Forum Question: Kernel Task eating up memory

I noticed my MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo, 8GB RAM) started slowing down today. I checked the activities in Activity Monitor… And it shows that Kernel Task is using a lot of memory (slowly climbed from 110Mb to over 300!)… I’ve already tried rebooting, shutting down and booting, PRAM reset, nothing works. What can I do?

Comments: 10 Responses to “Kernel Task eating up memory”

    6/15/11 @ 7:42 am

    A Kernel task going from 110 to 300MB of memory use doesn’t sound like much. I’d look and see what else you have going on. What else is running? Are you almost out of disk space? Have you tried some of the other suggestions in episode 349:

    6/15/11 @ 9:04 am

    Right now it’s using 449Mb. The apps I have currently open are: Parallels (running Windows 7), Safari and Activity monitor. That’s it. And when I created this thread, Parallels wasn’t running. I have 130GB of disk space left, which should be plenty. I’ll have a look at that link now.

    6/15/11 @ 9:11 am

    Weird thing is that even though the Kernel Task is using up about 450Mb right now, my MacBook isn’t slowing down like it did a couple hours ago.

      6/15/11 @ 9:13 am

      Kernel task usage is usually tied to peripherals. Which devices are attached? Printers? USB? Bluetooth? Etc.

    6/15/11 @ 1:03 pm

    A USB Hub is connected to it. An external drive is connected to the hub. Bluetooth is turned on (for Magic Mouse). Hooked the Mac up to an external monitor through Mini-Displayport. External Speakers are attached to it as well.

    I’ve removed the usb hub… no difference. Haven’t tried the other stuff… yet. I’ll keep you up-to-date.

    Thanks for the suggestions, Gary.

    6/16/11 @ 1:45 am

    I uninstalled a kernel extension called NTFS-3G (it allows you to read/write NTFS volumes). It seems it was the culprit. The kernel task is now consuming 130mb. I also had Sophos AV installed, I uninstalled it, but I don’t think that was part of the problem because my father’s iMac also has Sophos installed, and his iMac’s kernel task was only 80mb.

    Could it be that since my MacBook Pro has now 8GB Ram installed that certain system processes will take up more memory than when it had less memory installed? Just curious.


      6/16/11 @ 6:44 am

      Ah, yes, a kernel extension could do that. Makes sense.
      As for the difference between 80MB and 130MB for the kernel, I wouldn’t worry about that at all. Maybe it is the extra memory, sure. But more importantly how is the performance of your Mac? If it is fine, then don’t about the exact amount of memory used by the kernel.

    5/31/12 @ 11:29 am

    I’m having the same slow performance on my Mac mini. The kernel_task is taking up to 546 MB. I have my external hard drive, a monitor, and bluetooth for my magic mouse; no printers attached. I’ve got chrome and twitter applications open. Would really appreciate any advise.

    10/13/12 @ 1:56 pm

    hi guys,

    i just put in 16 gigs in my macbook pro running mountain lion and it s using 1.44 gigs atm. you re soo cute with your 300 mb *sneering*

    well yeah. i don’t care anymore since i got enough memory, but anyway. i m a heavy mac user, usually using lots of programs at the same time, so i guess it come from those little gadgets i use like alfred, dash, cobook, dropbox, sparrow, etc…

    greetz caschque

      10/13/12 @ 1:57 pm

      sry i said it wrong i m just using lion 10.7.5 and the 1.44 gigs are referring as kernel_task only. atm i ve got around 8 gigs that are used.

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