The magic SysRq key is a key combination understood by the Linux kernel, which allows the user to perform various low-level commands regardless of the system’s state. It is often used to recover from freezes, or to reboot a computer without corrupting the filesystem
A common use of the magic SysRq key is to perform a safe reboot of a Linux computer which has otherwise locked up. This can prevent a fsck being required on reboot and gives some programs a chance to save emergency backups of unsaved work. The QWERTY (or AZERTY) mnemonics: « Raising Elephants Is So Utterly Boring », « Reboot Even If System Utterly Broken » or simply the word « BUSIER » read backwards, are often used to remember the following Sysrq-keys sequence
unRaw (take control of keyboard back from X), Erminate (send SIGTERM to all processes, allowing them to terminate gracefully), kIll (send SIGKILL to all processes, forcing them to terminate immediately), Sync (flush data to disk), Unmount (remount all filesystems read-only), reBoot.