Sign up ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Is there a way to find out the directory/disk location a process was started from? I am aware of the /proc mount but not really where to look inside of it.

share|improve this question
Do you mean the location of the binary, or the directory from which a process started? – Lekensteyn Jun 16 '11 at 10:59
Sorry for the ambiguity, I mean the binary – SuperJumbo Jun 16 '11 at 11:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 17 down vote accepted

The /proc way would be to inspect the exe link in the directory corresponding to the pid.

Let's take an example with update-notifier:

Find the pid, which is 15421 in this example:

egil@gud:~$ ps x | grep update-notifier
 2405 pts/4    S+     0:00 grep update-notifier
15421 ?        Sl     0:00 update-notifier

Look up the symbolic link:

egil@gud:~$ file /proc/15421/exe
/proc/15421/exe: symbolic link to `/usr/bin/update-notifier'
share|improve this answer
Oh yeah, I was almost there. Legend, thank you. – SuperJumbo Jun 16 '11 at 11:11

Maybe which is what you are looking for. For instance, on my system

which firefox 



See also Find Path of Application Running on Solaris, Ubuntu, Suse or Redhat Linux .

share|improve this answer
which is cool, but it only returns programs in your $PATH. If I run RandomProgramIDownloadedToErisKnowsWhere.bin, this won't be of much use. – djeikyb Jun 16 '11 at 11:02

Providing you've a process ID available, you can use:

readlink -f /proc/$pid/exe

(replace $pid by the process ID of a process)

If the process is not owned by you, you'll have to put sudo in front of it.

An example for determining the location of the command firefox:

  1. The output of ps ax -o pid,cmd | grep firefox :

    22831 grep --color=auto firefox
    28179 /usr/lib/firefox-4.0.1/firefox-bin
  2. 28179 is the process ID, so you've to run:

    readlink -f /proc/28179/exe

    which outputs:

share|improve this answer
You can do cool things with /proc/$pid/exe, if the binary is accidentally deleted, you can restore it with: dd if=/proc/$pid/exe of=restored-binary – Lekensteyn Jun 16 '11 at 11:05

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.