Show All Running Processes in Linux using ps/htop commands

last updated in Categories , , , , ,

How do I see all running process in Linux operating systems using command line or GUI options? How can I show all running Processes in Linux operating system?

Introduction: A process is nothing but tasks within the Linux operating system. A process named httpd used to display web pages. Another process named mysqld provides database service. You need to use the ps command. It provides information about the currently running processes, including their process identification numbers (PIDs). Both Linux and UNIX support the ps command to display information about all running process. The ps command gives a snapshot of the current processes. If you want a repetitive update of this status, use top, atop, and htop command as described below.


Linux commands show all running processes

Apart from ps command, you can also use the following commands to display info about processes on Linux operating systems:

  1. top command : Display and update sorted information about Linux processes.
  2. atop command : Advanced System & Process Monitor for Linux.
  3. htop command : Interactive process viewer in Linux.
  4. pgrep command : Look up or signal processes based on name and other attributes.
  5. pstree command : Display a tree of processes.

How to list process with the ps command

Type the following ps command to display all running process:
# ps -aux | less
# ps aux | less

  • A : Select all processes
  • u : Select all processes on a terminal, including those of other users
  • x : Select processes without controlling ttys

Linux show all running processes

See every process on the Linux system

Either pass -A or -e option to show all processes on your server/workstation powered by Linux:
# ps -A
# ps -e

How to see every process except those running as root

To negates the selection pass the -N or --deselect option to the ps command:
# ps -U root -u root -N
# ps -U root -u root --deselect

See process run by user vivek

Select by process by effective user ID (EUID) or name by passing username such as vivek:
# ps -u vivek

Linux running processes with top command

The top program provides a dynamic real-time view of a running system. Type the top at command prompt:
# top
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: top command: Show All Running Processes in Linux
Fig.01: top command: Display Linux Tasks

To quit press q, for help press h.

How to display a tree of processes

The pstree command shows running processes as a tree. The tree is rooted at either pid or init if pid is omitted. If a user name is specified, all process trees rooted at processes owned by that user are shown.
$ pstree
Sample outputs:

Fig.02: pstree - Display a tree of processes
Fig.02: pstree – Display a tree of processes

Print a process tree using ps

# ps -ejH
# ps axjf

Sample outputs:

Linux see all running process using ps command
Manage processes from the Linux terminal

Get info about threads

Type the following command:
# ps -eLf
# ps axms

Task: Get security info

Type the following command:
# ps -eo euser,ruser,suser,fuser,f,comm,label
# ps axZ
# ps -eM

How to save process snapshot to a file

Type the following command:
# top -b -n1 > /tmp/process.log
Or you can email result to yourself:
# top -b -n1 | mail -s 'Process snapshot'

How to lookup process by name

Use pgrep command command. It looks through the currently running processes and lists the process IDs which matches the selection criteria to screen. For example, display firefox process id:
$ pgrep firefox
Sample outputs:


Following command will list the process called sshd which is owned by a user called root:
$ pgrep -u root sshd

Say hello to htop and atop

htop is interactive process viewer just like top, but allows to scroll the list vertically and horizontally to see all processes and their full command lines. Tasks related to processes (killing, renicing) can be done without entering their PIDs. To install htop on a Debian/Ubuntu Linux, type the following apt-get command/apt command:
# apt-get install htop
or use the yum command to install htop on a CentOS/RHEL:
# yum install htop
Now type the htop command at the shell prompt:
$ htop
Sample outputs:

Show All Running Processes in Linux htop command
Fig.03: htop in action (click to enlarge)

atop program

The program atop is an interactive monitor to view the load on a Linux system. It shows the occupation of the most critical hardware resources (from a performance point of view) on system level, i.e. cpu, memory, disk and network. It also shows which processes are responsible for the indicated load with respect to cpu- and memory load on process level; disk- and network load is only shown per process if a kernel patch has been installed. Type the following command to start atop:
# atop
Sample outputs:

Fig.04: Atop Command in Action
Fig.04: Atop Command in Action (click to enlarge)

See also:


Linux processes carry out various tasks/jobs within the Linux distribution. Since Linux is a multiprocessing operating system, one can run multiple tasks in the background. Hence it is essential to know how to show all running processes in Linux.


