How to Unpause an Application in Mac OSX

by Michael on August 17, 2010 · 29 comments

I recently ran out of hard drive space while ripping DVDs. The resulting lack of Virtual Memory caused Mac OSX to “pause” several applications. Once I freed up some additional space, I wanted to unpause them, but was unsure how.

As it turns out, the solution is very simple, though it requires a bit of UNIX magic. For starters launch the Terminal app. Next, find the process in question using the ps command, as follows:

ps -ax | grep Word

This will return a list of processes with “Word” in their name. Find the relevant process (for me there was just one – Microsoft Word) and look at the first number in that row of the list. This is the process ID (PID).

To revive that process, issue the following kill command:

kill -CONT ###

Where ### is the PID. The application in question should once again be accessible.

Alternatively, you could force quit and relaunch the application, but doing so could cause you to lose whatever you working on.

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