Linux uptime command

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

About uptime

uptime tells you how long the system has been running.


uptime gives a one-line display of the following information:

  • The current time
  • how long the system has been running
  • how many users are currently logged on
  • the system load averages for the past 1, 5, and 15 minutes.

This is the same information contained in the header line displayed by w.

System load averages is the average number of processes that are either in a runnable or uninterruptable state. A process in a runnable state is either using the CPU or waiting to use the CPU. A process in uninterruptable state is waiting for some I/O access, eg waiting for disk. The averages are taken over the three time intervals. Load averages are not normalized for the number of CPUs in a system, so a load average of 1 means a single CPU system is loaded all the time while on a 4 CPU system it means it was idle 75% of the time.

uptime syntax

uptime [options]


-h, --help Display a brief help message, and exit.
-V, --version Display version information, and exit.


/var/run/utmp Information about who is currently logged on.
/proc Process information.

uptime examples


Displays system uptime information. Output will resemble the following:

08:11:22 up 146 days, 34 min, 3 users, load average: 0.28, 0.45, 0.38

Below is a breakdown of what the above output means.

08:11:22 up 146 days, 34 min 3 users load average: 0.28, 0.45, 0.38
Current time The actual up time. How many users logged in The load average

ps — Report the status of a process or processes.
top — Display a sortable, continually-updated list of processes.
w — Show who is logged on and what they are doing.