When using tools such as ps or top to show running processes in Linux or any other Unix-based operating systems, you're normally presented with all the processes in the system which could get a bit overwhelming.

Often times you need to drill down and just want to see running processes only from yourself or any other particular user. This is especially true if you're administering a server which allows remote access from multiple users.

You can use command line tools such as ps, top and pgrep to list running processes in Linux and to make them to only show processes from a specific user that you wish to target.

Steps to list processes by user in Linux:

  1. List processes from a single user using ps.
    $ ps -u gdm -U gdm
       PID TTY          TIME CMD
       737 ?        00:00:00 systemd
       738 ?        00:00:00 (sd-pam)
      1260 ?        00:00:00 dbus-daemon
      1271 tty1     00:00:00 gdm-x-session
      1273 tty1     00:00:00 Xorg
      1282 tty1     00:00:00 gnome-session-b
      1284 ?        00:00:00 at-spi-bus-laun
      1289 ?        00:00:00 dbus-daemon
      1294 ?        00:00:00 pulseaudio
      1298 ?        00:00:00 gnome-session-c
      1306 ?        00:00:00 gnome-keyring-d
      1312 ?        00:00:00 gnome-session-b
      1321 ?        00:00:03 gnome-shell
      1346 ?        00:00:00 xdg-permission-
      1367 ?        00:00:00 ibus-daemon
      1375 ?        00:00:00 ibus-memconf
      1378 ?        00:00:00 ibus-x11
      1382 ?        00:00:00 ibus-portal
      1405 ?        00:00:00 at-spi2-registr
      1415 ?        00:00:00 gsd-wwan
      1416 ?        00:00:00 gsd-power
      1417 ?        00:00:00 gsd-wacom
      1420 ?        00:00:00 gsd-xsettings
      1421 ?        00:00:00 gsd-color
      1430 ?        00:00:00 gsd-keyboard
      1434 ?        00:00:00 gsd-rfkill
      1436 ?        00:00:00 gsd-a11y-settin
      1442 ?        00:00:00 gsd-media-keys
      1448 ?        00:00:00 gsd-smartcard
      1453 ?        00:00:00 gsd-sound
      1461 ?        00:00:00 gsd-print-notif
      1484 ?        00:00:00 gsd-printer
      1487 ?        00:00:00 ibus-engine-sim
  2. List processes from multiple users using ps.
    $ ps -u gdm -U gdm -u root -U root
       PID TTY          TIME CMD
         1 ?        00:00:04 systemd
         2 ?        00:00:00 kthreadd
         3 ?        00:00:00 rcu_gp
         4 ?        00:00:00 rcu_par_gp
         6 ?        00:00:00 kworker/0:0H-kblockd
         7 ?        00:00:00 kworker/0:1-events
         9 ?        00:00:00 mm_percpu_wq
        10 ?        00:00:00 ksoftirqd/0
        11 ?        00:00:00 rcu_sched
        12 ?        00:00:00 migration/0
        13 ?        00:00:00 idle_inject/0
        14 ?        00:00:00 cpuhp/0
        15 ?        00:00:00 kdevtmpfs
        16 ?        00:00:00 netns
        17 ?        00:00:00 rcu_tasks_kthre
        18 ?        00:00:00 kauditd
        19 ?        00:00:00 khungtaskd
        20 ?        00:00:00 oom_reaper
        21 ?        00:00:00 writeback
        22 ?        00:00:00 kcompactd0
        23 ?        00:00:00 ksmd
        24 ?        00:00:00 khugepaged
        26 ?        00:00:00 kworker/u256:1-events_unbound
       116 ?        00:00:00 kintegrityd
       117 ?        00:00:00 kblockd
       118 ?        00:00:00 blkcg_punt_bio
       119 ?        00:00:00 tpm_dev_wq
       120 ?        00:00:00 ata_sff
       121 ?        00:00:00 md
       122 ?        00:00:00 edac-poller
       123 ?        00:00:00 devfreq_wq
       124 ?        00:00:00 watchdogd
       127 ?        00:00:00 kswapd0
       128 ?        00:00:00 kworker/u257:0-hci0
       129 ?        00:00:00 ecryptfs-kthrea
       132 ?        00:00:00 kthrotld
       133 ?        00:00:00 irq/24-pciehp
       134 ?        00:00:00 irq/25-pciehp
       135 ?        00:00:00 irq/26-pciehp
       136 ?        00:00:00 irq/27-pciehp
       137 ?        00:00:00 irq/28-pciehp
       138 ?        00:00:00 irq/29-pciehp
       139 ?        00:00:00 irq/30-pciehp
       140 ?        00:00:00 irq/31-pciehp
       141 ?        00:00:00 irq/32-pciehp
       142 ?        00:00:00 irq/33-pciehp
       143 ?        00:00:00 irq/34-pciehp
       144 ?        00:00:00 irq/35-pciehp
       145 ?        00:00:00 irq/36-pciehp
       146 ?        00:00:00 irq/37-pciehp
       147 ?        00:00:00 irq/38-pciehp
       148 ?        00:00:00 irq/39-pciehp
       149 ?        00:00:00 irq/40-pciehp
       150 ?        00:00:00 irq/41-pciehp
       151 ?        00:00:00 irq/42-pciehp
       152 ?        00:00:00 irq/43-pciehp
       153 ?        00:00:00 irq/44-pciehp
       154 ?        00:00:00 irq/45-pciehp
