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Slow performance, kernel_task 340% CPU usage

After cleaning my mac from a liquid spill got a new problem: extremely slow performance, kernel_task at >300% CPU usage, fan's very loud.

Is there a solution to this problem?

Thank you


Update: ran the hardware test, result: No trouble found.

Tried to reinstall OS, no change

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Tried booing in safe mode, kernel_task at 0.6%.


CPU temp around 30C, Fan at 6500.


Sounds like you still have some spillage in there some where (what did you spill?) or you have some malware running. Was your system up to date with the OS updates? if so then focus on cleaning things up again. Also did you take the heat sink off and put new thermo paste down?


Mix of water and wine. I cleaned the board thoroughly. Just few traces in the centre of the board. No traces closer to the heat sink, so decided not to touch it. Maybe I should give it a try?

All recent updates are installed. Hardware test could not locate any problem. Need to try and locate what the problem could be. Wish it's not something really major.


Do you have a bootable OS-X DVD or external HD (firewire if possible) to boot up from? If so any differences?


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I don't think this is hardware related. Otherwise, Safe Mode wouldn't help.

Start normally. Check Console.app for extensive error reports. (Look out for kernel error messages, maybe you'll find the bad kext and are able to disable it, see later in the answer.)


Start in Safe Mode.

Disable any Login Items (in System Preferences / Accounts)

Run the following in Terminal:

kextstat | grep -v com.apple

This should show you all third party Kernel extensions. You can then disable everything that sounds suspicious by navigating the Finder to


And rename the kexts you investigated to f.ex. ***.kextbackup, then reboot (normally).

If the system works, you can re-enable the kexts and login items one by one and find the bad one.

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