We all love it when our computers are running seamlessly with little or no annoying issue. However, like every other technology product, we sometimes encounter these problems that often get us sad.
These issues range from our hardware to the software. On rare occasions, we encounter software problems that affect the hardware, such as the mds_stores on Mac and high CPU consumption.
When this error occurs, that seamless surfing that you enjoyed ceases, and your machine severely slows down. Most times, your system overheats and places more pressure on your cooling fan.
If you are at this juncture, don’t fret, this article will show you how to solve that annoying problem, but first, let’s get to know more about it.
What is the mds_stores process?
The mds stand for MetaData Server; it is a background process that is often associated with Mac’s Spotlight. No doubt, the mds_stores was created for good, but sometimes it does more than is expected, resulting in 90% – 100% consumption of the CPU process, which makes your Mac slow down unnecessarily.
How this happens is, Spotlight by default, makes searching on your Mac computer easy; what it does is, with the help of the mds, mds_stores, and mdworker process, it indexes all the data that are in your hard drive. Hence, you easily find whatever you want with a simple search on Spotlight.
Why does it take long to index?
We can agree that Spotlight is a unique and essential feature of Mac, so allowing it to do its job is ideal. However, it’s annoying when a supposed background process stops you from doing anything, so will we let it stop us from using our computer? No.
By default, the indexing process should take between 15 to 45 minutes; its duration depends on a few factors, which you will see below. You can confirm if MDS and Spotlight are indexing by checking the Spotlight icon, often located at the menu bar’s upper right corner. A magnifying glass represents Spotlight.
If you find a dot at the center of the Spotlight icon, you know indexing is going on. When you click on it, Mac will show you the index duration.
What makes the mds_stores on Mac to consume a high CPU?
You can configure the Spotlight index to start manually or automatically. However, it usually comes on when you restart your computer. The spike is often due to large deletion or addition of data on your hard drive.
You could be having this considerable spike when Spotlight is indexing locations and folders you likely won’t need, such as your TimeMachine’s backup. It could also increase CPU usage when an app or multiple apps are continually changing some folder contents.
Other factors like;
- Hard disk size
- Size of your directories
- Last date Spotlight indexed your device
- Your Mac’s speed
You can confirm the high CPU usage by launching your Activity Monitor. You should see the amount of resources mds_stores on mac uses, now proceed to the part for solutions.
How to fix the mds_stores process error
The earlier you tackle the issue, the better; when your CPU resources are overly consumed, your computer might become unusable, it might freeze, deteriorate, malfunction, hang and fail to respond to commands. If it persists, your Mac then overheats, and the fan keeps running, which isn’t advisable. You can either;
- Reboot your Mac
- Disable Spotlight
- Temporarily stop and restart Spotlight
- Reduce Spotlight indexing data
Most of the solutions here may need Administrator permission by requesting your Admin Password. If you are currently signed in with a guest account, you should switch to the Administrator account.
1. Reboot your Mac
Rebooting has been known to fix many issues, including the mds_stores process on Mac. Suppose you notice any of the signs of the mds_process error and can confirm from the Activity Monitor, your first resolution should be to reboot your computer.
Follow the usual steps you take to restart your machine. When you are back in, check the Activity Monitor if the huge resource consumption has reduced; if the error persists, go-to solution two.
2. Disable Spotlight
Since mds, mds_stores, and mdworker process are all background processes orchestrated by Spotlight, simply disabling Spotlight should solve the issue.
- Locate and open the Finder app from your computer’s Desktop
- Select the Applications folder to expand it.
- Go to Utilities to access the apps in the utility category.
- Click on the Terminal app to launch it.
- Input the following command in the terminal sudo mdutil -a -I off and strike the Enter/Return key.
- When prompted, input your Admin Password.
- Hit the Enter/Return key again to proceed.
- Check if the error persists.
To Enable Spotlight, follow steps 1 to 5 above but this time input sudo mdutil -a -I on, then follow all on-screen instructions.
3. Temporarily Stop and Restart Spotlight
You can temporarily stop Spotlight from running, this is different from the method above, but it still involves Spotlight.
- Launch your Finder app and expand the Applications section.
- Access the Utility apps and select Terminal.
- Input the following command sudo launchctl unload -w/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist and hit Enter.
- Input your Admin password in the field provided and strike Enter.
- Restart your Mac and confirm if the error persists.
To restart Spotlight
- Launch Finder app > Applications > Utilities and select Terminal.
- Type in sudo launchctl -w/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist then hit Enter.
- Input your Admin Password in the field provided.
- Go ahead and restart your machine and check the Activity Monitor if there’s an improvement.
4. Reduce Spotlight indexing data
If, after trying all the solutions above, the error persists, we should reduce Spotlight indexing data. What we will do here is remove some folders and locations from Spotlight indexing, but first, we will;
- Delete Spotlight database
- Re-index the Spotlight database
- Prevent Spotlight from indexing some locations and folders
This may take some time, but it will prevent any future issues.
I. Delete Spotlight Database
1. Open your Finder app and expand the Applications section.
2. Select Utilities and launch Terminal
3. Input the command sudo rm -rf /.Spotlight-V100/ and hit Enter.
4. When asked, type in your Admin password, then hit Enter to proceed. That command deletes the Spotlight database.
II. Re-index the Spotlight Database
After deleting your Spotlight database, you should restart your Mac and allow Spotlight to reindex the data in your hard drive.
III. Prevent Spotlight from Indexing Some Locations and Folders
As we noted, the massive consumption of resources could also be due to mds_stores searching locations and folders irrelevant to you.
- Go to Desktop, then select System Preferences.
- Search for Spotlight, navigate to Privacy
- In the Privacy tab, drag and drop the folders and add the locations you’ll love Spotlight to avoid.
A few folders you should consider are
- Timemachine backups
- Viber PC
When you do this, Spotlight won’t consume unnecessary resources indexing these folders and locations again. Due to this, the CPU workload will reduce.
Though we don’t plan for any of these errors we encounter, we can often solve them ourselves without taking our Mac to an Apple shop. The mds_store on Mac is essential to our devices.
However, when it starts consuming too much CPU resources, we may need to either Reboot our Mac, Disable Spotlight, Temporarily stop and restart Spotlight or Reduce Spotlight index data. Please ensure you follow the instructions verbatim and share with us how you solved the error. Thank you for stopping by.
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