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

Start the discussion at

Historical Comment Archive

137 comment

  1. i hope you dont mind, i have borrowed your image showing PS for my assigment, i have have referenced this site and the date


    1. been tinkering with linux for 2 years, still have to reference some basic commands. If I had a penny for how many times I’ve gone something along the lines of “urh, how do I merge folders with cp again” *google, spots cyberciti* , they’ll probably have some good examples..

    1. You are a an elitest jerk. Interesting that for someone who believes he already knows everything, you are entirely ignorant of this fact. It is likely that no one was impressed by your comment except yourself.

      1. Don’t worry, he wrote his original lame comment back in 08. He’s probably less ignorant now.

        Great article!

        1. ‘last updated at JULY 6, 2012’ or may be in 2008 it was! Btw – I have to still meet some one who was born walking.

    2. Nice try ******. People brand new to Linux are actually learning how to walk again, and this is important information.

  2. @saurabh – I’m glad you think this is like posting instructions on how to walk. I’m also glad that you are such a naturally gifted user that you knew this without ever having to look up how to do this. Some of us have just started using Linux and guess what it is small little tid bits like this that help.

  3. Thanks a lot for the info. It proved really useful. Sometimes it helps when somebody tells you how to walk…

  4. can someone tell me how to create a script that list all processes that are taking more than 10% of cpu time?


    btw i am a noob lol

  5. @saurabh no offense, are you an Indian? If so, that explains and if not, set up your own site and don’t post anything on it loser.

    Great stuff.

    1. @akinhowtowalk: i’m so glad you’ve demonstrated so much more maturity than saurabh through your sweeping generalization.

        1. amazing how something like a simple request for a bit of help on a topic can lead to racist banter….

          keep it simple, keep it clean, don’t be judgmental of Indians or any other race, and STAY ON the TOPIC of the THREAD!!

          // and yes, everyone needs to learn how to walk, and how to do the basics, before they can move to more advanced things…..

  6. Hi Everybody, I got an cleared information in this site. But I want to know that what are the process currently active in my shell. If any body know, please email me @


  7. I’ve been walking the Linux path for a long time and it’s nice to see this type of command posted.

    To see what is running and consuming resources you could use (exactly as it is shown):
    ps -e -o pcpu,cpu,nice,state,cputime,args –sort pcpu | sed “/^ 0.0 /d”

    which is nice to enter into the .bashrc in your home directory as an alias. Like this (on the last line after every other entry):
    alias hog=’ps -e -o pcpu,cpu,nice,state,cputime,args –sort pcpu | sed “/^ 0.0 /d”‘

    so the next time I log in I can just type hog at the command line and see all process running and consuming resources, sorted.


  8. In the path of Linux, if you want to start running without knowing how to walk, what will happen? Begginers know that they can get to the top, but step by step. Otherwise, they’ll fall. And let’s stop the metaphores xD

    1. $ HISTTIMEFORMAT=”%d/%m/%y %T ”
      $ echo ‘export HISTTIMEFORMAT=”%d/%m/%y %T “‘ >> ~/.bash_profile
      %d – Day
      %m – Month
      %y – Year
      %T – Time
      To see history type
      $ history

  9. Thank you. found it very useful :)
    Lol@akinhowtowalk well said :)
    ILoveTakingHelp :P

  10. thanks for that. i needed this to set something running and set-up on a linux server. but i needed to kill it first so :)thanks.

  11. hello akinhowtowalk

    i find this site really usefull and find the stuff what i was looking for…
    and saurabh’s comment was not justified…
    but what was ur comment on being an indian… i really didnt understood that…and y..
    that explains wat..??

