I Love Quicksilver’s process manipulations
Why would I need this?
Playing with processes and applications as processes is more geekery than I need (and more than I’m familiar with). What I need most is to force quit non-responsive applications quickly (because I’m always forgetting that keyboard shortcut).
But for those of you who regularly use it, Quicksilver‘s
Process Manipulations Plugin allows you to also:
- Launch a copy of an application. (Be careful with this, as OS X likes for only one copy of an application to be running.)
- Launch an application with root permissions. (Be careful with this, for obvious reasons.)
- Sample a process for 5 seconds and return results.
- List the open files of an application/process.
- Get Process Identifier (PID).
- Pause (
SIGSTOP) or resume (
SIGCONT) an application.
- Send a signal to a process.
- Raise, lower, minimize, maximize, get or set a process’ priority.
I’ll only be going into detail on a few of these actions. If you’re interested in learning more about the other actions, please read the
Process Manipulation Plugin documentation. (In Quicksilver, go to
Preferences > Plugins, select the plugin and click the bottom-right button with the question mark on it.)
How do I …
Force Quit An Application
To force quit a non-responsive application, activate Quicksilver. In the first pane below, we’ve typed the name of our application. Well, actually, we’ve typed
ttt, which are some of the letters of contained by
TextEdit. (Quicksilver can search for items even if you skip letters.)
After we have our application/process in the first pane, we can
tab to our second pane and type the action we want performed. In this case, we want to use the
Force Quit (Kill) action. (Again, we don’t have to type the whole name, nor do we have to start with the beginning of the name. In this case, we typed
From here, all we have to do is press
Launch Multiple Copies of An Application
This is not supported by OS X, and you should use carefully, if at all. That said, the option is available. You can also do this in Terminal, but why type a whole command when a few keystrokes will result in the same thing?
Below, we’ve activated Quicksilver and typed in
aai to put Safari in our first pane. (We could have easily typed
sari instead. As you use the same abbreviations over and over, Quicksilver will learn and search accordingly.)
Before you can launch a copy of an application, the application has to be already open. We are already running Safari. If we pressed
enter now, Quicksilver would open Safari, bringing Safari to the front.
What we want is to launch a second instance of Safari. To do that, we’ll need the
Launch A Copy action. Below, we’ve found it by typing
acopy. When we press
enter, another instance of Safari runs.
We can do this more than once, as the screenshot below of our Dock demonstrates. (Wonder how much chaos we’re causing in our Preferences folder running three Safari’s… When you do things like this, do you think of Tron?)
List Open Files
You don’t have to type in the name of the application or process directly into Quicksilver. You can access the running applications and processes through Quicksilver via the
Activity Monitor. Below, we’ve got
Activity Monitor in our first pane.
right arrow or
/ (slash) will display a list of the current applications and proccesses. Although there are five items showing, the list is long. You can scroll or type to search the results.
Below, we’ve chosen to list the open files for TextEdit, and our results are displayed.
Why doesn’t it work on my Mac?
Note that in order to use these actions, you need to install the following plugins and you may need to change your Quicksilver preference settings:
- Process Manipulation Plugin
After installing the plugin, you may want to change some of your catalog settings. If you want to act on background processes as well, go to
Preferences > Catalog > Applications and select
Running Applications & Processes. Then click the bottom-right button with the
i on it. The shelf will have three tabs. Select the
Source Options tab and check
Include background applications. (In the screenshot below,
Running Applications & Processes) is not checked. Your version of Quicksilver will probably have that checked, and you should probably keep it that way.)
The plugin documentation mentions being able to type
Running Applications & Processes into Quicksilver to easily access running processes. You are only able to do that if you’ve enabled it in Quicksilver’s catalog. Go to
Preferences > Catalog > Quicksilver and select
Quicksilver Catalog Entries.
In the screenshot below, you can see that doing so results in a number of items (44 in this case) being added to Quicksilver‘s catalog. You may not want all of theese enabled. For example, you may want to only bring up your Applications folder when you type
Applications or to only find the Finder when you type
Finder. Having catalog items named
Applications (Catalog) and
Finder (Catalog) may be annoying. You can disable any items here you don’t want by unchecking them. (And disabling
Applications (Catalog) here does not disable applications from showing in Quicksilver.)
Lastly, you may need to enable the actions you want to use. Go to
Preferences > Actions to do so. To make it easier to find actions associated with the
Process Manipulations Plugin, we’ve sorted
by Plugin and chosen that plugin. (We’ve also resized the window.)