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The Terminal is pretty light so should be responsive even if your system is swamped, or if you're logging in via ssh. Beyond the basic kill command, which kills processes via their pid which you'd need to get from either a ps command, or the Activity monitor , a neat trick at the terminal is the killall command, which allows you to kill a process by name rather than pid. For example, if you know the name of your process is my-prog-0 or whatever, you can go to the terminal and do:. One thing to note about OS X is that some system processes will be automatically restarted if they are killed by the launchd daemon I think??

For example, if the Dock is not responsive you can do a killall Dock and it will restart automatically. Force Quit is the alternative to Task Manager on Mac. It's fast, efficient, and kills applications really fast. The is no process killing keyboard shorcut, only for running applications. The above example is to list all the 'Symantec' related processes.

Replace 'Symantec' with your own phrase. Next use variations of 'kill' command.

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You can either use: Go to activity monitor, find the dock and highlight it. Hit the kill button Stopsign with X in it, top left. Force Quit is used for simple applications, while the activity monitor can be used to kill processes. Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site the association bonus does not count. Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Ask Question. JakeGould AP AP 1 3 4. I want it to show all processes. Bobby - it sounds like you've never worked on a Mac and had to use Force Quit. I'm pretty sure AP got it right. Well, I've got no idea what I tried to say with that comment AP - another useful one Macs are missing is a way to quickly lock the Mac. For example, if you know the name of your process is my-prog-0 or whatever, you can go to the terminal and do: Shows the kill commands that will be generated so you can be safe.

Limits to a specified user One thing to note about OS X is that some system processes will be automatically restarted if they are killed by the launchd daemon I think?? Thanks for the detailed answer and suggestions, even though it doesn't really solve the problem. There is a free app called free memory that does the same just clicking on your menu bar. It shows also there how much ram is free and other details. This memory optimisation hoax is the same misleading rubbish that plagued Windows for years. Please correct this article. Yes, yes, and yes, but I happen to have an application that changes its behavior when it sees free memory dropping below 1Gb, even though several gigs may be inactive.

I have 8GB of memory max for my computer and some apps eat it all up XCode is one of them. Then my computer slows to a crawl. Purge frees up enough to get it working again. This frees up 4GB of memory for me on Mountain Lion. What I would really like to see is a utility that limits how much RAM an app can allocate so I can put them in a memory sand box.


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Then I could make XCode and other apps behave themselves. Anyone know how I could do this??? There are no downsides, except for confusing newbies.

How to View All Running Apps & Processes in Mac OS X

It does not take memory away from applications in any way, ever! I recently made an Automator purge application. So I can purge using spotlight instead of Terminal. If interested, here it is: Thankyou very much……. A great command, thanks for sharing this reference. You are correct, the memory management is a bit flakey, and I can easily go from 2. I use to have to reboot my machine each time just to free it up and get some higher performance out of my macbook pro.

This purge command is exactly the solution I needed! Unfortunately MacOS has a habit of cacheing some file access, and then not freeing that memory. For example, last time I ran purge I had 2. In my experience keeping my Mac from swapping to the disk and causing Page-Outs is key to maintaining optimal performance. I notice a significant slowdown on my Mac when free memory goes below MB. This becomes a big performance problem, and I found myself having to reboot to free up memory to prevent the Mac from swapping to disk.

This is a big PITA. I usually notice Activity Monitor reports there is about 1. Using purge fixes the problem for awhile until the free memory runs out again. I use my Mac Book Pro for work, and I usually find myself running purge once in the morning, and maybe 1 or 2 more times throughout the day to prevent disk swapping. I wish the OS would force Inactive Memory to be freed before using swap space. Anyone who tries to tell me that running purge is a placebo is just plain wrong. I even testing out just leaving my Imac with 12 gigs memory overnight and only think that run in the background is firefox, safari and chrome.

In the morning, of course, i have less than half a gig of free memory without doing anything. Thank you! Sometimes it will free up overnight as the system realizes it is not actively being used. Many times it sits used Inactive. Running memory hungry applications does not force it to be freed from inactive programs, and the experience very obvious slowness due to lack of Free memory. Regardless of what you call it; hoax, misguided, unnecessary, the Purge command does the trick. I now have 6Gigs of Free memory useful for the applications that need it.

Great command, as a web developer I use memory intensive applications all the time. More specifically however I often download large sql backups of our live databases and restore them locally on my machine. This makes my life easier as I can modify code whilst still using a fairly up to date set of data and without having to rely on an internet connection or latency on connecting to a remote database. I have found that restoring the database on the command line postgres gradually eats up my memory and when the restoration has completed sits as inactive memory up to 5 GB of 8 available.

This inactive memory fails to clear or at least takes hours upon hours. I know I wont need to run this restore command that often so using the purge command prevents me from having to reboot.

How to View All Running Apps & Processes in Mac OS X

Thanks for the heads up. This was a very helpful discussion. Quitting and restarting the apps only frees up a small fraction of my 8GB and this is quickly reallocated and the problem comes back. It was only by restarting my computer that fixed the problem. They look like little Mb memory leaks, and they accumulate over time. Purge will not make them go away.

You can see them on Activity Monitor. I ran a backup to my NAS, and after a few hours, there were about 30 of them, and my free memory was nearly gone; I was not running anything else at the time. I have a Mac Mini i7 on I am hoping there are no long-term effects caused by reallocating memory in such a brash way. I could not function without it. When Free memory goes below MB my macbook pro becomes unusable.

I have to run it several times a day, which really is a mark of bad design in iOS memory management my opinion only. Make sure you have Xcode installed as well as the command-line tools installed.


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When the preferences menu comes up select the Downloads tab and make sure you are looking at the Components section. You should see a few iOS simulators and Command-line tools. Wired is what is being used by the OS e. Kernel task , Active is memory used by User and non-essential System applications, Inactive is memory that just hangs there in case you need it for future use, and Free memory is memory that has not been used, or Inactive memory that has been released from the RAM.

It then starts caching to disk and using purge could corrupt your download. Purge should only be used when you want your system in a fresh state such as playing a RAM intensive game, or if you need to test for memory leaks in a program you are developing in Xcode. This is exactly what I have been looking for!!! Before knowing this, I would have to quit Illustrator to clear up memory so I could continue working.

Thanks so much! Hi mates. My problem is as follows: I have installed Onyx, but I cannot find the purge command there is no memory tab. Any suggestions? Thank you.

I have a background in operating systems…I can tell you that Mountain Lion suffers from memory mismanagement. Most programmers dont even understand virtual and physical memory, and leave memory leaks throughout their code. The OS should reclaim the pages it can, but the reality is different. Sometimes you have to provide a hint to the OS.

How to disable unnecessary processes/services on my Macbook Pro?

I will make sure to use this in the future! For those wishing to automate the running of purge, open a terminal and enter this command: For most people, this will be empty initially. When you run this command, it will open up the crontab in an editor probably vim. You need to insert a new line to run purge on a scheduled basis. Google crontab for details on how it works. Save the crontab and exit. Now purge will run for you with whatever time frame you entered in the example, every 2 hours, every day, at the top of the hour.

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