Add A Force Quit Button To The Unity Dock in Ubuntu

In versions of Ubuntu prior to 11.10, it was possible to add a Force Quit applet to your panel. Whenever you had a “problem” application (that was sucking up too much memory or seemed to have hanged for some reason), you simply needed to click the applet, at which point your cursor would turn into a black “X” and whichever application you clicked on next would be forced to quit, thereby ending the hung process.

In Ubuntu 11.10, however, with the addition of the Unity interface, this feature was no longer available. Fortunately, Josh Leverette has put together a handy script, launcher and installer, which unfortunately has no home page. We’ve taken the package, modified it slightly (changing the wording of a couple Zenity messages and changing the icon, which looked a bit too much like the control panel icon in some icon sets), and are making it available for easy download.

To start using Force Quit, simply click this link to download a small archive.

We downloaded our archive, called Force Quit.tar.gz, to our Desktop.

Downloaded File On Desktop

Now, right-click the archive and extract the item.

Extract Archive

You should now have a folder (named Force Quit), in the same location (in our case the Desktop), as the original archive.

Folder on Desktop

When you open the folder, you’ll see three items, a script named, a launcher, and another script, this one called

Items In Folder

To begin the installation process, launch the script.

Open Install Script

Depending on your system’s settings, you may be asked what you want to do with the file. We want to Run the program… the last option.

Run Script As Program

You should then see a window informing you that Force Quit will be installed, and that it may be necessary to enter your Administrator password.

First Screen

You’ll be faced with something like this (likely twice), so go ahead and enter your computer’s Administrator password.

Enter Password

Once this is done, a final window will appear, asking you to drag the Force Quit launcher from the Nautilus window, which will be opened once you dismiss this window.

Last Instructions

Once you do this, Nautilus will open to your /usr/share/applications folder. Simply scroll until you find the launcher, as shown below.

Launcher In Folder

Now drag the launcher to the Unity Dock.

Drag Onto Dock

You can now use Force Quit by clicking on it when another application starts acting up, and you’re unable to quit it by normal means.

Click Force Quit

The first time you run Force Quit you’ll see another window, informing you that to use Force Quit, simply left-click on the program application, or to back out and quit Force Quit without using it, to right-click. This warning will only be shown the first time you run Force Quit.

Force Quit Instructions

After that, simply click on the problem application. Doing so is the same as running the xkill command from the Terminal or Run prompt. The cursor will change to a small white “X” (not shown), and the next program you quit will be terminated.

Simple! This is a pretty slick solution to a problem that’s cropped up since the introduction of the Unity interface. While the installation process leaves a bit to be desired, the outcome is exactly what you’d expect, and hope, it to be.

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