When running a program that is heavy on resources it sometimes stops everything else from running. Entering Alt-F2 to open a terminal and kill it has no effect and my only recourse is to power off an on my machine. Is this something I just have to tolerate with Ubuntu or do I have any other alternative ways of killing the program?

  • No, it's not normal, but there are some things that can be done to minimize/eliminate problems. Show me free -h and sysctl vm.swappiness.
    – heynnema
    May 10, 2019 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


If your system suffers from an Out-of-memory condition, there is a low-level key combination that will kill the process that uses the most RAM. To do so, press Alt + SysRq + F.

More of these "Magic SysRq Key" combinations can be found here.

  • The only Magic SysRq key combo that seems to work for me is Alt+SysRq+b for a hard reboot. Entering any other combinations has no effect for some reason.
    – Des Magner
    May 13, 2019 at 17:13

The only solution I have found is to use the Ctrl-Alt-F_ key sequence to open a separate terminal and kill the offending process. Although it usually takes a long while to respond to this key sequence.

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