Dashboard was a pretty cool feature when I first got my iBook G4, but I hardly use it these days and sometimes accidentally activate it by pressing F8 when I mean to press F9.  The problem with doing this is that some widgets continue to run in the background, eating up system resources.

There is an easy terminal command to disable dashboard, and it only disables it for your user account.

Start by opening up a terminal window.  If you don’t already have terminal in your dock, click on finder and navigate to the utilities folder and double click on terminal.  Then copy and paste the following code:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

killall Dock

The first line disables dashboard, by replacing YES to NO you can bring it back.  The second line restarts the dock.

If you want to see how much memory these widgets use, open a terminal window and type:

top -u

To return to the command line, press ctrl+c (break) to interrupt the process.  You will see that OS X does a good job allocating resources and even big programs don’t hold on to memory if they’re not using it.  From here you can kill any program that is misbeahaving by typing:

kill -9 PID

Where PID is the Process ID (far left column) and -9 means no exceptions.