I have a process on my Mac OS X system which is in state E ("The process is trying to exit."):

% ps auwwwxc | grep -si JavaApplicationS
sbwoodside    84547   0.0  0.0        0      0   ??   E   Mon12am   0:00.00 (JavaApplicationS)

kill -9 84547 does nothing. Is there any special trick to get this process to exit? It's holding some ports open that I would like it to let go of.

3 Answers 3


Easiest way would probably be to restart. I've seen it happen once or twice before, and from memory, nothing I did could unstick it.

  • Apparently you are correct :-( Nov 25, 2009 at 5:01

I second the restart solution... I had zombies I could not kill as well.

Unfortunately kill -9 is not really "the ultimate axe" on the OS X as it seems to be either filtered or flawed.


Unless this is something I haven't encountered what is happening is kill -9 kills it the launchd restarts it. two solutions 1. Kill launchd But this means that you won't be able to start any new process 2. Restart system Long term fix. Reconfigure launchd so that it doesnt do this. ps The only processes I have seen that take up that high a pid are trojan horses.


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