killall Man page

KILLALL(1) User Commands KILLALL(1)


killall – kill processes by name


killall [-Z, –context pattern] [-e, –exact] [-g, –process-group] [-i, –interactive] [-o, –older-than TIME] [-q, –quiet] [-r, –reg‐
exp] [-s, –signal SIGNAL, -SIGNAL] [-u, –user user] [-v, –verbose] [-w, –wait] [-y, –younger-than TIME] [-I, –ignore-case] [-V, –ver‐
sion] [–] name …
killall -l
killall -V, –version


killall sends a signal to all processes running any of the specified
commands. If no signal name is specified, SIGTERM is sent.

Signals can be specified either by name (e.g. -HUP or -SIGHUP) or by
number (e.g. -1) or by option -s.

If the command name is not regular expression (option -r) and contains
a slash (/), processes executing that particular file will be selected
for killing, independent of their name.

killall returns a zero return code if at least one process has been
killed for each listed command, or no commands were listed and at least
one process matched the -u and -Z search criteria. killall returns
non-zero otherwise.

A killall process never kills itself (but may kill other killall pro‐


-e, –exact
Require an exact match for very long names. If a command name
is longer than 15 characters, the full name may be unavailable
(i.e. it is swapped out). In this case, killall will kill
everything that matches within the first 15 characters. With
-e, such entries are skipped. killall prints a message for each
skipped entry if -v is specified in addition to -e,

-I, –ignore-case
Do case insensitive process name match.

-g, –process-group
Kill the process group to which the process belongs. The kill
signal is only sent once per group, even if multiple processes
belonging to the same process group were found.

-i, –interactive
Interactively ask for confirmation before killing.

-l, –list
List all known signal names.

-o, –older-than
Match only processes that are older (started before) the time
specified. The time is specified as a float then a unit. The
units are s,m,h,d,w,M,y for seconds, minutes, hours, days,
weeks, Months and years respectively.

-q, –quiet
Do not complain if no processes were killed.

-r, –regexp
Interpret process name pattern as a POSIX extended regular
expression, per regex.

-s, –signal, -SIGNAL
Send this signal instead of SIGTERM.

-u, –user
Kill only processes the specified user owns. Command names are

-v, –verbose
Report if the signal was successfully sent.

-V, –version
Display version information.

-w, –wait
Wait for all killed processes to die. killall checks once per
second if any of the killed processes still exist and only
returns if none are left. Note that killall may wait forever if
the signal was ignored, had no effect, or if the process stays
in zombie state.

-y, –younger-than
Match only processes that are younger (started after) the time
specified. The time is specified as a float then a unit. The
units are s,m,h,d,w,M,y for seconds, minutes, hours, days,
weeks, Months and years respectively.

-Z, –context
(SELinux Only) Specify security context: kill only processes
having security context that match with given expended regular
expression pattern. Must precede other arguments on the command
line. Command names are optional.

/proc location of the proc file system



Killing by file only works for executables that are kept open during
execution, i.e. impure executables can’t be killed this way.

Be warned that typing killall name may not have the desired effect on
non-Linux systems, especially when done by a privileged user.

killall -w doesn’t detect if a process disappears and is replaced by a
new process with the same PID between scans.

If processes change their name, killall may not be able to match them

killall has a limit of names that can be specified on the command line.
This figure is the size of an unsigned long multiplied by 8. For most
32 bit systems the limit is 32 and similarly for a 64 bit system the
limit is usually 64.


kill, fuser, pgrep, pidof, pkill, ps, kill,

psmisc 2012-7-28 KILLALL(1)

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