In the bash terminal I can hit Control+Z to suspend any running process... then I can type fg to resume the process.

Is it possible to suspend a process if I only have it's PID? And if so, what command should I use?

I'm looking for something like:

suspend-process $PID_OF_PROCESS

and then to resume it with

resume-process $PID_OF_PROCESS

2 Answers 2


You can use kill to stop the process.

For a 'polite' stop to the process (prefer this for normal use), send SIGTSTP:

kill -TSTP [pid]

For a 'hard' stop, send SIGSTOP:

kill -STOP [pid]

Note that if the process you are trying to stop by PID is in your shell's job table, it may remain visible there, but terminated, until the process is fg'd again.

To resume execution of the process, sent SIGCONT:

kill -CONT [pid]
  • 37
    Unless there are other reasons for it, I would prefer SIGTSTP over SIGSTOP, as some applications do handle SIGTSTP specially. For example, if scp is showing a progress bar, SIGTSTP will cause it to clean up the terminal mode before suspending, but if you send SIGSTOP, it will not have a chance to do so.
    – ephemient
    Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 21:55
  • 5
    @ephemient I tried SIGTSTP, I saw what you were saying about it cleaning up the terminal. Thanks for the explanation of SIGTSTP, alawys good to learn new things :) Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 22:38
  • 5
    Also useful to note that you can reference the [pid] value by using the % symbol and then the job number (one that you can find by running jobs). So you'd go: kill -TSTP %1
    – Karoh
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 22:58
  • 2
    See also: [stackoverflow.com/questions/11886812/… Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 8:15
  • 1
    Why do you mean by it may remain visible there, but terminated ? It's not terminated but stopped/paused. I tried kill -STOP and it behaves exactly like kill -TSTP for shell jobs.
    – Rick
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 16:29

You should use the kill command for that.

To be more verbose - you have to specify the right signal, i.e.


for suspending the process and


for resuming it. Documented at 24.2.5 Job Control Signals.

  • 2
    I wonder what accident of history led to this answer getting fewer votes? The answers are nearly the same and this one came first....
    – Wildcard
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 3:08
  • 13
    @Wildcard, when I created the answer I was a bit in a hurry, thus, it basically just contained the first part up to kill -TSTP (i.e. how to suspend). 1/2 year later, i.e. 2011, I revisited my answer and noticed its incompleteness. Thus, I edited it and added also the kill -CONT part. This should explain the difference in votes in comparison with Steve's answer. Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 7:25

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