It doesn't happen as often as you'd think, but it happens occasionally, and I don't even own a cat.

Basically if you mash the number row or numpad and then happen to hit a keycombo that triggers a repeatable command, it is possible to inadvertently command Vim to perform a task several thousand, million, or even billion times. This easily gets out of control and may result in data loss.

So I wonder if there is a configuration or something in the source code we can change to serve as a sanity check to prevent this sort of DoS.

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    Just to be sure that I understand your question: you regularly type by mistake some sequence like 144477@@ or 99999. and you want to stop those executions when the number is too big? Am I right? (I have to ask because that seems a little bit weird to me, I never had this problem)
    – statox
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 7:48
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    Why not… pay attention on what you do?
    – romainl
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 12:20
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    @statox yes, that's right. romainl has a valid point too, but it seems irrelevant to the question. The question remains, and it may not be as "serious" as other questions, but a question it is nonetheless. I simply think that it makes sense to be able to specify an upper bound on this to prevent accidental denial-of-service. As for the suggestion about undolevels, yes that can be relevant if this overflows undo buffer as well, I hadn't considered it either. (A not so contrived example -- I have a 60% keyboard, the top border row is numbers. I pick it up with my hand. Forget to unplug it. etc.)
    – Steven Lu
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 18:29
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    You can use set showcmd to show the keys you've typed in the bottom-right corner. Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 16:40
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    @Carpetsmoker I think that would qualify as a "prompt to confirm" since it shows on the screen. I recommend adding it as an answer (probably along with how to add it as a default option in .vimrc, so the answer is fully self-contained.)
    – Wildcard
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


I find that you are usually able to interrupt the repetition process by sending a SIGINT (Ctrl+C). As long as some vimscript is not running a really long inner loop, there is no DoS concern.

See here for an example of a plugin may contain a function that loops depending on the entered number.

For almost all intents and purposes this issue here is a hypothetical one.

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    "this issue is a hypothetical one"... No, it isn't. I've had to work on SSH on my phone over 2G connections, where I have accidentally missed a keystroke or made multiple keystrokes while typing in anticipation, resulting in very similar situations (maybe not 99999, but smaller numbers yes).
    – muru
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 17:05
  • Cool, yeah a slow terminal emulator (depending on the amount of changing that vim is applying) can exacerbate problems by adding processing delay on the client side. Gotta get to Ctrl+C quickly!
    – Steven Lu
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 23:24
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    You can just use <Esc>, you don't need to use <C-c>. The difference is that <C-c> aborts whatever Vim is doing (such as running a function), and <Esc> doesn't. You almost never want to use <C-c> unless you want to "kill" something. Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 16:40

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