I saw an issue with my MacBook Pro running El Capitan with Chrome running that the kernel_task went haywire and started sucking up all the available CPU and the % cpu just kept climbing to where it was in the 30,000+% range and the computer was nearly completely unresponsive. Eventually, I had to force a reboot, because the shutdown command appeared to be making no progress. On reboot, it restarted chrome automatically, and again, the cpu started climbing. I forced reboot a second time, and Chrome did not relaunch, the computer started running more normally, I was able to relaunch chrome and not reload the tabs and all seems ok now. What was going on? Was there some kind of malware or virus coming in through a website on one of the Chrome tabs? I have Sophos anti-virus installed and running on this machine. Should I be concerned that my machine is somehow compromised now?

Is there a way to determine what program, driver, or plug-in is causing the high CPU load?

  • 1
    have a look at apple.stackexchange.com/questions/179150/…
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 18, 2016 at 16:02
  • @Tetsujin That must be what the issue was, overheating.
    – WilliamKF
    Jun 18, 2016 at 16:21
  • Should we delete this question or keep it?
    – WilliamKF
    Jun 18, 2016 at 16:22
  • We can keep it & link it as a duplicate - which gives Google a greater chance of finding the answer in future. I'll vote to close as a dupe; it doesn't reflect on the quality of the question, merely links it to an existing one with a highly-voted answer.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 18, 2016 at 16:39
  • 1
    @WilliamKF In short, user can run a spindump on a kernel_task process (which is an umbrella process for all drivers and many core services), look for abnormally high subprocess cpu_time, and precisely determine, which driver causes high CPU load. Which sort of answers the question above, but not the question it was linked to.
    – Sergei
    Jun 23, 2016 at 8:45


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