I am currently having problems with kernal_task using ~2GB of RAM and looking at what advice exists I ran sysdiagnose and in powermeterics.txt I found that Vector 0xdd(TMR) was doing ~20,000 interrupts/sec. However, this vector was different than the one the advice that I was looking at suggested would be the problem.

However, clearly this happening is also a problem.

However, when I'm trying to look for what Vector 0xdd(TMR) does, all that I find are the results relating what the advice suggest that the other problem because it is more common and that all the Vectors are often copied together when asking what is going wrong.

So what does this Vector do and now I would go about fixing the fact that it is doing ~20,000 interrupts/sec?

EDIT: While I currently still don't know what is caused this issue, it was resolved by Vladimir's answer below.

  • What is the observable impact of your problem on your ability to use your computer in the way you want to? You say that kernel_task is using 2 GB of RAM; how do you know that (what did you use to figure that out), and how do you know that is a problem? At least on some other operating systems, it's not necessarily a problem. – D.W. Aug 3 '14 at 3:02
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    The highest level problem that I'm having is that in the Activity Monitor (where I also got the 2GB number) it doesn't take much to bring the Memory Pressure to Yellow causing the computer to be slow. I figure I can improve this by reducing the process with the consistently highest RAM which is kernal_task. In addition, if something is causing it to use more than it should then why shouldn't I fix it so the RAM is used in more important places? As for this exact problem, I do admit that I don't know if that is the cause of this. It just looks to be the most likely cause at the moment. – robertzi7 Aug 3 '14 at 3:26
  • possible duplicate of kernel_task using *way* too much memory – D.W. Aug 3 '14 at 3:41
  • See also apple.stackexchange.com/q/106444/24154, apple.stackexchange.com/q/106697/24154, apple.stackexchange.com/q/107126/24154, and apple.stackexchange.com/q/89576/24154. You might try the suggestions listed there to see if they help. – D.W. Aug 3 '14 at 3:49
  • I would argue that this isn't a duplicate, as it is asking about a more specific problem that might be the cause of the more general problem of kernel_task using too much RAM. If the mods disagree with me on this, I will not argue further. At the same time I think only the first link [the possible duplicate] came up in my searches. Thank you very much for directing me to the others and I'll see if they help with my more general problem. – robertzi7 Aug 3 '14 at 3:55

I have two other suggesting that also helped me fix issues that I was having. Both of them are pretty easy too (no need to mess with any system files or change plist or anything else like that).

1) Go to the Disk Utility app on your computer and press the buttons in following picture in the order that they are numbered. This will make OSX scan your hard disk and attempt to fix any potential file permission problems you may have. If this doesn't fix the memory issue, it should a least make your computer run a little smoother. I find that doing this one in a while really helps performance on my computer (which is fairly new by the way, so this helps even on relatively resent systems).

(PS. 1(b) is optional, most likely it will be grayed out anyway unless you run the Disk Utility app from Network Recovery Mode or while running off a separate hard drive.)

<Repair disk permissions with the Disk Utility app OSX>

2) If you have antivirus installed on your Mac and you turned on the Scan Archives option, turn it off. The reason this feature is not on by default is that it affects the computer's performance a lot any time you run a local java program. It sounds like a really cool thing to have on, but it comes with a serious performance draw.

I'm not sure if this will help free up your RAM, but if nothing else helps, this is a quick and easy way to speed up your computer. :)

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  • Ah, some things are definitely going wrong with the first one. If I'm going to be doing things as small as my question then I might as well do this as well. – robertzi7 Aug 3 '14 at 6:26
  • Yes, the first time I did this, it found a lot of things. The good part is that it will fix most of them on it it's own. There are a couple though that it either can't fix, or they just come back right away. But, in my experience, those last remaining issues didn't seem to matter too much so I just ignored them. :) – Vladimir Aug 3 '14 at 6:32
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    Not only did this solve the larger problem of kernel_task using a high amount of RAM [currently it is under 700MB... and it is still rising a bit it looks like it will probably be under 800MB] but it also solved the issue of Vector 0xdd(TMR) doing 20k interrupts per second (whatever it did / whatever the reason why it was happening). Thank you very much for suggesting this. – robertzi7 Aug 3 '14 at 7:08
  • Mission accomplished! :) Glad to help! :) – Vladimir Aug 3 '14 at 7:13
  • PS. Thanks for bringing up that trick about running sysdiagnose and then checking powermeterics.txt. I just did that too and found that my interrupts were a little high also. So I'm probably going to run the Disk Utility myself tomorrow since I haven't ran it for a while now. Good night! :) – Vladimir Aug 3 '14 at 7:18

I'm not familiar with the vector that you mentioned, but I think I know how to fix the problem with your kernel using a lot of memory.

I found that my pc uses way too much RAM too whenever I have a lot of icons on my desktop. This also happened when I have few files, but they are large in size.

As far as I understand, this happens because OSX pre-catches a lot of file into RAM so they load faster when you use them.

I found that the easiest way to fix this is to put all of the file I have on my desktop into another folder. As far as I can tell, the OS doesn't catch folders or their contents until you open them.

Hope this helps! :)

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  • I've seen a large number of things that have been attributed to the larger problem of "kernal_task using too much RAM". While I am still much more interested in the cause that I was initially looking into I thank you for your suggestion and will add it on to the list of things that D.W. suggested. – robertzi7 Aug 3 '14 at 4:47
  • Ok sure, but before you try any big changes or major fixes, just try my suggestion really quick. It worked really well on my computer, so there's a chance it might help you too, especially if you have lots of things things on your desktop like I do. – Vladimir Aug 3 '14 at 5:11
  • You don't even need to shutdown your computer for this ;). Just dump all of you files into a folder, and then sign-out and sign-in again so you can be sure it cleared the ram. :) – Vladimir Aug 3 '14 at 5:13
  • I never said that I wouldn't try your idea, simply that I was still interested in my original question and doing D.W.'s suggestions first :p While your suggestion did help with the initial RAM amount a little, I can already see it increasing steadily so I guess it will take a few minutes to see if it settles lower than it was before. – robertzi7 Aug 3 '14 at 5:29
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    Well... it has settled at ~1.8GB, so slight improvement but there is a chance I can do better if I can find out how to resolve this question. – robertzi7 Aug 3 '14 at 5:50

The app in this post is similar to the old OSX 10.8 RAM-pie-chart that used to show how your RAM was being used. If nothing else worked, run this program and see what colors it's showing.

Lots of blue = a lot of files and apps are being cached into ram. Lots of yellow/red = some programs are being memory hogs.

In either case, I have some more suggestions that might be able to help. But I'll save those for later if we need them. :)

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