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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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shutdown — terminate all processing


/sbin/shutdown [-h|-r] [-y] [-o] [grace]

/sbin/shutdown -R [-H] [-y] [-o] [grace]


The shutdown command is part of the HP-UX system operation procedures. Its primary function is to terminate all currently running processes in an orderly and cautious manner. shutdown can be used to put the system in single-user mode for administrative purposes such as backup or file system consistency checks (see fsck(1M)), to halt or reboot the system, or to make the partition ready for reconfiguration. By default, shutdown is an interactive program.

Options and Arguments

shutdown recognizes the following options and arguments.


Shut down the system and halt.


Shut down the system and reboot automatically.


Shut down the system to a ready-to-reconfigure state and reboot if possible. If the partition is unable to reboot, it will stop at a ready-to-reconfigure state. However, if the -H option is also specified, the system will always stop at ready-to-reconfigure state. This option is available only on systems that support hardware partitions.


Shut down the system to a ready-to-reconfigure state and do not reboot. This option can be used only in combination with the -R option. This option is available only on systems that support hardware partitions.


Do not require any interactive responses from the user. (Respond yes or no as appropriate to all questions, such that the user does not interact with the shutdown process.)


When executed on the cluster server in a diskless cluster environment, shutdown the server only and do not reboot clients. If this argument is not entered the default behavior is to reboot all clients when the server is shutdown.


Either a decimal integer that specifies the duration in seconds of a grace period for users to log off before the system shuts down, or the word now. The default is 60. If grace is either 0 or now, shutdown runs more quickly, giving users very little time to log out.

If -r (reboot) or -h (halt) or -R (reconfigure) are not specified, standalone and server systems are placed in single-user state. Either -r (reboot) or -h (halt) must be specified for a client; shutdown to single-user state is not allowed for a client. See init(1M).

Shutdown Procedure

shutdown goes through the following steps:

  • The PATH environment variable is reset to /usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin.

  • The IFS environment variable is reset to space, tab, newline.

  • The user is checked for authorization to execute the shutdown command. Only authorized users can execute the shutdown command. See FILES for more information on the /etc/shutdown.allow authorization file.

  • The current working directory is changed to the root directory (/).

  • All file systems' super blocks are updated; see sync(1M). This must be done before rebooting the system to ensure file system integrity.

  • The real user ID is set to that of the superuser.

  • A broadcast message is sent to all users currently logged in on the system telling them to log out. The administrator can specify a message at this time; otherwise, a standard warning message is displayed.

  • The next step depends on whether a system is standalone, a server, or a client.

    • If the system is standalone, /sbin/rc is executed to shut down subsystems, unmount file systems, and perform other tasks to bring the system to run level 0.

    • If the system is a server, the optional -o argument is used to determine if all clients in the cluster should also be rebooted. The default behavior (command-line parameter -o is not entered) is to reboot all clients using /sbin/reboot; entering -o results in the server only being rebooted and the clients being left alone. Then /sbin/rc is executed to shut down subsystems, unmount file systems, and perform other tasks to bring the system to run level 0.

    • If the system is a client, /sbin/rc is executed to bring the system down to run-level 2, and then /sbin/reboot is executed. Shutdown to the single-user state is not an allowed option for clients.

  • The system is rebooted, halted, or put in the ready-to-reconfigure state by executing /sbin/reboot if the -h or -r or -R option was chosen. If the system was not a cluster client and the system was being brought down to single-user state, a signal is sent to the init process to change states (see init(1M)).


device busy

This is the most commonly encountered error diagnostic, and happens when a particular file system could not be unmounted; see mount(1M).

user not allowed to shut down this system

User is not authorized to shut down the system. User and system must both be included in the authorization file /etc/shutdown.allow.


Immediately reboot the system and run HP-UX again:

shutdown -r 0

Halt the system in 5 minutes (300 seconds) with no interactive questions and answers:

shutdown -h -y 300

Go to run-level s in 10 minutes:

shutdown 600

Immediately shut down a partition so that it can be deleted:

shutdown -R -H 0

Reboot a partition in 5 minutes so that new cells that have been assigned to the partition become active:

shutdown -R 300


The user name compared with the entry in the shutdown.allow file is obtained using getpwuid() (see getpwent(3C)).

The hostname in /etc/shutdown.allow is compared with the hostname obtained using gethostbyname() (see gethostent(3N)).

shutdown must be executed from a directory on the root volume, such as the / directory.

The maximum broadcast message that can be sent is approximately 970 characters.

When executing shutdown on an NFS diskless cluster server and the -o option is not entered, clients of the server will be rebooted. No clients should be individually rebooted or shutdown while the cluster is being shutdown.

If the -R option is used in a virtual partition environment on a partitionable system, then the requested reconfiguration will not take place until all the virtual partitions on that hard partition are shut down and the virtual partition monitor is rebooted.



Authorization file.

The file contains lines that consist of a system host name and the login name of a user who is authorized to reboot or halt the system. A superuser's login name must be included in this file in order to execute shutdown. However, if the file is missing or of zero length, the root user can run the shutdown program to bring the system down.

This file does not affect authorization to bring the system down to single-user state for maintenance purposes; that operation is permitted only when invoked by a superuser.

A comment character, #, at the beginning of a line causes the rest of the line to be ignored (comments cannot span multiple lines without additional comment characters). Blank lines are also ignored.

The wildcard character + can be used in place of a host name or a user name to specify all hosts or all users, respectively (see hosts.equiv(4)).

For example:

# user1 can shut down systemA and systemB systemA user1 systemB user1 # root can shut down any system + root # Any user can shut down systemC systemC +


fsck(1M), init(1M), killall(1M), mount(1M), reboot(1M), sync(1M), gethostent(3N), getpwent(3C), hosts.equiv(4).

For more information about shutdowns and reboots on Superdome systems, see the manual, Managing Superdome Complexes: A Guide for System Administrators, available on the web at http://docs.hp.com.

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