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I'm looking for an equivalent of Ctrl+Alt+Del on Windows for OS X.

Note: I am not looking for cmd+option+esc and this is not a duplicate of any questions asking for a "task manager".

Ctrl+Alt+Del on Windows uses an interrupt whereas cmd+option+esc is just another keyboard shortcut. If the system is stuck (hung, etc.) cmd+option+esc will not respond because it's just another user-mode program/dialog like any other.

I'm looking for an interrupt-based solution that will allow me to take control of an unresponsive system. OS X is (by and large) more stable than Windows, but when it gets stuck I have not found a solution as powerful as Ctrl+Alt+Del on Windows.

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It won't work if the kernel is frozen (meaning driver error), but if Windows (userland) is frozen for some reason, ctrl+alt+del will work. – Mahmoud Al-Qudsi May 6 '12 at 2:29
Windows isn't the kernel, it's the entire package. If userland is stuck because some random application is deadlocked and the scheduler farts and can't swap it out (which does happen), it's frozen. Let's not nitpick here, my question is obvious. – Mahmoud Al-Qudsi May 6 '12 at 2:37
There might not be a difference, I've had ctrl + alt + del not work on Windows machines as well, in cases where I thought it should. – Hawken May 6 '12 at 3:39
Holding ⌥⇧⌘⎋ for a few seconds force-quits the frontmost application. I doubt it works when ⌥⌘⎋ doesn't though. – user495470 May 7 '12 at 14:11
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is no real equivalent. Either use Cmd-Option-Esc, or Force Quit the application.

Under the Apple menu, you will see force quit. You can either open this to choose an app, or hold shift while clicking force quit it will kill the frontmost app.

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The reason I posted is because they're not working - the entire machine was locked up for a good 15 minutes. Hence my search for an interrupt-based option. – Mahmoud Al-Qudsi May 6 '12 at 2:48
Well, that's probably as good as it gets. – cutrightjm May 6 '12 at 2:55
I don't know if that Shift option still works with newer versions of Lion and Mountain Lion. Can someone else pls verify? – cottsak Jul 29 '12 at 15:17

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