the mac SystemUIServer helps manage your menu bar

I love my Mac. it adds greatly to my productivity and abilities. But as with any system there are always little things that we each need to tweak and change to allow our systems to run optimally. For me one of those things is the SystemUIServer.

I like to run apps like iStat Menus that shows me some amazing information on what my computer is doing (RAM, CPU, Disk, usage etc…), and it runs up in my menubar, os it is out of the way but easy to access. But the problem seems to be that over time the SystemUIServer process (which manages how those things display in the menu bar) keeps allocating more and more memory. And I don’t much like rebooting my machine, so it usually only happens when I am forced to for some reason. So in the meantime I needed some way to keep the SystemUIServer from consuming all (or lots of) my RAM.

The SystemUIServer Ram Solution

Joshua Taylor outlined this solution on his blog, and I found it both easy to implement and very effective for the SystemUIServer on Snow Leopard, Lion and I am sure Newer and Older versions of OS X as well.


Open your terminal (/Applications/Utilities/


crontab -e

..and hit enter.

Hit the letter “a” on your keyboard.

Enter the following, using tabs for the large separations:

0 */2 * * * killall SystemUIServer

Hit the escape key on your keyboard.



.(that’s colon, w then q) and hit enter.


So there you have it, I implemented the fix on my Mac and it has performed beautifully on both Snow Leopard and Lion. The SystemUIServer simply restarts itself every other hour and frees up any hoarded RAM. The only drawback seems to be that when that time hits the menubar icons reload so I get a brief blip of randomness in the upper right hand corner of my screen, but I will deal with that happily if it means that I get to run my Mac for a few more days/weeks without having to reboot it. I may even make it till the next update for OS X.