I know it's the spotlight indexing process, but it's been killing my HDD for the last few days and will not stop. The CPU usage is rather low but fs_usage shows that the mds process is doing something the whole time.

I'v tried force quitting it with kill -9 but it will just auto re-spawn and keep killing my HDD.

I'v added all my HDDs into the Spotlight privacy list as well as disabling indexing sudo mdutil -a -i off I'v done several restarts but it keeps on going.

Any ideas on how to stop it from opening and running?


I Managed to stop mds by the following command:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library//LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.*

But after a restart my HDD is still writing ~6MB/s and reading ~500KB/s Any ideas how to find out which process is consuming my HDD? It makes my computer incredible slow.

Update 2:

It only does 3MB/s write now that I have left the computer alone for a while.

Update 3:

It stopped just now for about 5 seconds, then started writing again. I was doing nothing different.

Here is a screenshot of the usage:

hdd usage

  • Could you please elaborate on what you mean by "killing my HDD?"
    – Dustin L.
    Jan 5, 2012 at 5:01
  • You've got to nuke all the existing indexes, and just let Spotlight run once through completely. Also, 6MB/s is not a lot. On average, a hard drive will range from 30MB/s to over 80MB/s on higher-end hardware. Bite the bullet and let it run.
    – user479
    Jan 5, 2012 at 5:03
  • @DustinStalin Just that it uses the HDD so intense that in turn the OS can't do it's day to day tasks. Like run my apps at any decent speed.
    – Mint
    Jan 5, 2012 at 6:08
  • It's still doing a spotlight index?
    – Dustin L.
    Jan 5, 2012 at 6:11
  • @RandolphWest I know it's not, but it must be writing to some odd places to cause such a slow down for 6MB/s, though now it's down to 3MB/s and my computer is still just as slow. mds isn't running anymore so it can't be spotlight.
    – Mint
    Jan 5, 2012 at 6:12

2 Answers 2


Try running the fs_usage in Terminal (must be run as root):

sudo fs_usage

This will start spitting out details of all your disk access right there in the Terminal window. It might go by quickly, but you should at least be able to see the app names accessing the disk.

More info and options for the fs_usage command here.


fseventer is an awesome frontend to the information that fs_usage provides, and enables a better understanding of filesystem activity much quicker than at the command line.

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