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Managing System Information, Processes, and Performance in Oracle® Solaris 11.4

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Updated: August 2019

Using the ps Command

The ps command enables you to check the status of active processes on a system, and also display technical information about the processes. This data is useful for administrative tasks, such as determining how to set process priorities.

Depending on which options you use, the ps command reports the following information:

  • Current status of the process
  • Process ID
  • Parent process ID
  • User ID
  • Scheduling class
  • Priority
  • Address of the process
  • Memory used
  • CPU time used

The following list describes some fields that are reported by the ps command. The fields that are displayed depend on which option you choose. For a description of all available options, see the ps(1) man page.


The effective user ID of the owner of the process.


The process ID.


The parent process ID.


The processor utilization for scheduling. This field is not displayed when the –c option is used.


The scheduling class to which the process belongs such as real-time, system, or timesharing. This field is included only with the –c option.


The scheduling priority of the kernel thread. Higher numbers indicate a higher priority.


The nice number of the process, which contributes to its scheduling priority. Making a process “nicer” means lowering its priority.


The address of the proc structure.


The virtual address size of the process.


The address of an event or lock for which the process is sleeping.


The starting time of the process in hours, minutes, and seconds.


The terminal from which the process, or its parent, was started. A question mark indicates that there is no controlling terminal.


The total amount of CPU time used by the process since it began.


The command that generated the process.