I have started a wget on remote machine in background using &. Suddenly it stops downloading. I want to terminate its process, then re-run the command. How can I terminate it?

I haven't closed its shell window. But as you know it doesn't stop using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+Z.


There are many ways to go about this.

Method #1 - ps

You can use the ps command to find the process ID for this process and then use the PID to kill the process.


$ ps -eaf | grep [w]get 
saml      1713  1709  0 Dec10 pts/0    00:00:00 wget ...

$ kill 1713

Method #2 - pgrep

You can also find the process ID using pgrep.


$ pgrep wget

$ kill 1234

Method #3 - pkill

If you're sure it's the only wget you've run you can use the command pkill to kill the job by name.


$ pkill wget

Method #4 - jobs

If you're in the same shell from where you ran the job that's now backgrounded. You can check if it's running still using the jobs command, and also kill it by its job number.


My fake job, sleep.

$ sleep 100 &
[1] 4542

Find it's job number. NOTE: the number 4542 is the process ID.

$ jobs
[1]+  Running                 sleep 100 &

$ kill %1
[1]+  Terminated              sleep 100

Method #5 - fg

You can bring a backgrounded job back to the foreground using the fg command.


Fake job, sleep.

$ sleep 100 &
[1] 4650

Get the job's number.

$ jobs
[1]+  Running                 sleep 100 &

Bring job #1 back to the foreground, and then use Ctrl+C.

$ fg 1
sleep 100
  • 1
    @MohammadEtemaddar - use the 2nd number from the output of ps. The 3rd # is the parent's process id. – slm Dec 12 '13 at 7:34
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    @MohammadEtemaddar - ah, the ps is finding the grep. Do it like this: ps -eaef| grep [w]get. – slm Dec 12 '13 at 7:54
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    @MohammadEtemaddar - you can also use pgrep instead, pgrep wget. – slm Dec 12 '13 at 7:56
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    @MohammadEtemaddar - sorry the extra e is a typo. Should read ps -eaf | grep [w]get. The options are are in the ps man page. man ps. – slm Dec 12 '13 at 8:01
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    kill %% kills the last background process. Repeating it will kill the one before and so on. kill %1 kills the first background process. – Ronny Sherer Feb 5 at 12:06

In bash you can use fg to get the job to the foreground and then use Ctrl+C

Or list the process in the background with jobs and then do

kill %1

(with 1 replaced by the number jobs gave you)


You can equally use kill $! to kill the most recently backgrounded job.

  • If it's used as a command like an alias in a bash profile, be sure to wrap in single quotes. – Nate Ritter Sep 27 '19 at 20:57

EDIT: Once in the foreground, you can Ctrl+C, or as @Zelda mentions, kill with the '%x' where 'x' is the job number will send the default signal (most likely SIGTERM in the case of Linux).

just type fg to bring it to the foreground, if it was the last process you backgrounded (with '&').

If it was not the last one, type: jobs and find the 'job number', represented in '[]'. Then just type:

fg 2

..where '2' is the job number, for example:

foo@bar:~/junk/books$ jobs
[1]+  Running                 okular how_to_cook_a_turkey.pdf &
foo@bar:~/junk/books$ fg 1
okular how_to_cook_a_turkey.pdf            <- this is now in the foreground.

The correct way is to type jobs then use the job number to kill it. In order to use the pid to kill it you need to bring it to the foreground as noted in the first answer.

Try this

~/Desktop$ sleep 1000 &
[1] 7056

~/Desktop$ jobs

[1]+  Running  sleep 1000 &

/Desktop$ kill %1  #(%1 is the job number)

If you run jobs right after you kill it you should see this

Desktop$ jobs
[1]+  Terminated              sleep 1000

One thing I don't see here, which I've found very useful especially when testing out commands, is pidof. You can use pidof [command] to find the process id of a process that is currently running. I like it because it allows me to quickly find the id of the command I want, which is usually something I just invoked.

Once you have the pid, you can simply kill the process. It allows for creating simple scripts for killing a process only if it's currently running.

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    Ah this helped me! kill %1 wasn't working for some reason, "kill: failed to parse argument: '%1'" and Ctrl+C wasn't working; couldn't find process in ps or anything because it was root (I forgot I used sudo with it) – mjohnsonengr Mar 23 '17 at 15:47

A common example is the stress tool. Let say you ran the following:

$ stress -c 4 -m 4 

and closed the terminal window. The process would continue eating your resources from the background.

Hers’s what I do:

$ x=`pgrep stress` ; sudo kill -9 $x 

pgrep lists the PIDs of the subjected process and stores it into variable x which then used by kill -9 to terminate it.


in bash last stopped process (Ctrl-Z) you will kill by:

kill %%
kill -9 %%

or if want to choose, use:



kill %N

like kill %2


The Easiest way is to use -9 flag on kill command

user@host:/path> jobs
[1]+  Running                 /usr/home/script1.sh $i &
user@host:/path> fg
/usr/home/script1.sh $i
[1]+  Stopped                 /usr/home/script1.sh $i
user@host:/path> kill -9 %1
[1]+  Stopped                 /usr/home/script1.sh $i
[1]+  Killed                  /usr/home/script1.sh $i
user@host:/path> jobs

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