I have a java process that cannot be killed. I have tried every method I know, or that I have found on the internet to no avail. I have tried:

killall java
kill -9 <pid>
kill -11 <pid>
kill -6 <pid> 

No matter what I try, I cannot kill the program. If this helps, it has a dynamic PID, and this has happened before and I somehow killed it last time.

  • are you sure you are using the correct PID?
    – amphibient
    Jan 14, 2013 at 21:19
  • 1
    Are you sure the program is still alive and not a zombie? BTW: There is usually no reason to kill -9 a process. Sending a SIGTERM, then SIGQUIT or SIGINT should make the program quit. If it doesn't it's buggy.
    – Marco
    Jan 14, 2013 at 21:19
  • 3
    It's also worth noting that it's often impossible to kill processes that are currently waiting on I/O.
    – tink
    Jan 14, 2013 at 21:21
  • Disagree with Marco about the use value of SIGKILL and the assertion that a program that responds to that but not SIGTERM is "buggy". $0.02
    – goldilocks
    Jan 14, 2013 at 21:27
  • 1
    @goldilocks A program cannot respond to SIGKILL. Usually you want to give the program a change to clean up (close files, network connections, etc) and then exit and that's what SIGTERM is for. If you tell a program to terminate and it refuses, it's a bug! SIGINT or SIGQUIT should not be necessary, but some programs respond to the signals and exit immediately. SIGKILL is only useful if you want to prevent the program from cleaning up or in the rare case it got stuck in the clean-up code.
    – Marco
    Jan 14, 2013 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


It's rare but possible for processes to end up in a D (uninterrupted sleep) state and they cannot be killed. You can check with:

ps -o cmd,stat -p <pid>

If the STAT is D, that's the issue.

If not I suggest you add some more information to your post such as exactly what the process is, what it is doing, and why you want to kill it.

  • 1
    Most of the time this is due to faulty hardware, a kernel bug, or issues with network storage such as NFS.
    – jordanm
    Jan 14, 2013 at 21:39
  • Yes -- a failing hard disk would be a possble cause. If there are bad blocks somewhere the JRE in particular wants access, that would do it.
    – goldilocks
    Jan 14, 2013 at 21:45

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