Skip to content
Go to file
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
179 lines (114 sloc) 6.81 KB

Restoring programs

General instructions

Only a conservative list of programs is restored by default:
vi vim nvim emacs man less more tail top htop irssi weechat mutt.

This can be configured with @resurrect-processes option in .tmux.conf. It contains space-separated list of additional programs to restore.

  • Example restoring additional programs:

      set -g @resurrect-processes 'ssh psql mysql sqlite3'
  • Programs with arguments should be double quoted:

      set -g @resurrect-processes 'some_program "git log"'
  • Start with tilde to restore a program whose process contains target name:

      set -g @resurrect-processes 'irb pry "~rails server" "~rails console"'
  • Use -> to specify a command to be used when restoring a program (useful if the default restore command fails ):

      set -g @resurrect-processes 'some_program "grunt->grunt development"'
  • Don't restore any programs:

      set -g @resurrect-processes 'false'
  • Restore all programs (be careful with this!):

      set -g @resurrect-processes ':all:'


I don't understand tilde ~, what is it and why is it used when restoring programs?

Let's say you use rails server command often. You want tmux-resurrect to save and restore it automatically. You might try adding rails server to the list of programs that will be restored:

set -g @resurrect-processes '"rails server"'  # will NOT work

Upon save, rails server command will actually be saved as this command: /Users/user/.rbenv/versions/2.0.0-p481/bin/ruby script/rails server (if you wanna see how is any command saved, check it yourself in ~/.tmux/resurrect/last file).

When programs are restored, the rails server command will NOT be restored because it does not strictly match the long /Users/user/.rbenv/versions/2.0.0-p481/bin/ruby script/rails server string.

The tilde ~ at the start of the string relaxes process name matching.

set -g @resurrect-processes '"~rails server"'  # OK

The above option says: "restore full process if rails server string is found ANYWHERE in the process name".

If you check long process string, there is in fact a rails server string at the end, so now the process will be successfully restored.

What is arrow -> and why is is used?

(Please read the above clarification about tilde ~).

Continuing with our rails server example, when the process is finally restored correctly it might not look pretty as you'll see the whole /Users/user/.rbenv/versions/2.0.0-p481/bin/ruby script/rails server string in the command line.

Naturally, you'd rather want to see just rails server (what you initially typed), but that information is now unfortunately lost.

To aid this, you can use arrow ->: (note: there is no space before and after ->)

set -g @resurrect-processes '"~rails server->rails server"'  # OK

This option says: "when this process is restored use rails server as the command name".

Full (long) process name is now ignored and you'll see just rails server in the command line when the program is restored.

Now I understand the tilde and the arrow, but things still don't work for me

Here's the general workflow for figuring this out:

  • Set up your whole tmux environment manually.
    In our example case, we'd type rails server in a pane where we want it to run.
  • Save tmux env (it will get saved to ~/.tmux/resurrect/last).
  • Open ~/.tmux/resurrect/last file and try to find full process string for your program.
    Unfortunately this is a little vague but it should be easy. A smart thing to do for our example is to search for string rails in the last file.
  • Now that you know the full and the desired process string use tilde ~ and arrow -> in .tmux.conf to make things work.

Working with NodeJS

If you are working with NodeJS, you may get some troubles with configuring restoring programs.

Particularly, some programs like gulp, grunt or npm are not saved with parameters so tmux-resurrect cannot restore it. This is actually not tmux-resurrect's issue but more likely, those programs' issues. For example if you run gulp watch or npm start and then try to look at ps or pgrep, you will only see gulp or npm.

To deal with these issues, one solution is to use yarn which a package manager for NodeJS and an alternative for npm. It's nearly identical to npm and very easy to use. Therefore you don't have to do any migration, you can simply use it immediately. For example:

  • npm test is equivalent to yarn test,
  • npm run watch:dev is equivalent to yarn watch:dev
  • more interestingly, gulp watch:dev is equivalent to yarn gulp watch:dev

Before continuing, please ensure that you understand the clarifications section about ~ and ->


It's fairly straight forward if you have been using yarn already.

set -g @resurrect-processes '"~yarn watch"'
set -g @resurrect-processes '"~yarn watch->yarn watch"'


Instead of

set -g @resurrect-processes '"~npm run watch"'  # will NOT work

we use

set -g @resurrect-processes '"~yarn watch"'     # OK


Instead of

set -g @resurrect-processes '"~gulp test"'      # will NOT work

we use

set -g @resurrect-processes '"~yarn gulp test"' # OK


If you use nvm in your project, here is how you could config tmux-resurrect:

set -g @resurrect-processes '"~yarn gulp test->nvm use && gulp test"'

Another problem

Let take a look at this example

set -g @resurrect-processes '\
      "~yarn gulp test->gulp test" \
      "~yarn gulp test-it->gulp test-it" \

This will not work properly, only gulp test is run, although you can see the command node /path/to/yarn gulp test-it is added correctly in .tmux/resurrect/last file.

The reason is when restoring program, the command part after the dash - is ignored so instead of command gulp test-it, the command gulp test which will be run.

A work around, for this problem until it's fixed, is:

  • the config should be like this:

    set -g @resurrect-processes '\
        "~yarn gulp test->gulp test" \
        "~yarn gulp \"test-it\"->gulp test-it" \
  • and in .tmux/resurrect/last, we should add quote to test-it word

    ... node:node /path/to/yarn gulp "test-it"

Restoring Mosh

Mosh spawns a mosh-client process, so we need to specify that as the process to be resurrected.

set -g @resurrect-processes 'mosh-client'

Additionally a mosh-client strategy is provided to handle extracting the original arguments and re-run Mosh.

You can’t perform that action at this time.