The FooDoo Lounge

Process Killer 1.0b7


A utility that quits any or all programs (processes) that may be running on your computer. It provides the option of quitting visible &/or background apps and can be used to store a list of 'protected' apps that will be ignored (not quit) when Process Killer is used.

Process Killer was built with AppleScript and requires the freeware Dialog Director scripting addition to provide its user interface. I will probably port it to OS X at some stage, but it is only for classic MacOS for the time being.

Using Process Killer

Just double-click the icon to run Process Killer. It will briefly display a modal dialog while it gathers process information. The main window contains a popup which allows you to choose which processes to quit - Background, Visible, or All. This selection is remembered, so if it is set to "All Processes" it will quit all processes next time it's run, unless the popup is changed again.

Basic screen shot with details hidden

The bottom section of the window, which can be displayed with the "Show Details" button, displays lists of running processes. Doing anything 'savable' to it, like clicking the details button, causes the "Cancel" button to change to "OK".

Screen shot showing visible process list

Selected processes can be quit from here whilst Process Killer is running. This screen also allows for any running app to be added to the "Protected Processes' list.

This list can also be viewed and edited:

Screen shot showing protected process list

In case you're wondering about the French in the title bar, it's a joke: A slightly oblique reference to a song by Talking Heads. I trust that it's not offensive to anyone, but I'd be happy send you a version with it taken out if it really bothers you. :-)

System Requirements

To use this program you need a Mac running OS 8 or 9*, a standard installation of AppleScript and the Dialog Director osax. It may be unusably slow on anything running at less than 150Mhz or so, but it depends a bit on how impatient you are I guess.

MacOS 8.5.1 or higher is recommended for its improved (faster) AppleScript implementation. Process Killer also uses a command - 'delay' - not available in AppleScript versions prior to AS1.3 (OS8.5) that makes it work more reliably when quitting apps individually.

* System 7 users: This may work under 7.x, and would probably require only a small amount of tweaking if it doesn't. Feel free to test it & send me useful feedback. It will either be easy or impractical and it would be good to find out which it is.

Bugs & Limitations

This application has been tested only under OS 9.0.4 and 9.1, on a G4 (AGP Graphics). I'm reasonably confident it will work under any supported hardware/software combination, but please do let me know if you have any hassles with it.

ProcessKiller is unable to quit desk accessories - such as Calculator - which would appear to be a limitation of AppleScript itself, so these are completely ignored. Specifically, it ignores any process whose file type is "dfil".

I've got it flagged as needing more development, hence the beta status, but do I use it quite frequently and it works well for me.

One thing I predict will catch it out, is applications that do not conform to "normal" background behaviour. These may end up in the Visible Processes list and, if they do, they will get a command to activate before PK tries quit them. Lots of modern apps - AppleWorks, Acrobat Reader - require this, but background-only apps vary in their handling of it. By definition, they are unable to activate, so they need to deal with it somehow. I have one app - Serial Port Monitor (part of Palm Desktop) - which loses its composure if told to activate. I think it should ignore the command, but it displays an alert, saying it couldn't complete it. The worst part is that it refuses to quit afterwards. The upshot of all this is that apps like this can only be handled properly by PK once they're known. In other words, I need to add them to the source code as I find out about them. Not a good system, I realise. If anyone ever uses this, I will consider doing something about it, but it's not entirely simple to overcome.

It can return an innacurate list of running processes, at times, if the "Quit Selected" button is used. This is exacerbated on systems prior to OS 8.5 and only occurs when a process takes a long time to quit.


Process Killer is kiteWare. Please read the licence before using the software.

Download Process Killer (115K)

Additional Information for Scripters

My General Terms for Code Use are here. Please read them if you intend to make use of any of the code.

ProcessKiller contains one particular handler which may be of use to anyone who has to deal with the fact that certain Finder versions return a list of classes instead of four character creator types when asked. This routine, called classToString, converts such lists to that which all other versions of the Finder return. It can also be found here.



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