PGREP(1) User Commands PGREP(1)
pgrep, pkill - look up or signal processes based on name and other attributes
pgrep [options] pattern
pkill [options] pattern
pgrep looks through the currently running processes and lists the process IDs which match
the selection criteria to stdout. All the criteria have to match. For example,
$ pgrep -u root sshd
will only list the processes called sshd AND owned by root. On the other hand,
$ pgrep -u root,daemon
will list the processes owned by root OR daemon.
pkill will send the specified signal (by default SIGTERM) to each process instead of list-
ing them on stdout.
Defines the signal to send to each matched process. Either the numeric or the sym-
bolic signal name can be used. (pkill only.)
Suppress normal output; instead print a count of matching processes. When count
does not match anything, e.g. returns zero, the command will return non-zero value.
-d, --delimiter delimiter
Sets the string used to delimit each process ID in the output (by default a new-
line). (pgrep only.)
The pattern is normally only matched against the process name. When -f is set, the
full command line is used.
-g, --pgroup pgrp,...
Only match processes in the process group IDs listed. Process group 0 is trans-
lated into pgrep's or pkill's own process group.
-G, --group gid,...
Only match processes whose real group ID is listed. Either the numerical or sym-
bolical value may be used.
List the process name as well as the process ID. (pgrep only.)
List the full command line as well as the process ID. (pgrep only.)
Select only the newest (most recently started) of the matching processes.
Select only the oldest (least recently started) of the matching processes.
-P, --parent ppid,...
Only match processes whose parent process ID is listed.
-s, --session sid,...
Only match processes whose process session ID is listed. Session ID 0 is trans-
lated into pgrep's or pkill's own session ID.
-t, --terminal term,...
Only match processes whose controlling terminal is listed. The terminal name
should be specified without the "/dev/" prefix.
-u, --euid euid,...
Only match processes whose effective user ID is listed. Either the numerical or
symbolical value may be used.
-U, --uid uid,...
Only match processes whose real user ID is listed. Either the numerical or symbol-
ical value may be used.
Negates the matching. This option is usually used in pgrep's context. In pkill's
context the short option is disabled to avoid accidental usage of the option.
Shows all thread ids instead of pids in pgrep's context. In pkill's context this
option is disabled.
Only match processes whose names (or command line if -f is specified) exactly match
-F, --pidfile file
Read PID's from file. This option is perhaps more useful for pkill than pgrep.
Fail if pidfile (see -F) not locked.
Match processes that belong to the same namespaces. Required to run as root to
match processes from other users. See --nslist for how to limit which namespaces to
Match only the provided namespaces. Available namespaces: ipc, mnt, net, pid,
Display version information and exit.
Display help and exit.
Specifies an Extended Regular Expression for matching against the process names or
Example 1: Find the process ID of the named daemon:
$ pgrep -u root named
Example 2: Make syslog reread its configuration file:
$ pkill -HUP syslogd
Example 3: Give detailed information on all xterm processes:
$ ps -fp $(pgrep -d, -x xterm)
Example 4: Make all netscape processes run nicer:
$ renice +4 $(pgrep netscape)
0 One or more processes matched the criteria.
1 No processes matched.
2 Syntax error in the command line.
3 Fatal error: out of memory etc.
The process name used for matching is limited to the 15 characters present in the output
of /proc/pid/stat. Use the -f option to match against the complete command line,
The running pgrep or pkill process will never report itself as a match.
The options -n and -o and -v can not be combined. Let me know if you need to do this.
Defunct processes are reported.
ps(1), regex(7), signal(7), killall(1), skill(1), kill(1), kill(2)
pkill and pgrep were introduced in Sun's Solaris 7. This implementation is fully compati-
Kjetil Torgrim Homme <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Please send bug reports to <email@example.com>
procps-ng October 2012 PGREP(1)