How To Kernel Panic Linux

Kernel Panic is a term that describes a scenario where the system’s kernel experiences a fatal error from which it cannot recover. It could be due to hardware faults, corrupted software, or incompatible kernel modules. This blog post will guide you on how to induce a kernel panic situation on a Linux system and the reasons why it might be necessary.

Why Would You Want to Kernel Panic Linux?

While it may seem counterintuitive, there are scenarios where inducing a kernel panic can be useful. For instance, it can be a valuable tool when testing system recovery processes or the system’s behavior under critical conditions. It’s also useful in understanding how a system would react if it experiences a fatal system error.

Inducing Kernel Panic

To manually induce a kernel panic, we will use the sysctl command which is used in Linux to modify kernel parameters at runtime. We will alter the kernel.panic file, which holds the value (in seconds) that the kernel waits before rebooting after a panic.

sudo sysctl -w kernel.panic=1

After executing this command, the kernel would wait for 1 second before rebooting in the event of a panic. This short time period can be increased if you want to have ample time to study the error message before the system reboots.

The next step is to trigger the panic. We will use the echo c > /proc/sysrq-trigger command to do this. /proc/sysrq-trigger is a file used to communicate with the kernel and can be used to perform various kernel level operations.

echo c | sudo tee /proc/sysrq-trigger

Running this command will instruct the kernel to crash, thus causing a kernel panic.


Inducing a kernel panic is a risky operation and should be done with care and preferably in a testing environment. It’s also important to remember that this is a powerful tool that can provide valuable insights into system behavior during critical events.