This morning I bumped into something I've never seen before and I can't seem to find a way to fix it. I was inspecting a large bzipped tarball (e.g. tar jtf myfile.tar.bz2) and before it completed, I hit Ctrl+C to abort the output since I'd seen as much as I needed to see. The output stopped and the prompt appeared.

So far, nothing out of the ordinary, but then I tried to type. And nothing appeared. And the cursor didn't move. Or blink. What I typed did register, though. Although there's no visible indication that I had done anything, the command I typed executed when I pressed Enter. The Enter key does work.

Has anyone ever seen this? Any idea how I can get back to zero without having to quit and relaunch terminal?


1 Answer 1


It happens sometime that the shell gets all messed up. I found that sending a reset give me back my prompt.

I found 2 ways to do that:

  • Using the mouse to select Shell > Send Reset (command-R)
  • Or typing reset in the terminal

Hope this helps!

  • 1
    I'd love to know why the shell gets messed up, but this really did help. I can reproduce the issue at will, but as soon as I type reset (even though I can't see it) and hit Enter...poof! Good as new. Thank you. Aug 18, 2010 at 19:38
  • 4
    In MacOS El Capitan's Terminal, it's Shell -> Reset (Alt+Cmd+R) or (if needed, ) Hard Reset (Ctrl+Alt+Cmd+R). In iTerm2, it's Session -> Reset (Cmd+R).
    – Dominik
    Feb 21, 2018 at 16:17
  • @RobWilkerson this keeps happening to me when pytest (Python test framework) crashes.
    – Jerinaw
    Sep 7, 2022 at 16:16

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