A process is an instance of a computer program that is being executed.

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198
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12answers
164k views

What if 'kill -9' does not work?

I have a process I can't kill with kill -9 <pid>. What's the problem in such a case, especially since I am the owner of that process. I thought nothing could evade that kill option.
111
votes
7answers
80k views

How can I close a terminal without killing the command running in it?

Sometimes I want to start a process and forget about it. If I start it from the command line, like this: redshift I can't close the terminal, or it will kill the process. Can I run a command in ...
96
votes
6answers
58k views

Keep SSH Sessions running after disconnection

I sometimes have long running processes that I want to kick off before going home, so I create a SSH session to the server to start the process, but then I want to close my laptop and go home and ...
91
votes
8answers
44k views

How can I disown a running process and associate it to a new screen shell?

I have a running program on a SSH shell. I want to pause it and be able to unpause its execution when I come back. One way I thought of doing that was to transfer its ownership to a screen shell, ...
82
votes
3answers
47k views

How do I read from /proc/$pid/mem under Linux?

The Linux proc(5) man page tells me that /proc/$pid/mem “can be used to access the pages of a process's memory”. But a straightforward attempt to use it only gives me $ cat /proc/$$/mem ...
80
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I somehow add a “&& prog2” to an already running prog1?

Most shells provide functions like && and ; to chain the execution of commands in certain ways. But what if a command is already running, can I still somehow add another command to be executed ...
75
votes
2answers
8k views

How does Linux “kill” a process?

It often baffles me that, although I have been working professionally with computers for several decades and Linux for a decade, I actually treat most of the OS' functionality as a black box, not ...
66
votes
5answers
76k views

How to check how long a process has been running?

I would like to avoid doing this by launching the process from a monitoring app.
50
votes
4answers
7k views

Why do we need to fork to create new processes?

In Unix whenever we want to create a new process, we fork the current process, creating a new child process which is exactly the same as the parent process; then we do an exec system call to replace ...
42
votes
6answers
63k views

How to monitor CPU/memory usage of a single process?

I would like to monitor one process's memory / cpu usage in real time. Similar to top but targeted at only one process, preferably with a history graph of some sort.
39
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I check what signals a process is listening to?

How can I verify whether a running process will catch a signal, or ignore it, or block it? Ideally I'd like to see a list of signals, or at least not have to actually send the signal to check.
37
votes
6answers
5k views

Does pressing ctrl-c several times make the running program close more quickly?

I often start to read a huge file and then want to quit after a while, but there is a lag from pressing Ctrl+C to the program stops. Is there a chance of shortening the lag by pressing the Ctrl+C key ...
37
votes
5answers
82k views

How can I get a full process list in solaris, without truncated lines?

Is there a way to generate a full process listing in solaris, without truncated lines? I've tried the ps command, with the following arguments: -f Generates a full listing. ...
36
votes
6answers
83k views

How to find which processes are taking all the memory?

I'm looking for somthing like top is to CPU usage. Is there a command line argument for top that does this? Currently, my memory is so full that even 'man top' fails with out of memory :)
35
votes
3answers
13k views

What are “session leaders” in `ps`?

What are session leaders, as in ps -d which selects all processes except session leaders?
34
votes
2answers
11k views

Why does `htop` show more process than `ps`

In ps xf 26395 pts/78 Ss 0:00 \_ bash 27016 pts/78 Sl+ 0:04 | \_ unicorn_rails master -c config/unicorn.rb 27042 pts/78 Sl+ 0:00 | ...
33
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is the default process creation mechanism fork?

The UNIX system call for process creation, fork(), creates a child process by copying the parent process. My understanding is that this is almost always followed by a call to exec() to replace the ...
32
votes
4answers
4k views

Is there any UNIX variant on which a child process dies with its parent?

I have been studying the Linux kernel behaviour for quite some time now, and it's always been clear to me that: When a process dies, all its children are given back to the init process (PID 1) ...
32
votes
1answer
44k views

There are stopped jobs (on bash exit)

I get the message There are stopped jobs. when i try to exit a bash shell sometimes. Here is a reproducible scenario in python 2.x: ctrl+c is handled by the interpreter as an exception. ctrl+z ...
31
votes
3answers
15k views

Find out current working directory of a running process?

What command(s) can one use to find out the current working directory (CWD) of a running process? These would be commands you could use externally from the process.
31
votes
5answers
10k views

Measuring RAM usage of a program

time is a brilliant command if you want to figure out how much CPU time a given command takes. I am looking for something similar that can measure the max RAM usage of the program and any children. ...
30
votes
6answers
53k views

Determining what process is bound to a port

I know that using the command: lsof -i TCP (or some variant of parameters with lsof) I can determine which process is bound to a particular port. This is useful say if I'm trying to start ...
30
votes
2answers
12k views

What do the brackets around processes mean?

mark@mark-VirtualBox:~/auto/lib$ ps -Awwo pid,comm,args PID COMMAND COMMAND 1 init /sbin/init 2 kthreadd [kthreadd] 3 ksoftirqd/0 [ksoftirqd/0] 5 ...
29
votes
7answers
7k views

Block network access of a process?

Is it possible to block the (outgoing) network access of a single process?
29
votes
5answers
7k views

What process created this X11 window?

