How To Run A Command In Background In Linux

Using the Linux terminal command line interface can be a powerful and efficient way to interact with your system. One notable feature is the ability to run commands or programs in the background while you continue to use the terminal for other tasks. This can be especially useful for running long processes that don’t require your attention to complete.

Here is a simple guide on how to do it.

Using the Ampersand (&)

The most straightforward way to run a command in the background is by appending an ampersand (&) at the end of the command. For example:

    $ command &

This will immediately return control to the command line, allowing you to continue with other tasks while the command runs in the background.

Using the nohup Command

The nohup (no hangup) command is a way to make your command ignore the HUP (hangup) signal, which in effect makes it run even if the user logs out or the terminal is closed. It’s often used in combination with the & to run processes in the background. For instance:

    $ nohup command &

This ensures that the process continues to run even if you log out or close the terminal.

Using the screen Command

The screen command is a full-featured terminal multiplexer, which can be used to run multiple terminal sessions and switch between them. Also, it can be used to keep a process running even after you’ve logged out. Here’s how it works:

    $ screen
    $ command
    # Press Ctrl+a, then d to detach from the screen session

You can then log out and the command will continue to run in the background. To re-attach to the screen session, use the screen -r command.

Running commands in the background can greatly enhance your productivity on the Linux command line. All these methods provide a way of running your long-running processes while freeing up your terminal for other tasks.