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When the "mdworker" process uses a lot of CPU in OS X, one possible cause might be faults in Spotlight plug-ins.
Some users have noticed that after the Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.7 update the mdworker process was consuming a rather large portion of their processing power--in some cases over 130 percent. The mdworker issue was noted in our By CNET staff May 22, 2009
While Mavericks has increased battery life for the most part, as with past versions of OS X, at times certain processes may bog down and cut expected lifetime significantly short.
In our second installment of readers report, MacFixIt followers find Bluetooth, X11, mdworker, and third party applications all having issues related to updating Mac OS X Leopard to 10.5.7. iPhoto Libraries are not appearing, sleep mode is not keeping an
Mac OS X 10.5.x Special Report: Spotlight problems
Mac OS X sometimes spawns background processes that consume an inordinate amount of CPU, resulting in a slow computer that may have the fans roaring and be very hot (especially for laptops). There are several known processes that can cause this problem, m
Sometimes Spotlight gets gummed up. Two readers found ways to ungum it.
As with many Unix and Linux systems, you can change the priority of processes in OS X to advance them through the CPU. While this will not make them faster, it can be used to make processes more responsive.
When troubleshooting Mac problems it helps to be able to isolate where the problem is occurring. Here are some steps to follow that can help you do this.