I've set up a fresh hard drive with:

  • arch
  • openbox
  • xorg
  • xcompmgr, xfce4-power-manager, volumeicon, dropbox are running in background

Now, my computer is hanging on seemingly nothing.

  • No mouse buttons work
  • No system tray icons respond (I'm using tint2).
  • The time is updating
  • Keys like screen brightness still function (and even show a notification)
  • My mouse cursor still moves around.

Is there anyway for me to exit openbox from this state?

I'm too afraid to forcibly shutdown (that's why I had to get a fresh hard drive in the first place...) and I apparently have no access to terminals or programs.


Try Ctrl Alt Backspace - this is the standard combination to kill X server.

Second option is to get away from X to a console using Ctrl Alt F1-F6, login into console and kill the hanging process.

If neither of the above work and you have ssh server running on this machine, you can try remote logging from another machine.

Last resort is using the magic SysRq key - while holding Alt and SysRq keys, press (in order):

  • r to take control of keyboard back from X
  • e to send SIGTERM signal to all processes
  • i to send SIGKILL to processes that are still alive
  • s to sync filesystems
  • u to remount them in read-only mode
  • b to reboot
|improve this answer|||||

Less dramatic alternatives to restarting the whole x-session or even the computer are, if possible, open or alt+tab to a terminal and try a window manager replacement command.

some-other-wm --replace

That will, as the name implies, replace the window manager, but preserve the current session. Therefore, if the unresponsiveness is caused by something other than openbox (which is probably more likely), it may bring you another semi-responsive window manager.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.