Why are there so many processes running?!?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by FleurDuMal, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    London Town

    I always thought that OSX was supposed to have very few processes running, but I seem to have an awful lot. I was just wondering whether this was normal?!? Or is my MB ill?


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  2. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    its normal, all the OS are complicated, osx/win/lin all have a bunch of processes at any time.
  3. Schroedinger macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm not sure about this, but I think some of the stability of Unix based systems, like OS X and Linux, is that there are so many small processes taking care of different tasks, and if one breaks down it doesn't take the entire system with it.
  4. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Well kind of like that. I'd say the main reason is that each of these smaller processes has been tested to death and they know they won't fail. UNIX works by pipelining the output of one process to another. So instead of one big program doing all the work (complicated and easy to break), you have lots of smaller ones which all feed through to each other (all of which you know are stable in themselves).
  5. Queso Suspended

    Mar 4, 2006
    OSX is meant to be modular. I see nothing on that list that shouldn't be there, so don't worry about it.
  6. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
  7. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    Normal. Anything with a "d" on the end is usually a "daemon" (not to be confused with "demon") ... these are processes which wait in the background for some event to occur, and then spawn a process to handle that event. "launchd", for instance, is the launch daemon. It ensures that certain, critical processes are always running. For instance, if the Dock crashes, launchd will notice that the Dock isn't running and will restart it.

    As others have said, Unix was generally designed with the principle of creating small pieces of code that do a specific task very well. These small programs are easier to maintain and ensure correctness. Unix provides several different ways for these small programs to easily communicate with other programs, so that you can chain them together to do much more complex tasks.
  8. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Most of those are system processes you don't need to worry about. Just change the view to "My Processes" and calm thyself. :)
  9. mikinct2 macrumors newbie


    Jan 27, 2016
    Thing is that older OS X like Snow Leopard only had 40 active processes running & that version ran incredibly faster on the same hardware. I've installed both Mavericks, Yosemite & El Capitan and those 3 versions
    run well over 150-200 active processes with fresh install.

    Issue is my same hardware now "requires" additional ram, faster SSD hard drive just to run as fast as
    previous OS X versions today-

    I'd like a way service window in the next OS X to offer (switching off) every daemon that you don't need.
    The same way a video game allows its users to switch off lower graphics and such.

    I'd love the next version of OS X to offer 40 active processes from fresh install & have (optional)
    check boxes if you wish to click all the bells and whistles. Wonder how many processes came over during
    the switch from 32 bit OS to full 64 bit OS?
  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Things were simpler in olden days. New features spawn new processes. Sign out of iCloud. Go through System Preferences and turn off all that new-fangled stuff. Ditch Notifications. Get yourself a USB keyboard and mouse, then turn off Bluetooth. Run an Ethernet cable to your router, and turn off Wi-Fi. Avoid web sites with multimedia content, and any kind of online financial/shopping activity....

    Funny, every new version of every new OS is worse than the last. If that were truly the case, computers would have stopped working altogether about 30 years ago. What happens is, we can't expect old computers to do the same amount of work new machines can, but we also don't want to replace our computers every couple of years. People bitch if their old machine can't run the latest OS, and they expect the new OS, with all its new features, to make their old machine run like new. Welcome to the Land of Unreasonable Expectations. Yet Apple does incorporate performance-boosting features in new versions of the OS. For older systems, that may simply compensate for the load added by new features, but in other cases...

    I update my OS regularly, because I like having new features and new software that may depend on that new OS. I know that it comes at a cost. I consider it a miracle that my early 2008 iMac (5GB RAM) runs El Capitan well. It took some work on my part to get it working well - cleaning out obsolete startup items, erase HDD/reinstall OS X/restore from backup... But nothing in life is maintenance-free. Fact of the matter is, it works much better today than it did three or maybe even five years ago. Clearly, the OS wasn't to blame for all the performance issues I'd been having, and it just may deserve some of the credit for today's performance.

    You are never going to have some sort of GUI-based method for switching off daemons (other than Activity Monitor - feel free to quit as many processes as you please, and then see how quickly they return when you actually try to do something with the computer). To make a knowledgable decision, you would actually have to understand what they did, what apps and processes depend upon them, what app you may load a minute from now may depend on them... which nearly nobody does. Daemons and those other processes you see in Activity Monitor are the building blocks of everything you're trying to do. People would end up switching stuff off willy-nilly and come here (or call Apple) complaining that their apps and machines don't work. It's Reason #1 why Apple hides so much stuff from users. The problem isn't monkeys with typewriters, it's monkeys with hammers.

    And thinking that X-number of processes is some sort of magic number is as simple-minded as it gets. A process can present a heavy load to the system, or a light load. The goal is to never use more resources than are necessary for the tasks at hand. Modularization is more likely to accomplish that than consolidation. A large, consolidated process that must run in order to execute Tasks A, B, or C may end up running at times when you only need to execute Task C. Modularization is what allows Macs built in 2008, equipped with 2GB RAM, to run a 2015-vintage OS. Little bites, instead of great, big, whopping chunks.

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