Thanks for this – I did a db reset, now Max is coming back down to sane levels after 30 seconds or so which is much better. Does this reset the file preferences database? Is it wise to do a db reset every now and then? When you say is my database large, I assume you're talking about what Max finds and indexes from it's search path?
My File preferences include the normal /Patches and /Examples folders, a patches folder with 1,307 items at 6.52GB (because of audio files) that goes at most 3 subfolders deep (see attached screenshot), a maxmsp downloads folder with 3,511 items at 428MB, and the CNMAT and Elsea libraries.