3.1 Exiting Emacs
There are two commands for exiting Emacs because there are two kinds of
exiting: "suspending" Emacs and "killing" Emacs.
"Suspending" means stopping Emacs temporarily and returning control
to its parent process (usually a shell), allowing you to resume editing
later in the same Emacs job, with the same buffers, same kill ring,
same undo history, and so on. This is the usual way to exit.
"Killing" Emacs means destroying the Emacs job. You can run Emacs
again later, but you will get a fresh Emacs; there is no way to resume
the same editing session after it has been killed.
Suspend Emacs or iconify a frame
(`suspend-emacs-or-iconify-frame'). If used under the X window
system, shrink the X window containing the Emacs frame to an icon
Kill Emacs (`save-buffers-kill-emacs').
If you use XEmacs under the X window system, `C-z' shrinks the X
window containing the Emacs frame to an icon. The Emacs process is
stopped temporarily, and control is returned to the window manager. If
more than one frame is associated with the Emacs process, only the
frame from which you used `C-z' is iconified.
To activate the "suspended" Emacs, use the appropriate window manager
mouse gestures. Usually left-clicking on the icon reactivates and
reopens the X window containing the Emacs frame, but the window manager
you use determines what exactly happens. To actually kill the Emacs
process, use `C-x C-c' or the Exit XEmacs item on the File menu.
To suspend Emacs, type `C-z' (`suspend-emacs'). This takes you back
to the shell from which you invoked Emacs. You can resume Emacs with
the shell command `%xemacs' in most common shells.
On systems that do not support suspending programs, `C-z' starts an
inferior shell that communicates directly with the terminal. Emacs
waits until you exit the subshell. (The way to do that is probably
with `C-d' or `exit', but it depends on which shell you use.) The only
way on these systems to get back to the shell from which Emacs was run
(to log out, for example) is to kill Emacs.
Suspending also fails if you run Emacs under a shell that doesn't
support suspending programs, even if the system itself does support it.
In such a case, you can set the variable `cannot-suspend' to a
non-`nil' value to force `C-z' to start an inferior shell. (One might
also describe Emacs's parent shell as "inferior" for failing to support
job control properly, but that is a matter of taste.)
When Emacs communicates directly with an X server and creates its own
dedicated X windows, `C-z' has a different meaning. Suspending an
applications that uses its own X windows is not meaningful or useful.
Instead, `C-z' runs the command `iconify-or-deiconify-frame', which
temporarily closes up the selected Emacs frame. The way to get back to
a shell window is with the window manager.
To kill Emacs, type `C-x C-c' (`save-buffers-kill-emacs'). A
two-character key is used for this to make it harder to type. Selecting
the Exit XEmacs option of the File menu is an alternate way of issuing
Unless a numeric argument is used, this command first offers to save
any modified file-visiting buffers. If you do not save all buffers,
you are asked for reconfirmation with `yes' before killing Emacs, since
any changes not saved will be lost forever. If any subprocesses are
still running, `C-x C-c' asks you to confirm killing them, since killing
Emacs will kill the subprocesses immediately.
There is no way to restart an Emacs session once you have killed it.
You can, however, arrange for Emacs to record certain session
information, such as which files are visited, when you kill it, so that
the next time you restart Emacs it will try to visit the same files and
The operating system usually listens for certain special characters
whose meaning is to kill or suspend the program you are running. This
operating system feature is turned off while you are in Emacs. The
meanings of `C-z' and `C-x C-c' as keys in Emacs were inspired by the
use of `C-z' and `C-c' on several operating systems as the characters
for stopping or killing a program, but that is their only relationship
with the operating system. You can customize these keys to run any
commands of your choice (Note: Keymaps).
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