Shell suspend, kill and bring back on jobs

1 minute read

  • This should be true of any shell with job control

Hitting Ctrl + z will suspend currently running process and send it to background, fastest way to bring it back on is running fg.


By default, a process running in the terminal is a process running in the foreground. A process can also run in background.


  • Ctrl + z will suspend the currently foregrounded program
  • bg will background the most recently suspended program
    • To run a process in background, insert & after the process name
      firefox &

    note the process could otputs to stderr or stdout so it could cluter terminal in that case redirect it’s output to file or do something like this:

      bundle exec jekyll serve --incremental & > /dev/null
  • fg will foreground the most recently suspended program

  • jobs will list backgrounded process with their numbers
    • To kill a process use its job_spec kill -9 %[job_spec]
    • To start (unpause) suspended background process bg %[job_spec] or just bg for last suspended one.
    • Move job to foreground fg %[job_spec]


In a diferent shell instance or user we need to know the PID

  • get PID with ps aux | grep ... / pgrep ...
  • act on process:

      kill -STOP $PID #suspend the process
      kill -CONT $PID #continue (resume) process

    or using program name

      killall -STOP program_name
      pkill -STOP program_name
      pkill -f -STOP program_name_or_args

    Also it could be send CONT signal to a program stopped with Ctrl + z.