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Today after upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04, I found baloo_file_extractor consuming too much RAM and causing my laptop to slow down. I can temporarily fix this by running balooctl disable. I did a little googling and found out that it related to KDE which is weird I am using GNOME.

So is it safe to disable it or remove it altogether? If not, is there a way to make it not consume too much RAM?

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    Same problem. In my case it was installed when I tried digikam + piki-plugins. I purged both with apt + autoremove but a hell of libraries remained, including dolphin, konqueror and baloo…
    – FairMiles
    May 10, 2019 at 12:43
  • It seems the problem was konqueror, automatically installed by apt because it is recommended by piki-plugins (and recommended packages are usually not removed by apt…). Had to manually remove it, and then autoremove took care of libkf5baloo* and many others. [I am still tracking other recommended libraries not removed by apt, such as libkf5configcore5…]. Use an AppImage! :(
    – FairMiles
    May 10, 2019 at 14:45

2 Answers 2

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It's safe to use balooctl disable.

You need to be careful while installing software. Pay attention to what's being installed and to what's being pulled in by way of dependencies. For example, you may have installed dolphin, the file manager. That would pull in libkf5baloo5 and libkf5baloowidgets5 among other things. gwenview, an image viewer, would pull in libkf5baloo5.

If you're interested in chasing things down, run apt rdepends libkf5baloo5 and apt rdepends libkf5baloowidgets5 and examine the output for software packages you may have on your system.

Under normal circumstances in Kubuntu 18.04, which includes baloo by default, use of resources is minimal after the initial indexing process. RAM and CPU usage are not normally a concern. But there are reports of baloo running amok even on pure Kubuntu! I use it without problems for indexing both filenames and file contents.

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  • so after a week, it doesn't show any problem. thanks, you are right. Sep 2, 2018 at 9:57
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    I also noticed slowing down of my Linux mint with cinnamon DE. Disk IO appears high and even saving code in vim becomes sluggish. Thanks for pointing out dolphin, I did install that and the baloo_file_extractor was the thing that got installed and was doing something in the background that slows down the system.
    – Jason
    Nov 12, 2019 at 15:03
  • the only thing that drive me nuts is why these system hogging things dont come by design with ionice "best effort"? and from time to time we lose a lot of time having to find a way to deal with some random weirdness :(. I still love Linux tho. Aug 20, 2021 at 20:06
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i am using Ubuntu 20.04 Gnome, maybe it helps for others.

i had this 100% cpu core problem with baloo_file and baloo_file_extractor processes. i don't know deeply but i saw that it was related with KDE environment.

and i also installed dolphin for some reason before. so first i removed it from the system using "stacer" app. but problem has not gone. then i remove and purge dependencies with double check :) and problem solved!

sudo apt-get autoremove dolphin
sudo apt-get autoremove --purge dolphin

it is a bit disappointment that baloo core 100% usage since i really like KDE. after some observation i saw that baloo uses each core with some scheduling algorithm. at some certain time it uses let say core 1 with 100% and then after a couple of minutes goes to other core. maybe it is designed to maintainability but 100% is not acceptable. because it is over heated some certain part of cpu and fans getting started.

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