Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I need to restart the WindowServer (OS X's GUI); I know this can be achieved using the command sudo killall -HUP WindowServer but this closes all your open applications. Is there a way to restart the WindowsServer without it quitting all your open applications?

share|improve this question
What OS version are you running? –  Daniel Sep 12 '11 at 12:30
I need it to work on 10.5, 10.6 & 10.7 –  Samantha Catania Sep 12 '11 at 12:40
Why do you want to kill the Window Server that couldn't be sufficed with a logout/login (or for that matter restart)? –  Jason Salaz Sep 12 '11 at 17:07
I'm writing a program and you can't rely on the user to logout/in –  Samantha Catania Sep 12 '11 at 18:05
Then force the logout - that you can do - or look at kiosk mode –  Mark Sep 12 '11 at 22:46

2 Answers 2

The WindowServer is responsible for drawing all Windows and Windows Content for all Programs (incl. Finder), so it would not be possible to kill the Process without killing all Applications.

You can read about the Window Server in the Apple Technical Note TN2083 for OSX 10.5.

Even though it is announced in that Document that Apple plans to change the Behaviour in future Systemversions, it's in your list of required OS's.

share|improve this answer
I think the note about removing it is referring to the fact that the window server is available from the global bootstrap namespace, not removing the entire window server. –  ughoavgfhw Sep 12 '11 at 22:34
up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is no way to restart window server without closing all apps; logging out & then back in is the best option

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.