Managing "Background Processes" in Panther

Discussion in 'Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) Discussion' started by Plutonique9, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. Plutonique9 macrumors newbie


    Aug 23, 2004
    I used to love running an extremely refined OS9 operating system & having dedicated extension sets to squeeze out every last bit of performance I could from my Mac. If I was using audio/music applications I would only have extensions & control panels that were absolutley necessary for my needs, same was true for graphics and video....or games.

    But of course, OS X is the inevitable direction I must & have been taking. I don't really have top of the line hardware (500mhz G3 Pismo) but it's enough to do what i need to do (Audio, Photoshop, basic Video).

    One thing that bugs me about OSX, however, is that there isn't too much you can do to tweak performance (Operating System-wise). Sure, I got 1gb RAM and turn off all the eye candy and font smoothing and shadowing......but there is still all those damn "Background Processes" that bug me.

    If anyones installed "ProcessWizard", it will show you all the processes & applications that are running in OS X. When looking in the "Non User Processes", there is a list of about 30 processes which are running. If I was running Windows 2000, I could easily select which processes I would want to load at startup but I haven't been able to figure out how to do this with OS X. Yeah, you can kill individual processes through "ProcessWizard".....but I really don't want to have to go through that tedious routine everytime i startup my Powerbook.

    Isn't there any utilities that are available which will allow me to control which background processes will load when I boot OS X? I'm positive that they are all consuming resources (no matter how negliable) and that they are not all necessary all the time, so I would really love to trim the excess fat. While this isn't to critical for stuff like Photoshop, for realtime applications (such as low latency audio, midi and Audio applications) timing is very critical and I think that i could improve the situation on my slowish Powerbook if i could scale it down, just like OS 9. Also on that matter, what about extensions or .kexts? There are 191 .kext files in my OS X extensions folder. Doesn't that have some sought of impact on performance, or does it make 0% difference having hardware extensions that don't apply to your specific mac occupying that folder?

    Thanks, any insight would be appreciated.

  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Well, first of all, the kext files that don't apply don't do anything, so no biggie there.

    Second, why install ProcessWizard when Applications->Utilities->Activity Monitor does it already?

    Third, using Activity Monitor, it seems like the overall drain on my system due to hidden processes is nearly zero, and I'd hate to destabilize my system to gain a fraction of 1% of performance improvement. My CPU idles at about 4% usage when not doing anything, and that's due mainly to Activity Monitor itself. Without it, I'd assume idle to be closer to 1-2% CPU. Noise.
  3. Quark macrumors regular

    Jan 9, 2002
    Plutonique9, I want to know too.

    I don't have an answer for you, but I do the exact same thing on my WinTel boxes (WinTel necessary for some of the work I do,ugh - a necessary evil so we can make products that learn from others mistakes).

    I would really like to know how to learn about these processes and then disable the ones that are not needed.

    Anyone have any good info on this topic?

  4. boomtopper macrumors member


    Mar 25, 2004
    UK Huddersfield
    Load up the terminal and type top.
    top will give you a list of processes and how much resources they consume.
    You will notice there is a column called PID. This is the os id of the process.
    To quit top just press 'q'. If you want to quit a process type in terminal kill -9 and then the PID number for the process. I hope this works for you.
  5. cb911 macrumors 601


    Mar 12, 2002
    BrisVegas, Australia
    those 'background' processes are there for a reason. if you really do want to get rid of them, killing them one by one is the only way to tell if one you just killed was vital to your systems operation.

    once you've determined which processes you can safely kill, i guess you could make a start-up script that will kill those processes, or you could make it into an AppleScript or something.

    but i'm warning you, you probably don't want to be doing that...

    but let us know how it goes if you do annihilate your processes. :D

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