       155 ?        00:00:00 irq/46-pciehp
       156 ?        00:00:00 irq/47-pciehp
       157 ?        00:00:00 irq/48-pciehp
       158 ?        00:00:00 irq/49-pciehp
       159 ?        00:00:00 irq/50-pciehp
       160 ?        00:00:00 irq/51-pciehp
       161 ?        00:00:00 irq/52-pciehp
       162 ?        00:00:00 irq/53-pciehp
       163 ?        00:00:00 irq/54-pciehp
       164 ?        00:00:00 irq/55-pciehp
       165 ?        00:00:00 acpi_thermal_pm
       166 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_0
       167 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_0
       168 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_1
       169 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_1
       171 ?        00:00:00 ipv6_addrconf
       183 ?        00:00:00 kstrp
       202 ?        00:00:00 charger_manager
       233 ?        00:00:00 kworker/0:3-events
       245 ?        00:00:00 mpt_poll_0
       246 ?        00:00:00 mpt/0
       247 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_2
       248 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_2
       249 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_3
       250 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_3
       251 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_4
       252 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_4
       253 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_5
       254 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_5
       255 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_6
       256 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_6
       257 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_7
       258 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_7
       259 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_8
       260 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_8
       261 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_9
       262 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_9
       263 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_10
       264 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_10
       265 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_11
       266 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_11
       267 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_12
       268 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_12
       269 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_13
       270 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_13
       271 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_14
       272 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_14
       273 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_15
       274 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_16
       275 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_16
       276 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_15
       277 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_17
       278 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_17
       279 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_18
       280 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_18
       281 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_19
       282 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_19
       283 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_20
       284 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_20
       285 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_21
       286 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_21
       287 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_22
       288 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_22
       289 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_23
       290 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_23
       291 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_24
       292 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_24
       293 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_25
       294 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_25
       295 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_26
       296 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_26
       297 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_27
       298 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_27
       299 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_28
       300 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_28
