I have a Linux process that is consuming 100% cpu, and "kill -9 pid" doesn't work.

This is somewhat similar to: How to kill processes unresponsive to kill -9

But I'm sure that the pid is not changing, and this is the parent processes. I don't think it is waiting on NFS.

Could excessive network traffic cause such behavior? Any other ideas what could cause the process to get stuck like this, and what I can do about it except rebooting?


Generally if a process won't respond to "kill -9", it means it's waiting for some resource. Sometimes that's a file or network read, sometimes it has a child process that hasn't exited and it's waiting for it to be reaped, or its parent is hung and can't reap it. In the latter case, the process will show up in "ps" with a status of "Z" for "Zombie".

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    And in the former - "D" for "uninterruptible sleep" – wRAR Sep 16 '09 at 16:55

If the process is in the uninterruptible sleep, you can't kill it without removing the cause of sleep, but I don't think it eats any CPU in that state (and iowait is not a part of process CPU utilization, AFAIK). If the process can't be killed because of kernel OOPS - you'd better reboot.

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Ask ps auxf what child processes the zombie-PID has and try to kill them first.

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  • No, it won't help. And do not call non-zombie processes "zombie". – wRAR Sep 16 '09 at 19:22
  • assuemd it was a zombie... sorry for being naive :) – PEra Sep 22 '09 at 17:05

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