    1. Will this do?

      1. Stand up with feet together.
      2. Put one foot forward of the other foot.
      3. Put other foot in front of the one you just moved.
      Repeat #s 2 and 3 until you have reached your destination.

      1. I tried, but got some error messages.

        Warning: proceeding can cause stability issues in the system
        Warning: bad pathway
        Process KNEE broken, terminating.

        Can you help?

  12. Cool instruction, i dont know there were commands that named “TOP”

    and…… i forget how to walk =( *(googling how to walk)

  13. I’m amazed that more then one and a half year after a person has posted a single message,
    Chongopants 09.24.09 at 7:17 pm
    saurabh, stfu..
    that is all you may go on with your sad life.
    something like this is still said

  14. thankz very much master ..

    its a good post .. and very usefull for me :)

    htop :D i was find for more times

  15. akinhowtowalk,

    Don’t generalize, not all Indians are like saurabh. Grow up. Boasting exists irrespective of race.

  16. @akinhowtowalk – I am really offended by your remarks on a specific nation. I dont expects mature guys to make such kind of remark. really very disappointing (i can also go dirty in reaction but i dont prefer to). Make sure you comment on individual and not on any group/society/nation.

    @Saurabh – If you are an expert then i will appreciate you posting advance topics on linux and punlish the URL on this forum. If you cant do that much for community then you dont have any rights to comments on someones contribution.

    1. nice reply.
      well put,
      and well explained to both of our friends concerned.

      And btw, This was an Awesome post! :)

  17. i probably think saurab never came back to this page after he commented on it. You guys were so foolish enough to comment back . lol
    I was just looking for something that can give me the green signal so that i can quit all running processes before i shut my computer…. And i ended up here. Looks i i still cant get what i should type to see only those processes that are running currently. Some thing like the task manager in windows . Any help with that ?

  18. Hi
    I wanted to display only PID and Process name in MAC OS. “ps” doesn’t display process name rather command only. Can Anyone help.
    Thanx & regards in advance

  19. akinhowtowalk probably said that regarding Indians coz he knows that Indians are smarter .. atleast they make our Business run smoothly ..cheers :)

  20. Thanks. In an introduction to UNIX class, this helped out and quicker than looking it up in my textbook.

  21. Great Site.
    Well written articles.
    And Just to keep it going…
    Why walk when you can run with Linux!!

  22. I am using Fedora 14 in my laptop. I installed an .rpm file , but i don’t know how to run that software. please help me. I am new for Linux.

    1. Well I think the first best question that needs to be asked is what software have you installed?

  23. I installed an CFD software named as ‘ZNTutor-CFD-2.1.0-0.i386.rpm’. the installation is successful.

    1. As this is a commercial program I wont be installing it to have a look. I would suggest asking the question in a forum more related / dedicated to this product. Also have a look to find where the package was installed and read the manual that was supplied.
      If this manual doesn’t even cover the simple processes I would be a little worried about it considering the subject matter involved.

  24. Thanks a lot Vivek for taking the time to post the help for these commands in a detailed manner!

  25. hi,

    i’m running one process in linux server with the common user that is using by 20 people from different windows machine, i want to know who executed the command at what time in the linux server? is there any file/log location that having all the commands that executed in the server.

    Thanks in adv,

  26. Thanks a lot for this articles. I searched for one solution and found several in one page. God bless u Vivek for making some of us who are new and started to “walk” with Linux, and for those unjustified comments..well just ignored them.

  27. Great article. Thank you very much. And one thing to remember for all linuxholics, “Linux is for human being’s goodness” , sharing is the fuel that runs the community. Share everything even if you think it is less important, because there are many people who are looking for a point to startup. Knowing Linux means nothing if you don’t know the great philosophy behind it.

