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This is silly. If the graphical side of the OS needs to be relaunched then a logout will suffice. The windowserver dies, and relaunches on logout. And your applications get quit cleanly.
This can be helpful if the GUI is locked up. How do you intend to logout when the keyboard and mouse don't respond?
If you can ssh in from another computer or your jailbroken iPhone you can restart the GUI WITHOUT rebooting.
When my GUI has died but I can still SSH in, I _want_ to reboot the whole system so I know there's no gremlins lurking. For this I use sudo reboot.
Logging out does not kill WindowServer. That's why logging out isn't sufficient to make the 'non-transparent menu bar' hint work; WindowServer lives on. (This is easy to see in Leopard's Activity Monitor when viewing all processes hierarchically: the system-wide occurrence of launchd owns windowserver, as well as one more instance of launchd for each logged-in user.) That's why we said this in MDJ/MWJ 2007.12.03, because we hadn't seen anyone else point this out.
I think you're thinking of loginwindow, which requires WindowServer to run (obviously, or it wouldn't be showing a window). Logging everyone out may relaunch loginwindow, but not WindowServer. You need to restart or, more daringly, quit WindowServer to get it to relaunch.
Maye it is true in leopard, which I do not have yet, that the windowserver lives on as a process on logout. On previous systems the logout relaunches windowserver ( with no other users logged in, of course). In which case mark this as a leopard fix. In the older systems the relaunch of the loginwindow *also* causes the windowserver to relaunch. The paradigm is : logout cleanly ( handled by loginwindow), loginwindow quits, windowserver sees the loginwindow go down, windowserver quits, launchd( or init in previous systems) relaunches loginwindow which tickles the windowserver to relaunch. Fairly clean. Similarly the loginwinodow will exit cleanly ( unlike other applications) when the windowserver dies.
The problem with killing the windowserver is that you may leave dummy processes around, as the windowserver is ( or was pre-leopard for what I know) the parent process of all applications which present GUI. A busy process writing to disk will still be writing to disk, but invisible, after the windowserver is killed. The new windowserver has it's own session which preious sessioned applications cannot connect to, so no windows.
Even *if* the windowserver can catch the interupt and kill it's process this is by no means the safest way of exiting. ( I understand there is a difference between kill -hup and kill -9 which is way more dangerous since it is a kill, not an interrupt) as the other applications will be killed, or interrupted, and may not quit correctly, if at all. Carbon applications will probably behave badly, for instance.
As for the guy who suggested I *read* the comment. The original comment about the translucent menu fix did not mention ssh, and in any case for the reasons I mention killing windowserver makes it a bad idea in all cases.
Yeah, but I find that HUP (= Hang UP) is much easier to understand and remember than some arbitrary number :). Having said that, if you know (and can remember) all the signal numbers then well done!
I've got a (mostly) unrelated comment/question. If the non-transparent menu bar stops being transparent, is there a way to make it semi-transparent again? (Not sure what happened to it, but it's solid again.)
When I used X11 window managers every day, sometimes the wm would get messed up and I didn't want to lose any windows or processes.
Within olvwm, I could send a -USR1 signal to the wm and it would restart itself (without losing anything).
Within dtwm (CDE's wm), I could send it a f.restart -noconfirm (using a little program called dtwmcmd), and the wm would restart itself (without losing anything).
Does anyone know whether OS X's wm has a restart function, like the ones that I've mentioned above, and whether we can switch consoles (or ssh in) and send it a signal/command that would gently restart it (without losing anything)?? Thanks; Larry.
All GUI client processes die when their WindowServer connection is broken.
Yes, but how do you even get to the Terminal if the GUI is completely locked up? I know in Linux we can Ctrl-Alt-F1/2/3/etc. to get a Terminal and shut down any processes, but don't see any such option in Mac OS X.
Osx Restart Spotlight Windows 7
you can always ssh from outside into your hung box.
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Mac Restart Spotlight Indexing
I just now happened to find my laptop in this funky state and was able to ssh in from another machine and reset the window manager as you described. Thanks for posting this!