For some reason this morning when I came to use my Fedora 16 machine it was very unresponsive. So much so it was struggling to let me unlock it when I entered my password.

So switching to an alternative shell with ctrl-alt-F2, I logged in as root to do some poking and find out what was going on. Htop showed both CPU cores over 90% and memory use was much higher than usual.

Turned out there were a couple of processes running as my user that were consuming masses of system resources, /usr/libexec/tracker_miner_fs and /usr/libexec/tracker_store. A little concerned some nasty may have found it's way in I killed both with pkill and rebooted the machine with the intention of getting back to a workable desktop to look up these blighters.

After a slow bootup I got in to find they had started themselves up again on reboot, so a quick pkill later and I'm back in control.

It turns out it's some sort of indexing service that is part of Fedora 16, phew, it's not a nasty :) 

So now I know they are part of Fedora 16 I can take some time to find out more about them and work out if I actually need these processes running or not.

It seems tracker keeps an index of user files for faster searching. So how can I control when it runs?
I used the tracker-preferences program which is included in the tracker-ui-tools package (install with yum).

Changed options so it should now only run when the computer is idle, which I assume means when the screen is locked.

I noticed during boot there were a few errors about USB devices being unreadable. I wonder if this is why tracker had a wibble - maybe it was trying to index files on devices no longer attached to the computer, possibly a side affect of my yanking my camera rather than unmounting properly last time it was plugged in?

If that is correct I'm hoping changing the settings with tracker-preferences so it only keeps references to filesystems for a day instead of three (garbage collection settings) will reduce likelyhood of it happening again.