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I've setup my macs to logout the user after 60 minutes of inactivity, but there are many, many times that this doesn't occur. mail hangs. some save dialog box was left open, who knows.

Is there a way to force a logout to occur?

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You can use a third party program like Power Manager to automatically log out users after inactivity.

The log out process performed by Power Manager is more robust than the built-in method; applications are quit prior to logging out and those applications blocking the process are force quit after an appropriate additional delay.

Within Power Manager.app:

  • Click Add… to create a new event;
  • Select the User event after inactivity Schedule Assistant task;
  • Select Log Out for What should be performed?;
  • Follow the remaining steps to create your event.

Power Manager - log out after inactivity

Disclosure: I work for DssW, the makers of Power Manager.

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    This looks nice, i'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the tip! – ajm_from_sea Feb 28 '14 at 15:06
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You could try executing the following Applescript:

tell application "loginwindow" to «event aevtrlgo»

which forces logout without prompt (aevtrlgo = "Apple Event really go"). This could for example be triggered by applications like SleepWatcher.

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