       301 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_29
       302 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_29
       303 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_30
       304 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_30
       305 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_31
       306 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_31
       307 ?        00:00:00 scsi_eh_32
       308 ?        00:00:00 scsi_tmf_32
       332 ?        00:00:00 kworker/u256:28-flush-0:52
       333 ?        00:00:00 kworker/u256:29-events_power_efficient
       337 ?        00:00:01 kworker/0:1H-kblockd
       360 ?        00:00:00 jbd2/sda1-8
       361 ?        00:00:00 ext4-rsv-conver
       408 ?        00:00:01 systemd-journal
       421 ?        00:00:00 irq/16-vmwgfx
       422 ?        00:00:00 systemd-udevd
       423 ?        00:00:00 ttm_swap
       435 ?        00:00:00 loop0
       438 ?        00:00:00 vmware-vmblock-
       441 ?        00:00:00 loop1
       444 ?        00:00:00 loop2
       446 ?        00:00:00 loop3
       447 ?        00:00:00 loop4
       454 ?        00:00:00 loop5
       457 ?        00:00:00 loop6
       459 ?        00:00:00 loop7
       465 ?        00:00:00 loop8
       467 ?        00:00:00 loop9
       514 ?        00:00:00 VGAuthService
       517 ?        00:00:00 vmtoolsd
       554 ?        00:00:00 NetworkManager
       563 ?        00:00:00 udisksd
       571 ?        00:00:00 ModemManager
       573 ?        00:00:00 networkd-dispat
       584 ?        00:00:00 accounts-daemon
       591 ?        00:00:00 systemd-logind
       592 ?        00:00:04 snapd
       602 ?        00:00:00 cron
       606 ?        00:00:00 acpid
       607 ?        00:00:00 wpa_supplicant
       668 ?        00:00:00 polkitd
       684 ?        00:00:00 cupsd
       689 ?        00:00:00 cups-browsed
       699 ?        00:00:00 gdm3
       710 ?        00:00:00 unattended-upgr
       737 ?        00:00:00 systemd
       738 ?        00:00:00 (sd-pam)
       984 ?        00:00:00 kworker/u257:2-hci0
      1000 ?        00:00:00 cryptd
      1148 ?        00:00:00 bluetoothd
      1216 ?        00:00:00 loop10
      1258 ?        00:00:00 gdm-session-wor
      1260 ?        00:00:00 dbus-daemon
      1271 tty1     00:00:00 gdm-x-session
      1273 tty1     00:00:00 Xorg
      1282 tty1     00:00:00 gnome-session-b
      1284 ?        00:00:00 at-spi-bus-laun
      1289 ?        00:00:00 dbus-daemon
      1294 ?        00:00:00 pulseaudio
      1298 ?        00:00:00 gnome-session-c
      1306 ?        00:00:00 gnome-keyring-d
      1312 ?        00:00:00 gnome-session-b
      1321 ?        00:00:03 gnome-shell
      1346 ?        00:00:00 xdg-permission-
      1352 ?        00:00:00 upowerd
      1357 ?        00:00:06 packagekitd
      1367 ?        00:00:00 ibus-daemon
      1375 ?        00:00:00 ibus-memconf
      1378 ?        00:00:00 ibus-x11
      1382 ?        00:00:00 ibus-portal
      1405 ?        00:00:00 at-spi2-registr
      1415 ?        00:00:00 gsd-wwan
      1416 ?        00:00:00 gsd-power
      1417 ?        00:00:00 gsd-wacom
      1420 ?        00:00:00 gsd-xsettings
      1421 ?        00:00:00 gsd-color
      1430 ?        00:00:00 gsd-keyboard
      1434 ?        00:00:00 gsd-rfkill
      1436 ?        00:00:00 gsd-a11y-settin
      1442 ?        00:00:00 gsd-media-keys
      1448 ?        00:00:00 gsd-smartcard
      1453 ?        00:00:00 gsd-sound
      1461 ?        00:00:00 gsd-print-notif
      1484 ?        00:00:00 gsd-printer
      1487 ?        00:00:00 ibus-engine-sim
      1566 ?        00:00:00 gdm-session-wor
      1620 ?        00:00:00 krfcommd
      2339 ?        00:00:00 fwupd
      2348 ?        00:00:00 boltd
      3140 ?        00:00:00 sshd
      4320 ?        00:00:00 sshd
  3. Filter ps process list based on username using grep.
    $ ps -aef | grep avahi
    avahi       580      1  0 10:03 ?        00:00:00 avahi-daemon: running [host.local]
    avahi       657    580  0 10:03 ?        00:00:00 avahi-daemon: chroot helper
    user       4804   4647  0 10:21 pts/1    00:00:00 grep --color=auto avahi
  4. List processes from a single user using top.
    $ top -u gdm
    top - 10:22:34 up 19 min,  2 users,  load average: 0.01, 0.11, 0.28
    Tasks: 306 total,   1 running, 305 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
    %Cpu(s):  3.0 us,  0.3 sy,  0.0 ni, 96.6 id,  0.0 wa,  0.0 hi,  0.0 si,  0.0 st
    MiB Mem :   3907.9 total,   1688.9 free,   1229.8 used,    989.2 buff/cache
    MiB Swap:    947.2 total,    947.2 free,      0.0 used.   2427.5 avail Mem
    