Given an X11 window ID, is there a way to find the ID of the process that created it? Of course this isn't always possible, for example if the window came over a TCP connection. For that case I'd ...
28
votes
5answers
92k views

How to stop a background process?

I have started a wget on remote machine in background using &. Suddenly it stops downloading. I want to stop its process, then start it again. How can I stop it? I haven't close its shell window. ...
28
votes
5answers
24k views

How to determine which process is creating a file?

Given file path, how can I determine which process creates it (and/or reads/writes to it)?
27
votes
9answers
3k views

How can I kill a process and be sure the PID hasn't been reused

Suppose, for example, you have a shell script similar to: longrunningthing & p=$! echo Killing longrunningthing on PID $p in 24 hours sleep 86400 echo Time up! kill $p Should do the trick, ...
27
votes
4answers
5k views

Save entire process for continuation after reboot

I developed an algorithm for a fairly hard problem in mathematics which is likely to need several months to finish. As I have limited resources only, I started this on my Ubuntu 12.04 (x86) laptop. ...
27
votes
5answers
6k views

Who's got the other end of this unix socketpair?

I want to determine which process has the other end of a UNIX socket. Specifically, I'm asking about one that was created with socketpair(), though the problem is the same for any UNIX socket. I ...
27
votes
3answers
45k views

Find and remove large files that are open but have been deleted

How does one find large files that have been deleted but are still open in an application? How can one remove such a file, even though a process has it open? The situation is that we are running a ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

What's the difference between running a program as a daemon and forking it into background with '&'?

What are the practical differences from a sysadmin point of view when deploying services on a unix based system?
25
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the difference between a job and a process?

What is the difference between a "job" and a "process"?
25
votes
2answers
27k views

Limit process to one cpu core

How to limit process to one cpu core ? Something similar to ulimit or cpulimit would be nice. (Just to ensure: I do NOT want to limit percentage usage or time of execution. I want to force app (with ...
24
votes
3answers
25k views

How can I pause/resume rsync

How can I pause an rsync that's running? First time I did Ctrl+C to kill it and used the -P flag to run again. Is this prone to corrupt the current file transfer? Second time I simply put MacOS to ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I see the exact command line being executed inside some bash instance?

I have a long running bash instance (inside a screen session) that is executing a complex set of commands inside a loop (with each loop doing pipes, redirects, etc). The long command line was ...
24
votes
1answer
20k views

Getting information about a process' memory usage from /proc/pid/smaps

For a given process in /proc/<pid>/smaps, for a given mapping entry what are: Shared_Clean Shared_Dirty Private_Clean Private_Dirty Is Shared_Clean + Shared_Dirty the amount of memory that ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

If processes inherit the parent's environment, why do we need export?

I read here that the purpose of export in a shell is to make the variable available to sub-processes started from the shell. However, I have also read here and here that "Processes inherit their ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

If computers start counting at 0, why does the init process have a pid of 1?

Not much to put here in the body, the question is self explanatory.
23
votes
1answer
2k views

How does systemd survive a kill -9?

Between the recent "Why does 'kill -9 0' end my console session" and "How to get a kernel panic" questions, I got a bur under my saddle and tried kill -9 1 on a mostly up-to-date Arch linux laptop. I ...
22
votes
4answers
25k views

How to attach terminal to detached process?

I have detached a process from my terminal, like this: $ process & That terminal is now long closed, but process is still running and I want to send some commands to that process's stdin. Is ...
22
votes
6answers
66k views

Is there a way to see details of all the threads that a process has in Linux?

For Windows, I think Process Explorer shows you all the threads under a process. Is there a similar command line utility for Linux that can show me details about all the threads a particular process ...
22
votes
5answers
9k views

Is there a program that can send me a notification e-mail when a process finishes?

I am a computational scientist, and I run a lot of lengthy calculations on Linux. Specifically, I run molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using the GROMACS package. These simulations can take days ...
22
votes
2answers
719 views

When you try to terminate a process for good, which option for “kill” should you use?

I am getting a lot of mixed messages from people, and was wondering if it there really is not much of a difference in what you use. kill 'x' killall 'x' kill -9 'x' These are some options I've been ...
22
votes
2answers
5k views

When was a process started

To know when was a process started, my first guess was to check the time when /proc/<pid>/cmdline was written/modified the last time. ps also shows a START field. I thought both of these ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I set the processor affinity of a process on Linux?

The question is all in the title: How can I set the processor affinity of a process on Linux?
21
votes
1answer
540 views

What does it mean to have a minus sign as the first character of a command in htop output?

In htop, or other commands that show process status, all bash processes have in the command column /bin/bash but one process has in the command column -bash What does it mean?
20
votes
3answers
912 views

Can other users view the arguments passed to a command?

If I invoke a command with arguments like so: bob@bob-pc:~$ command -arg1 -arg2 ...can other users view the arguments passed to the command?
20
votes
3answers
21k views

Which process has PID 0?

I'm looking for the process started in Linux which has process ID 0. I know init has PID 1 , which is the first process in Linux, is there any process with PID 0?
19
votes
4answers
9k views

How do I find out which processes are preventing unmounting of a device?

Sometimes, I would like to umount a usb device, but I get a drive is busy error. How do I find out which processes or programs are accessing the device?