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Raising Skinny Elephants

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The magic SysRq key is a key combination in the Linux kernel which allows the user to perform various low level commands regardless of the system's state using the SysRq key. It is often used to recover from freezes, or to reboot a computer without corrupting the filesystem. The key combination consists of Alt, SysRq and another key.

"Raising Skinny Elephants" Mnemonic Device

To perform a safe reboot of a Linux computer which has otherwise locked up, the mnemonic "Raising Skinny Elephants Is Utterly Boring" or "Raising Elephants Is So Utterly Boring", the more sensible "Reboot System Even If Utterly Broken" or simply remembering the word "BUSIER" backwards, is often useful. It stands for

unRaw (take control of keyboard back from X),
Sync (flush data to disk),
tErminate (send SIGTERM to all processes, allowing them to terminate gracefully),
kIll (send SIGKILL to all processes, forcing them to terminate immediately),
Unmount (remount all filesystems read-only),
These keystrokes should be entered a few seconds apart.

This should prevent a fsck being required on reboot; it also gives some programs a chance to save emergency backups of unsaved work.

From: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_SysRq_key

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