I'm trying to solve a common annoyance: when SSH'd into remote servers I often do things that produce a lot more output than I'm expecting. For example, grepping a large log file with a pattern that turns out to be too general. As garbage churns by I sit there hitting ^C and wishing I'd remembered to pipe to less. My best idea so far has been to try to configure my shell to always page output, I asked another question about that. Other than that, I only have less-than-optimal solutions:

  • Wait patiently for the output to finish
  • Train myself to always pipe to less
  • Get a bigger pipe and a faster box so output goes faster

What do you do?

3 Answers 3


Try using screen. http://www.gnu.org/software/screen

You can switch to another shell and continue working on something else while the output completes and has the added advantage that the output will not be sent to your remote link if you are not watching it.

There is also support for buffer scrollback in screen, so you can page or search through the output when it is done.

If you are not using screen, ^C is not responding and you really need to terminate the job, you may want to try '~.' (the default ssh interrupt) to terminate the ssh session. You may need to hit enter before typing '~.'

  • I should have added killing my ssh session or switching to another one as one of my sub-optimal solutions. I do run screen but I run it locally, so switching to another shell means logging in again, that's one of the annoyances I'm trying to avoid. These are good suggestions, though. Thanks. Jun 26, 2009 at 14:13

Other than the 3 suggestions you've mentioned, you an try ^Z, then just kill the process and fix it.

  • Sometimes I've found processes that don't stop with ^C will pause for ^Z Jun 30, 2009 at 8:50

Work smarter.. use screen. Pipe to less. Double check the commands you are running.. attention to detail.

Test commands locally if you do have to munge regex foo.

You mention logged in again is a problem, use ssh keys and a key management agent.

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