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How to: Track down runaway Mac apps

Hackszine.com: Track Down Runaway Mac Apps

It turns out that a runaway application will not only heat up your laptop, but sometimes even prevent it from sleeping correctly. Those of you that know your way around the command line know where to go from here: just open a terminal window and type top -u.

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If you see an application that's consuming 99% CPU, such as 'meanapp' in the above example, it's probably the cause of your overheating and laptop sleep issues. Scribble down the process ID of the app (in this case 1047), type "q" to exit top, and force the application to quit by typing kill -9 1047, where 1047 is the troublesome process ID.

If this becomes a regular issue, track down the application that's consistently causing you problems. Chances are it's a third party application or driver that could use an upgrade.