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My desktop PC is also used as a NIS/NFS server for a small workgroup. It runs for months without reboot.

Recently I observed that when I log into a desktop session the computer becomes less responsive for several minutes. A polkitd process in a D state generates a lot of disk I/O activity. Its VmSize is over 600MB and its VmRSS is over 400MB.

The machine is still on OpenSUSE 11.3 with polkit 0.96. I plan to upgrade in the summer.

There are several reports of memory leaks in polkitd that were fixed in 0.98 (freedesktop.org, opensuse.org). While upgrading will probably solve the problem it would take about a day and I am looking for a quick fix.

There is no polkitd script in /etc/init.d and the parent for the polkitd process is init itself.

  22362     1 root     /usr/lib/polkit-1/polkitd

Question: How do I restart polkitd without rebooting the system? Can I do it from within a desktop session or should I log off the desktop session and log on to the text console?

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The man page for polkitd says:

... Users or administrators should never need to start this daemon as it will be automatically started by dbus-daemon(1) ...

Therefore polkitd will be restarted when dbus service is restarted. Since this service interacts with the desktop manager it is safer to log out of the desktop session, stop xdm service, restart dbus and start xdm again.

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Thanks. I found out that even on a headless (text-mode only) OpenSuSE you can do rcdbus restart. Needed this when zypper ps indicated that polkitd was using a deleted file and needed to be restarted after a zypper dup (I run Tumbleweed on some systems) or zypper up (on regular releases). – Jeroen Wiert Pluimers May 22 '15 at 5:36

You should run:

invoke-rc.d dbus restart

as root.

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Isn't this a subset of the answer offered by Dmitri Chubarov? – roaima Nov 18 '15 at 13:09

I have been encountering the polkitd memory leak in my Ubuntu 10.04 desktop.

I use the command ps -ef | grep polkitd to find the process ID and then use kill -9 procid

The polkitd process will be killed but it will be started again by the system. And the polkitd process will once again start leaking memory.

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On Linux you could also use pgrep to get the process ID as in pgrep polkitd. And also pkill to kill the process with the name that matches a given pattern. – Dmitri Chubarov May 8 '14 at 7:11
Does SIGTERM really not work? SIGKILL is a last resort, not a first... – derobert Jul 24 '14 at 16:12

Run this in a terminal:

killall -HUP polkitd
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