I was working with our Chief Technology Officer today, and he was surprised to learn from me that you can quit apps without switching into them. I often find myself at a designer’s Mac to do support work, and most designers never quit apps. Typically, the entire CS suite is open, usually 2 or 3 MS Office apps, email, iTunes, a browser window and perhaps Transmit or Fetch. This means, of course, that the memory space for many of the open apps has been paged to Virtual Memory. Switching into each one to quit out causes the OS to load that information from disk into memory. If you are simply interested in quitting the program, loading it’s memory into the RAM is a waste of time.
So, if you keep the command key down as your desired app is selected in the pop up list of running apps, then simply tap ‘Q’, the program will quit before processing the memory contents from VM. The data is simply removed from the paging files and on hard drives over 50% full, this can be a HUGE time saver when prepping a machine for maintenance or patching.