Terminal: Remove background processes (agents)

Most Mac OS X users will never run into the Terminal commands launchd and launchctl. However, these commands can be useful when trying to uninstall an application that uses a background process. You can disable an application’s background processes (agents) quite easily via OS X Terminal.

Open a new OS X Terminal session and type the command below to get an overview of all loaded agents and tasks:

The naming of these processes is important to be able to disable them.

For example, if the automatic software update mechanism of Adobe CS5 causes problems, we can disable it using the lauchctl command and the remove option.

launchctl remove com.adobe.CS5ServiceManager

Running the command does not remove the agent itself but only disables it.

In some cases it is not possible to disable an agent with ‘normal’ user rights. In that case you can use the sudo addition, this will disable the agent using root privileges (be careful with this!).

sudo launchctl remove com.adobe.CS5ServiceManager

Using the load option it is possible to restart an agent

launchctl load com.adobe.CS5ServiceManager

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