My activity monitor is showing me a nameless process ("Process Name" column in activity monitor is blank) - which seems to keep spawning new, extremely short lived, nameless processes

Neither top nor ps -fu seem to list the process.

kill -9 <process id> tells me there's no such process id.

Yet I keep seeing the process in activity monitor, it keeps spawning short lived children there, and the thrashing of my CPU seems to have led to my (otherwise idle) laptop to start up its fans.


  • Do you see any related messages in system.log using Console.app? May 1, 2014 at 12:27
  • @GrahamMiln how do i check that? May 1, 2014 at 12:33
  • Open Console in your Utility folder, then look for system.log on the left side.
    – Ruskes
    May 1, 2014 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


Things to try:

  • check info button in Activity monitor - it may show you what this process actually is
  • if it's spawning new processes, that looks like something got stuck in infinite loop
  • you can also check the sample of the process (in Activity Monitor click on System Diagnostics Option -> Sample process
  • if you have such rogue process and are unable to kill it reboot should help (unless that is some malicious app doing it on purpose)
  • if none of the above helps and you've installed some new app recently, try to uninstall it, reboot, check if it's still there and maybe reinstall
  • check system.log (it's a regular file, you can check it using Console.app, or any other terminal emulator app) - you can do cat /var/log/system.log or start this command and check what is being logged: tail -f /var/log/system.log (Ctrl+C to stop)
  • looks like a google chrome process gone rogue/stuck in an infinite loop (my internet connection's been wonky so not entirely surprised). rebooting disposed of the process, and it hasn't come back. May 1, 2014 at 14:44

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