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.

You often need to drill down and see running processes only from yourself or any other particular user. It is especially true if you're administering a server that 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 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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