I'm running QEMU on Linux without GUI.

After running starting my custom kernel with QEMU, I can't kill and return to host by pressing Ctrl+C.

Is there any way to get back to host OS?

5 Answers 5


Ctrl-A X

For -nographic just enter:

Ctrl-A X

which means

  1. first press Ctrl + A (A is just key a, not the alt key),
  2. then release the keys,
  3. afterwards press X.


Tested in Ubuntu 17.10, QEMU 2.10.1.


To close a QEMU process in your shell:

ctrl+a, then x


Press Cntl-Alt-2 and then use the close button on the menu.

enter image description here

You can find more useful shortcuts here

  • 2
    I found the Ctrl part unnecessary. Alt-2 does the job.
    – Jet Blue
    Sep 16, 2020 at 23:03

Ok, found a solution.

  1. Opened new terminal session: ctrl+alt+f2
  2. Used ps to find PID of previous tty: ps -fu
  3. Killed previous tty: kill -HUP PID
  • 6
    This is a really inferior solution to the most upvoted answer here. I will not downvote the answer, since it was entered before the better solutions.
    – EFraim
    Aug 21, 2018 at 8:05
  • Not necessarily inferior, it still caters to situations where the CtrlA,X way doesn't work, eg when qemu gets stuck trying to bring up an OS. It's just an alternate answer.
    – Mendhak
    Oct 15, 2023 at 11:21

This is just in addition to other answers, where ctrl-a x works but you've aliased over it. If you're like me, you're using tmux with ctrl-b replaced with ctrl-a, which is why you can't use ctrl-a x. A simple solution to this is to use tmux's send-keys utility to send ctrl-a x to qemu.

In a running tmux window, press ctrl-a : to bring up the tmux prompt, then type send-keys C-a x Enter and qemu will quit.

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