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I accidentally killed Compiz in my Unity session and couldn't restart it. So I powered the PC off with the hardware button. I am wondering if that could cause damage to my system? I didn't have any applications running.

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I lost an entire system once this way. Not really common, but happens. Be a good boy. =D – H_7 Feb 26 '12 at 22:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted
  1. Ctrl+Alt+F1
  2. Login
  3. sudo init 0

Is it possible to damage something that way? Yes. Does it happen a lot? Not a whole lot in my experience. If you are trying to get Compiz to restart Ctrl+Alt+T usually pops open a terminal window and compiz & usually gets it restarted.

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That button is there just for the reason of shutting your system down when it is stalled! So in the case of shutdown using the button, no hardware damage is possible (noting that a corrupt file system or stored content is not a hardware problem).

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valid point. i just didn't want to deal with blowback from - i did it while upgrading my kernel and now b/c a grubinstall partially completed my PC won't boot...sometimes there just isn't a 100% correct response. – RobotHumans May 14 '11 at 12:44

the kernel has a few keyboard combo's in there that allows you to shutdown or logout safely:

alt gr + print screen + k (returns to login screen)

alt gr + print screen + o (safely forces a shutdown)

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The description is incomplete. Alt+PrintScr+K kills the current tty which may be the graphical desktop. Alt+PrintScr+O does not safely force a shutdown, it forces a shutdown! (note the omitted "safely"). See for a correct order of keystrokes – Lekensteyn Dec 15 '11 at 10:04

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