Tuesday, January 6, 2009


So there I was, tapping away at quotidian tasks, when I noticed my PC was responding with all the dash and verve of a fossilized member of Testudinidae. A quick glance at Task Manager showed that GoogleDesktop.exe was the CPU hog - apparently, it required 99% of CPU to index the work I was doing with the other 1%. Surely that couldn't be right?

Well, I love the speed and power of Google's Desktop search, so I didn't like to just kill the offending process. To get me a little extra responsiveness from my PC while I searched for a better fix, I using Task Manager to give the GoogleDesktop.exe process a lower priority. To find the real problem, I would need more data on what GoogleDestktop.exe was trying to do - so I installed the impressively capable and friendly Process Monitor (a free trouble-shooting tool from Microsoft).

This tool gives details on the interactions of running processes with the operating system, and updates in realtime. For example, I could see GoogleDesktop opening new files and folders to index them even as I created them. What was interesting was that GoogleDesktop.exe was also repeatedly accessing a file called hes.evt, even when there was nothing new to index. I deleted this file, and an instate later, a new hes.evt appeared (at first I thought it hadn't been deleted, but the new one was tiny and had an up-to-the-second creation date).

And now... CPU usage fell away to "idle" levels, and Google Desktop Search still works. Great result, but what was the underlying problem? No idea whatsoever.