How to Understand Linux Process Statuses

Posted on by Jay Allen
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In our “How to use ps” article we talked about the Linux command ps and how it can be used to examine the currently running processes on a Linux server.

When using ps with the “u” flag (ps -u) you will see a column called STAT that displays the process’s status.

Here is a list of the various process statuses and what they mean:

D – Uninterruptible sleep (usually a critical system process, a process that cannot be killed without rebooting)
R – Running or runable (on run queue)
S – Interruptible sleep (waiting for an event to complete)
T – Stopped, either by a job control signal or because it is being traced.
Z – Defunct (“zombie”) process, terminated but not closed by the parent process that created it

Additional characters may be seen if in a BSD environment or when using the “stat” modifier with ps:

W – has no resident pages
< – high-priority process
N – low-priority task
L – has pages locked into memory (for real-time and custom IO)

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About the Author: Jay Allen

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