syslogd off the rails on 10.7.3 - power cycle to fix

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by smithrh, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    I'm pretty sure this will wind up being an isolated incident for me, but I thought I'd document this anyways:

    * 10.7.3
    * 2008 MacBook Unibody, 8G RAM
    * CPU goes to 200% and stays there, syslogd is 175%
    * Fans kick up after a couple of minutes
    * System becomes unresponsive
    - Can't open Console (bouncing in dock only)
    - Can't open Activity Monitor (bouncing in dock only)
    (I use iStat Menus to watch... stats in the... menu bar)
    - Beachball appears
    - Mouse freezes/locks in place
    * Reboot vía power button (sad!)

    After rebooting, there's nothing of note in the Console for the time period in question.

    Oh well. Did a Google search and not much to see. No logs -> nothing to troubleshoot.
  2. TheBoojum macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2012
    Me too.

    I just started seeing this issue on afternoon of 31 Mar 2012.

    Initially I didn't have Activity Monitor or Console running - so I first noticed the fans on my MBP 17" going nuts. Machine was almost completely unresponsive. Beach ball would move but no input was possible: had to power-cycle to get machine back.

    After a couple of these I ran Activity Monitor and noticed syslogd pegged at 100%.

    Then I checked Console. It really wasn't clear which app was going crazy with excess logging - it looks like syslogd is overwhelmed and couldn't even write to disk (SSD in my case).

    I've seen suggestions that one should clear the asl.db because it's too big. Other people have suggested killing syslogd (NO! - some other app is probably the issue). Others have mentioned Time Machine (now disabled). I've been trying to disable anything non-standard (CanoScan 9950F kernel extension, ExpressCard SATA drivers) but no joy.

    In the last iteration I was thinking: maybe it's the iTunes update I just applied (there was a warning in System Log about my wirelessly sync'd iPhone and iPad). The issue occurs even without iTunes running. Maybe it was the background sync? I disabled the "Sync wirelessly" feature for both the devices.

    If anyone could give me guidance for troubleshooting this I'd be really happy. At the moment the machine is only usable in 2h increments - if I'm prepared to power off/on every 2h.
  3. TheBoojum macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2012
    This might be of interest:

    I definitely have an SSD in my MBP (which is experiencing this issue as I note below) but I can't remember which brand/model. So *hopefully* I'm having this problem and can fix it with a firmware update.
  4. smithrh thread starter macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Just FYI, I don't have SSD.

    Also, my issue happened once (end of February) and it - happily - has never come back again.
  5. TheBoojum macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2012
    SSD Firmware needed to be updated

    Lucky for you!

    In my case it seems to have been the exact issue listed in the Apple link I gave earlier. I've updated my SSD (it *is* a Crucial M4) and so far had several hours of normal operation.

    I'll leave the machine on overnight - hopefully that's all that was wrong.
  6. smithrh thread starter macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
  7. TheBoojum macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2012

    Well - I'm a very happy camper today. I'm regarding my issue as fixed.

    If anyone else finds this thread while searching for "excess CPU utilization on Lion 10.7.3. syslogd" then I suggest checking your hard drive - especially if it's an SSD.

    In my case I'm guessing that some process attempted to syslog a message; syslogd couldn't write to the drive because of the firmware error noted on Crucial's website; this in turn caused a message to be logged; which couldn't be written; repeat ad infinitum - which brought the machine to it's knees.

    If you have an SSD in your Mac check the vendor's websites frequently for updated firmware! (I never worried about this with actual hard drives).

    Alternatively - get a good backup of your drive immediately, and do diagnostics from the Recovery partition.
  8. macintoshhowto macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2012
    Same problem here OSX freezing, syslogd, appearing in activity monitor.
    I have Lion 10.7.4

    I upgraded Crucial firmware and all good - THANKYOU!!!!

    Glad I found this thread!

    FYI the firmware updater required my thunderbolt pegasus external drive to be unplugged otherwise it crashed when I got to the type in 'yes' bit.


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