Charnell Lucich

Linux: Quick little key command for a frozen system.

Posted on: September 9, 2007

We’ve all been in this situation at one time or another (or several times), I know I have. I came across a neat little article from FOSSwire that will help out in these situations. Installing a bad driver can cause utter frustration when your system freezes up and ctrl+alt+backspace isn’t working. You want to hit the power button as a first reaction but you know that could possibly cause more damage than what’s already been caused (especially if your hard drive is still being written to).

I wasn’t aware that the Linux kernel had a secret little key command that let’s me reboot my system easily:

  • Hold down the Alt and SysRq (Print Screen) keys.
  • While holding those down, type the following in order. Note that nothing will appear to happen until the last letter is pressed: REISUB
  • Watch your computer reboot magically.

What the individual keys do in that sequence are not as important as what it does as a whole: stops all programs, unmounts all drives, and reboots. Certainly a lot safer than just hitting the power button.

So keep in mind, when configuring a system and something gets buggered, REISUB will help save the day. This isn’t something that you should try just to reboot your computer. Anytime you can reboot your computer normally, you should.


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