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I know of terminating a command with & and then moving it into the background by pressing Ctrl-Z and then bg [pid], and I also know of nohup.

But say you started a process that turned out to take much longer than one expected, is there a way of pulling, so to speak, this process from another terminal screen into the background so that even if I log off from the server the process would continue?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted
  • Suspend it:


  • restart in background:

  • and tell the shell to not kill it on logout (SIGHUP):


    Note: Plain disown removes the job from the shell's jobs list completely, while disown -h just marks it as "do not kill on logout" but leaves on the list.

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You can do this mid-process? Take this for an example. I have a FreeNAS box and I mount the old Windows share, then I start copying from the old to the new only to find out that copying 1 TB over a 100Mb network is taking longer than I'd like. Could I do what you just described AFTER starting the copy? – Mustafa Ismail Mustafa Jan 18 '11 at 15:15
@Mustafa: Yes, that's precisely what I described. (You do already know the meaning of Ctrl-Z and bg, don't you?) – grawity Jan 18 '11 at 15:20
Yeah, I didn't know about disown though. Many thanks :) – Mustafa Ismail Mustafa Jan 18 '11 at 15:42
Another thing. Is there any way I can "re-own" a process? Or am I asking for too much? – Mustafa Ismail Mustafa Jan 18 '11 at 16:52
@Mustafa: You cannot. (There are tools such as retty, but they don't work well.) Next time, run the program inside tmux/screen/dtach, but for now you'll have to live with it. – grawity Jan 18 '11 at 19:05

Always run "screen" when you first login. Look into I use byobu to automatically start a screen session whenever I log in. That way, I automatically have screen running and I can disconnect the session or start a new window whenever I need it.

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Nice! I sorta knew that there should be something like that. Good to know I'm not the first one in the world to encounter something like this :p But nothing that would do what I said? I'm backing up VMs and the smarty that I am didn't realize that they're in excess of 1 TB :s – Mustafa Ismail Mustafa Jan 17 '11 at 20:15
I don't know of a way to do exactly what you ask. – edgester Jan 17 '11 at 20:20
Thanks in any case :) – Mustafa Ismail Mustafa Jan 18 '11 at 15:13

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