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How to keep HPUX process table from filling up?

Posted on 1998-11-19
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Last Modified: 2008-03-10
I have an HP machine where the process table is filling up about every week.  We have to reboot it to get it back online.  The symptom is that when users try to log in, they'll get a message like "telnetd: fork() failed, process table full."

The machine is basically for users to telnet in, start a datakit session (through a multiplexer card), and do their business.

So how do you find out why the process table is full, and what do you do about it?
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Question by:marimba
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:ahoffmann
ID: 2007954
did someone have an exec call in her/his .profile, .cshrc, .bashrc etc.
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Expert Comment

by:seedy
ID: 2007955
When this happens, login onto the console as root and then find the list of processes running.  you can also do this before the system reaches the saturation(about 4 days after reboot, may be). Do you see a lot of <defunct> processes?  who owns them?  What are they?

Sometimes when you telnet from PC's, and when the PCs crash, the processes are not removed, they stay as <defunct>.

Alternatively, you may try and increase the number of process.  This can easily be done through sam by changing the parameter and rebuilding the kernel(Sam / Kernel Configuration / Configrable parameters).  You may change MAXUSERS - maximum users, MAXUPRC - max. processes per user, etc.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:arthurd
ID: 2007956
Try increasing the number of Max Users and Max Processes in SAM.  I think the names of these are:

max uproc
max users

Hope this helps,

Dave
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:elfie
ID: 2007957
If lots of people connat from a pc, ask them to logoff before switching off their pc. If they dont logoff, some processes wont disappear.

If this is the case, increasing some kernel parameters will onmy temporarily solved teh problem (ie reboot after 2 weeks iso 1week)

Another thing to consider is, if you see some shells with parent id 1, that have no son processes running, you can kill these. Normally these are sessions from users who switched off their pc.
So you can limit the number of running processes
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Expert Comment

by:olvo
ID: 2007958
Have you tried to log out inactive telnets?
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Author Comment

by:marimba
ID: 2007959
I wanted to award the points for arthurd but I don't see the option anymore (been a few months since I used this).  Other suggestions were good but what did it was to increase the value of MAXUSERS (which of course increased the critical value NPROCS).  We were just running out of process space.  

Good job arthurd.
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Author Comment

by:marimba
ID: 2007960
I can't find the option to grade the answer or award the points to arthurd.  email marimba@atlcom.net if you want to tell me how to do it.
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Expert Comment

by:seedy
ID: 2007961
> I wanted to award the points for arthurd
Why?  Was it not I who first mentioned to increase the MAXUSERS(see my comment before arthurd).

No one has answered this question yet.  So you cannot yet award the points.  Invite that expert whose comment you found useful to post the comment as answer.  Once he does that, you can evaluate the answer and award the points.
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Author Comment

by:marimba
ID: 2007962
Looking back through the comments I see that it is indeed seedy who first mentioned increasing the values of MAXUSERS and NPROC.
If you enter the answer I will grade it and assign the points.
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
seedy earned 800 total points
ID: 2007963
Alternatively, you may try and increase the number of process.  This can easily be done through sam by changing the parameter and  rebuilding the kernel(Sam / Kernel Configuration / Configrable parameters).  You may change MAXUSERS - maximum users, MAXUPRC - max. processes per user, etc.
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