Every kernel-hacker should knows about the magic sysrq already, so this post is kind of unnecessary. To enable the magic, make sure CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ is set in your Kernel hacking tab.
I use this feature... a lot. Mostly for set loglevel and reboot the system, but it is also very useful when debugging. So, how to use it?
As everybody is using GNU Screen (what else) as their TTY terminal, the keyboard combination is: ctrl+A B. And here the magic begins! This combination simply sends a SysRq keycode to the target system.
To get information about available commands, press ctrl+A B h. h as in help.:
[669510.910125] SysRq : HELP : loglevel(0-9) reBoot Crash terminate-all-tasks(E) memory-full-oom-kill(F) kill-all-tasks(I) thaw-filesystems(J) saK show-memory-usage(M) nice-all-RT-tasks(N) powerOff show-registers(P) show-all-timers(Q) unRaw Sync show-task-states(T) Unmount show-blocked-tasks(W) dump-ftrace-buffer(Z) And here we go! My favorites are: 0-9, set debug level b, reboot the system (ingrained...) p, show a register dump ( useful if the system hangs) g, switch console to KGDB (I love KGDB) 1, Show all timers (good when looking for power-thieves)
The best part is that Magic SysRq works in allmost every situation, even if the system is frozen.
For further details see the kernel source file Documentation/sysrq.txt