What Does “ps aux” Command Mean and Do In Linux


ps command is used to get detailed information about the process running on Linux, Unix, and BSD systems. There are some popular options and use cases for ps where one of them is aux options. We will look at this use case in this tutorial. For more detailed ps tutorial look following.

Linux ps Command Tutorial List Processes with Examples

a Option Shows Process For All Users

The default behavior of the ps command is listing only current user processes. All other users owned processes will be not shown. a options will print all other user processes too.

$ ps a
a Option Shows Process For All Users
a Option Shows Process For All Users

We can see that the a option provides more information about the listed processes. Information like the full path, parameters and stat are listed.

u Option Shows Process Owner

The default behavior about showing process information will not print the owner of the process. But in most cases, the process owner data will very helpful. So we can use u option in order to show the process owner.

$ ps u
ps u Option Shows Process Owner

x Option Shows Processes With Terminal Information

ps will show only the terminal attached process by default. If we want to show other processes those not attached to the terminal we can use x option.

$ ps x

ps aux Shows User, All Processes and Terminal Information

System administrators generally use all of the previously described options in order to get all details in a single ps command execution. So we can combine all these options like below which will list user, terminal information for all processes currently running on the current system.

$ ps aux
ps aux Shows User, All Processes and Terminal Information

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