kill defunct processes by killing their parents

ps afx | grep defunct -B 1 | grep -Eo "[0-9]{3,}" | xargs kill -9
defunct processes (zombies) usually have to be killed by killing their parent processes. this command retrieves such zombies and their immediate parents and kills all of the matching processes.

-1
By: pholz
2012-04-27 16:16:34

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  • It identifies the parents of the Zombie processes and kill them. So the new parent of orphan Zombies will be the Init process and he is already waiting for reaping them. Be careful! It may also kill your useful processes just because they are not taking care and waiting for their children (bad parents!). Show Sample Output


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    kill -9 `ps -xaw -o state -o ppid | grep Z | grep -v PID | awk '{print $2}'`
    khashmeshab · 2010-10-27 07:29:14 7
  • This command kills all processes with 'SomeCommand' in the process name. There are other more elegant ways to extract the process names from ps but they are hard to remember and not portable across platforms. Use this command with caution as you could accidentally kill other matching processes! xargs is particularly handy in this case because it makes it easy to feed the process IDs to kill and it also ensures that you don't try to feed too many PIDs to kill at once and overflow the command-line buffer. Note that if you are attempting to kill many thousands of runaway processes at once you should use 'kill -9'. Otherwise the system will try to bring each process into memory before killing it and you could run out of memory. Typically when you want to kill many processes at once it is because you are already in a low memory situation so if you don't 'kill -9' you will make things worse


    -7
    ps axww | grep SomeCommand | awk '{ print $1 }' | xargs kill
    philiph · 2009-02-28 17:48:51 5
  • explanation: grep -- displays process ids -v -- negates the matching, displays all but what is specified in the other options -u -- specifies the user to display, or in this case negate The process loops through all PIDs that are found by pgrep, then orders a forced kill to the processes in numerical order, effectively killing the parent processes first including the shells in use which will force the users to logout. Tested on Slackware Linux 12.2 and Slackware-current


    1
    for i in $(pgrep -v -u root);do kill -9 $i;done
    lostnhell · 2009-03-24 02:54:52 2
  • Shows all those processes; useful when building some massively forking script that could lead to zombies when you don't have your waitpid()'s done just right.


    5
    watch "ps auxw | grep 'defunct' | grep -v 'grep' | grep -v 'watch'"
    coffeeaddict_nl · 2009-08-11 12:22:13 1

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