under Hardware, find your "Model Identifier" -remember this for use in step 6.

 

3) Navigate to /System/Library/Extensions and locate IOPlatformPluginFamily.kext right-click and select Show Package Contents

 

4) Open Contents/PlugIns and locate ACPI_SMC_PlatformPlugin.kext right-click and select Show Package Contents

 

5) Open Contents/Resources

 

6) Find your MacBookAir?_?.plist (? = your model identifier from step 2) and delete the file

 

7) Restart!

John
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well what do you know. It worked! What did we just do?
Expert:  John T. F. replied 1 year ago.
OS X has a power management feature that includes per-model custom instructions that may override the default configuration.

In rare instances the configuration included in OS X Lion and intended for your model of MacBook seems to cause the system to poll the CPU for temperature data MUCH more often than it should, in fact repeatedly to the point that it drives the CPU usage through the roof as you saw.

By removing that file, the system now uses default parameters to manage the energy saving features. This should not be detrimental under normal operating conditions and you can verify this by looking at the sensor readings in the previous iStat utility which would alert you to any improper operation.

This configuration file may be replaced by a newer version in a future update, as well, which cures this problem.

John
John T. F., Mac Druid
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2352
Experience: 20+ years in the computer/Mac industry
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