I accidentally deleted some upstart job conf (in /etc/init/). Unfortunately I didn't set any respawn limit, and those jobs are now unstoppable.

I searched online but didn't find any answers, hope I will have better luck here. Regards R

PS: I'm using ubuntu 12.04


2 Answers 2


Assuming you know what files you have deleted, you can:

  • restore them from a backup (you have backups, right?)
  • if you don't have a backup, you can locate the package that provides the file using either:

    # dpkg-query -S /path/to/file

    (if you still have the package installed; you should, you just deleted a file from it)

    # apt-file /path/to/file

    (if you don't have the packaged installed anymore, for whatever reason)

    You can also use the Ubuntu Packages Search web site.

  • Afterwards, when you know which package that file you deleted came from, you can just

    # aptitude reinstall package

    and the file will be there again and you will be able to stop your processes normaly.

  • Thx for your answer but it was custom made upstart conf file.
    – rmonjo
    Apr 2, 2014 at 8:31
  • So, you don't have any other copy of it, say, in a repository somewhere?
    – dawud
    Apr 2, 2014 at 9:10
  • They are generated by a script, I generated them back, but now way to kill them: sudo stop my-job answers with my-job, start/running, process 32061
    – rmonjo
    Apr 2, 2014 at 9:27
  • What stops you from SIGKILL/SIGTERM them?
    – dawud
    Apr 2, 2014 at 9:47
  • Well, they respawn :) But I actually figured it out. Restarting the job seems to reset to a coherent state.
    – rmonjo
    Apr 2, 2014 at 9:59

I've tried to reproduce, and as long as the service is running, upstart will know how to stop it with stop $svcname. You can see if upstart knows about it with initctl list | grep $svcname. If upstart doesn't list it, then you should be able to kill it with kill. Make sure the service doesn't have its own watchdog/parent process, though, in which case you would have to kill that instead.

  • 1
    Thx for your answer. I see my jobs in initctl list, but when I sudo stop myjob, it ends up telling me: my-job start/running, process 23213.
    – rmonjo
    Apr 2, 2014 at 8:27

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