  28. Great work, very clear instruction. I’ve been using Linux for 2 years and still believe there’s a lot for me to learn or I should say to know. Pages like this makes a huge difference for learners who try and never give up. I really appreciate the time and efforts of the author, keep it up my friend. As for the guy with “walk” comment I’d like to say you don’t have to read what you don’t like, at least give this guy the credit for the time and effort for putting this together for the world and, go ahead and show the world what you’re ca[able of.


  29. Can any one tell me how can i list all the processes launched from a directory and sort them to find the process which is consuming more memory than others.
    We are using AIX.
    Please help me.

  30. bkmraaster on November 6, 2011 Oh well why not give it a shot, there’s nothing to lose, so I guess there’s everything to win! And cmon who doesn’t like sony products!

  31. i have run vacum but still the problem not yet solved

    [root@onms-dr mysql]# /etc/init.d/opennms start
    Starting OpenNMS: org.postgresql.util.PSQLException: FATAL: database is not accepting commands to avoid wraparound data loss in database “postgres”
    OpenNMS runs better if you start up the database first.

  32. how can I print the virtual pages allocated to the currently running processes on my system and also the page faults associated with them?

  33. Yip years later this is still a useful page. Didn’t know about htop, quite like it.

    I thought I saw a comment asking how to show processes for a user.
    top -u root
    htop -u root

  34. Great article thanks to author for this nice help.
    To all those above blaming Indian in any mean, just google our statistics over technology, you will see that you people are learning from Indian.So dont angry me again

    1. Lots of racism in America (and elsewhere), sadly. Chump still getting almost half the poll; his ratings have dipped a little after a series of spectacular gaffes and public GOP infighting, but that probably mostly just reflects the natural reticence of some voters to tell opinion pollsters to their face that they’re a racist, and not an actual opinion shift. (In the UK such opinion polling reticence at the clipboard-face produced the “shy Tory” and “shy Brexiteer” phenomena in 1992 and 2016, which badly overestimated Labour and Remain support respectively, and predicted the opposite results to actual). Rednecks seem to prevail in America, and in my estimation a Chump presidency remains a very real risk.

      The Indian space programme is well-resourced and impressively ambitious. By way of contrast, the British space programme is run on a shoestring from a garden shed in Leicester. Its crowning achievement was the BEAGLE2, which was made from old Sqezy washing-up liquid bottles and sticky-backed plastic. BEAGLE2’s signal lasted for about 20 seconds before fading away with a whimper, leading Prof. Colin Pillinger to lament: “If only Britain had applied to India for overseas aid, we could have afforded a second reel of sticky-backed plastic to hold the undercarriage together and BEAGLE2 would still be transmitting”.

  35. To show all active services, both upstart and chkconfig, try:

    ( chkconfig –list | grep :on | sed ‘s/ .*//’ ; initctl list | grep process | sed ‘s/ .*//’ ) | sort

  36. Dear Friends,

    How to check that specific process is working fine or not for eg. HeartBeat manager, IKEN process, FSM, LSTP etc etc.

    kindly suggest

    Chaitanya Mahamana

  37. I’m glad you posted this page, so I can remember how to use “top” and “ps aux”, or maybe I’d forget. I walk frequently, so I don’t typically forget how to walk, but if I do, I will just “google it”.

  38. Wonderful article, cyberciti. Linux and Unix are not particularly easy systems for neophytes fed to date by the Windows spoon. Many commands are weird short sequences of bald alphanumeric characters, and the hot sequences to use for a given task just have to be learned and accumulated starting from a blank slate.

    Please could you consider possibly doing another “How To” article, this time on the seemingly impenetrable technical subject of “How Linux Users can express their disagreements with each other in a civil and dignified manner”.

  39. Vivek,
    I am a security professional working with Linux since almost when it first came out. I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your post. I don’t think any of us here are “experts”. It’s nice to see someone that reminds us of commands that can be easily forgotten or overlooked. Keep up the good work my friend!

    Still, have a question? Get help on our forum!