I have a Macbook Air running Yosemite 10.10.4, and I am trying to either to restart or shutdown this Mac.

But it will say the app VLC Player is running, but if I right click the VLC icon at the dock and choose Force Quit, nothing happens. (the neon light under the icon is not lighted up by the way, so doesn't look like the app is running).

If I press Command Option ESC, and choose Force Quit for VLC, nothing happens, and restarting the Macbook still says I need to Force Quit the app VLC.

In Activity Monitor I don't see a VLC app running either.

If I open up the Terminal app and use ps aux | grep -i vlc then nothing show up except for this grep command line.

So how do I restart or shutdown this Macbook when I need to Force Quit an app but Force Quit doesn't work? I don't want to do those extreme things such as pressing the power button for 5 seconds or Command CTRL SHIFT PowerButton (or something like that) which is like to yank the power cord if it is a desktop.

2 Answers 2


Good to hear that the shutdown worked. Remember to precede it immediately with a 'sync', executed as the root user or via the sudo analogue, to flush the hard drive caches to disk from volatile memory.

If you desire to investigate deeper, in hopes of learning what is going on ( I hope you seek more info... ), then please do the following:

 1.  Open Terminal, and then open two, distinct windows.  

 2.  In one window only, type:  

     sudo dtruss -afloe -n VLC > ~/Desktop/tracevlc.txt 2>&1

 3.  In the other window, type:

     open /Applications/VLC.app

 4.  Attempt to reproduce the original problem.  If you need to shutdown, do so.  

 5.  When the machine reboots, read the tracevlc.txt on your Desktop -- it might well provide a clearer understanding of what is happening...  

Hope that this helps! Let me know if you find anything of interest...


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-= my previous response follows: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=

Do you get anything from executing as your login-user (non-root) the following in a Terminal:

launchctl list | grep -i vlc


sudo pgrep -f -l -i vlc

Try this:

  1. obtain a root shell via:

    sudo -s
  2. Sync drive buffers to hardware:

  3. Attempt to terminate vlc by various means:

    pkill -KILL -f -i -l vlc
    killall -9 -z vlc 
    killall -9 -z VLC.app
  4. Attempt to tear down user-space, terminate all userspace apps, shutdown system services, and reboot. If you are running a recent version of OS X, then this works best:

    launchctl reboot system

Otherwise, do this:

    shutdown -r now
  • shutdown -r now did the job (to reboot the system). launchctl reboot system I think is not on Yosemite but is on El Capitan. (and all those grep or pgrep or kill, etc didn't find vlc at all) Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 3:15
  • sync isn't required on OS X. You can sudo halt and the system will still sync for you. Shutdown is even more graceful than halt but the rest of this looks fine and good information. My favorite is kill -9 -1 after saving any user apps I care to. That should kick you back to the log in screen to do a clean reboot or log back in.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 23:52
  • True, bmike, regarding the sync, and such can be labeled precautionary step, at best. Regarding your invocation of kill, I suspect that you mean "kill -9 1" which sends a SIGKILL to the system launchd ( process 1 ). Interesting behavior, which apparently causes a user's session teardown and logout, no assurances of saved state, yet no system restart. Regards, Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 11:16

Save your work in other apps and then kill all your user level processes.

kill -9 -1

Don't use sudo or root with that command. I'd prefer a shutdown -r now if you feel a reboot is needed. Usually the user level kill all works just fine to recover from a stuck app that's gone rogue.

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