       PID USER      PR  NI    VIRT    RES    SHR S  %CPU  %MEM     TIME+ COMMAND
       737 gdm       20   0   18620   9484   7564 S   0.0   0.2   0:00.47 systemd
       738 gdm       20   0  102676   2828     20 S   0.0   0.1   0:00.00 (sd-pam)
      1260 gdm       20   0    7508   4772   4020 S   0.0   0.1   0:00.08 dbus-daemon
      1271 gdm       20   0  172508   6700   6052 S   0.0   0.2   0:00.00 gdm-x-session
      1273 gdm       20   0  242544  48240  33340 S   0.0   1.2   0:00.56 Xorg
      1282 gdm       20   0  274412  15696  14016 S   0.0   0.4   0:00.01 gnome-session-b
      1284 gdm       20   0  309584   9276   8424 S   0.0   0.2   0:00.00 at-spi-bus-laun
      1289 gdm       20   0    7204   4292   3856 S   0.0   0.1   0:00.00 dbus-daemon
      1294 gdm       20   0  890912  17428  13716 S   0.0   0.4   0:00.45 pulseaudio
      1298 gdm       20   0   98552   4340   3924 S   0.0   0.1   0:00.00 gnome-session-c
      1306 gdm       20   0  248540   6024   5192 S   0.0   0.2   0:00.00 gnome-keyring-d
      1312 gdm       20   0  496012  17136  14748 S   0.0   0.4   0:00.06 gnome-session-b
      1321 gdm       20   0 2252776 157356  87328 S   0.0   3.9   0:03.83 gnome-shell
      1346 gdm       20   0  244160   4696   4252 S   0.0   0.1   0:00.01 xdg-permission-
      1367 gdm       20   0  396876  10356   8808 S   0.0   0.3   0:00.05 ibus-daemon
      1375 gdm       20   0  174968   7992   7332 S   0.0   0.2   0:00.00 ibus-memconf
      1378 gdm       20   0  209484  28560  19416 S   0.0   0.7   0:00.29 ibus-x11

    top accepts either -u or -U , but not both at the same time.

    $ top -u gdm -U gdm
    top: conflicting process selections (U/p/u)
  5. List processes from multiple users using pgrep.
    $ pgrep -l -u gdm -U gdm
    737 systemd
    738 (sd-pam)
    1260 dbus-daemon
    1271 gdm-x-session
    1273 Xorg
    1282 gnome-session-b
    1284 at-spi-bus-laun
    1289 dbus-daemon
    1294 pulseaudio
    1298 gnome-session-c
    1306 gnome-keyring-d
    1312 gnome-session-b
    1321 gnome-shell
    1346 xdg-permission-
    1367 ibus-daemon
    1375 ibus-memconf
    1378 ibus-x11
    1382 ibus-portal
    1405 at-spi2-registr
    1415 gsd-wwan
    1416 gsd-power
    1417 gsd-wacom
    1420 gsd-xsettings
    1421 gsd-color
    1430 gsd-keyboard
    1434 gsd-rfkill
    1436 gsd-a11y-settin
    1442 gsd-media-keys
    1448 gsd-smartcard
    1453 gsd-sound
    1461 gsd-print-notif
    1484 gsd-printer
    1487 ibus-engine-sim
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