I need to regularly shutdown brutally my Mac, due to program misbehavior (Starcraft 2 and EVE Online), which take control of the graphics and never surrender it back.

While I admire the tenacity of those embattled programs... I'd rather nuke them with a single stroke, as I would on Linux by killing the X server.

The irritating part is, the underlying OS runs fine, since I can move the mouse around, change luminosity or sound. I just can't switch back to anything, work, email... so I have to fully reboot.

How do I do that? What's the secret key combo?


Command ⌘ + Option + Esc opens the "Force Quit Application" dialog, which lets you select and kill running applications.

If that does not work,

Command ⌘ + Option + Shift + Esc held down for 5 seconds kills the foremost application.

  • Well, thanks for the answer. I'll mark it accepted as soon as I get a new hang and can test it. Given Eve's stability, it should not be long :D – Kheldar Jan 27 '12 at 13:36
  • Dang, havent played Eve in like 8 years – Stu Wilson Jan 27 '12 at 14:06
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    Whoa! That second command is powerful! Thank you so much for revealing that handy little secret. It is very helpful. – daviesgeek Jan 27 '12 at 17:08
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    Frankly, apple really needs a ctrl+alt+delete equivalent. On windows, ctrl+alt+delete will aggressively grab control of the screen back from the running application, letting you then get to a working desktop-view again. The fact that there is not such a facility on apple devices is an ongoing issue, at least for me. – Fake Name Feb 1 '12 at 6:04
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    @Jason Salaz - I probably used 'Force Quit' more then five times yesterday alone. Admittedly, I'm rarely in a situation similar to the OP's, where I need to forcibly re-take control of the keyboard, but it does happen. In particular, in my case, I have an issue where the Dock-Spaces-Switcher gets in contention with Apple Remote Desktop, and as a result, the Dock app begins swallowing all key-presses. It results in a situation where even Cmd+Opt+Shift+Esc no longer works, and the only option is a reboot. – Fake Name Feb 7 '12 at 0:36

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