When I adb shell into my device (from Windows desktop), and run some command there, sometimes I want to terminate that command. The standard unixy way to do it is with Ctrl+C key combination. However, when I do that, the whole adb shell terminates.

How can I terminate just the current program inside the shell, not the shell itself?

  • I read a forum post claiming that <kbd>Ctrl</kbd>+<kbd>]</kbd> worked, but I tried it with no luck. Your mileage may vary. There appears to be no way to have adb pass Ctrl-C on, since it doesn't capture SIGINT. The standard Ctrl-V method doesn't seem to work for Ctrl-C, though it did convert Enter to ^J , unfortunately. Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 2:29

5 Answers 5


I found sort of a workaround for this (at least for a rooted phone). If a phone is rooted, busybox is most probably installed. stty is part of busybox.

stty intr ^x

Redefines Ctrl+X to act as a break command, e.g. what was previously Ctrl+C.

  • 3
    That's pretty awesome. Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 5:36

Alt-NumPad 3 + Enter works for me. Alt-NumPad 0-NumPad 3 + Enter also works and displays "^C".


i was able to stop the top process and still stay in shell by typing the following in this order:




if I did not type all 3 of those combos it would not stop and I would have to CTRL+C to exit the shell. I found this by just trying different combinations of keys and found it by accident. YMMV

  • Ctrl+Z suspends a process, e.g. you have to kill it later with kill or killall. This workaround is better than nothing, though...
    – haimg
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 4:48
  • i realized that after when i did an "exit". funny thing, it wasnt the ctrl+z that did anything, it didnt actually go back to the shell until i did ctrl+m, and if i didnt type "c" first, it didnt do anything. Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 5:04
  • This doesn't work for me (I tried vmstat not top though). Interestingly, when I press Ctrl-Z it looks like nothing happens but in fact my input starts being redirected straight to the Windows shell and not to adb. adb's output (from vmstat) keeps showing up in the shell window but I could type cd C: (for example) and it would execute in the Windows shell. If I then pressed Ctrl-C the output would stop and I would see the command I had typed into the Windows shell behind the scenes. Very weird! Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 5:45

Ctrl+\ followed by Enter usually works fine.

This will send a SIGQUIT signal which may not be appropriate for a server (dumps a core file for example) but I don't think it's a problem using this on an Android phone/tablet (which doesn't dump a core file by default). Easy solution that works in most cases.


On Windows, you can just enter [Alt]+[3] via the numpad (don't forget to press enter afterwards).
This sends [Ctrl]+[c] to the shell thereby terminating the current command:

D:\Android>adb shell
$ cat

$ exit


Note that [Alt]+[3] produces the ASCII-Char ♥ in Windows which equals the ETX-Byte.
You can also press [Alt]+[0]-[3] (hold the Alt key down while pressing [0] and [3] on the numpad) if you don't wand windows to display a heart ;)

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