How to List Services Using Systemctl Command in Linux [3 Easy Methods]

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Last updated: July 27, 2023

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To list services using systemctl command, you can try following methods:

  1. Listing All Active Services: List all currently active services on your Linux system with systemctl list-units --type=service --state=active.
  2. Listing Inactive Services: List all inactive services on your Linux system with systemctl list-units --type=service --state=inactive.
  3. Filtering Services by Status and Unit Type: Filter services based on their status (active, inactive, or failed) and their unit type (service, socket, device) with systemctl list-units --type=service --state=failed.

Advanced Service Listing Techniques offer precise service filtering and formatting using Grep, Awk, and Regular Expressions on Linux. Navigate Systemd targets, benchmark startup times, and troubleshoot errors for seamless service management. Benefit from comprehensive overviews, efficient troubleshooting, and time-saving operations with Systemctl.

Continue reading the guide below to learn different methods to list services using systemctl command, advanced techniques, benefits of using the systemctl command, and common errors that can occur while listing.

As a Linux enthusiast or system administrator, understanding how to manage services effectively is crucial for maintaining a stable and efficient system. Systemctl, a powerful and indispensable tool in the Systemd init system, provides a robust framework for managing services on various Linux distributions. From gaining comprehensive insights into your services’ status to troubleshooting with ease, Systemctl empowers you with efficient service management. In this comprehensive guide, I will explore different methods to list services using systemctl command, the benefits of listing services using Systemctl, uncover advanced techniques, and troubleshoot service-related issues, equipping you with the knowledge to optimize your Linux system.

How to List Services Using Systemctl Command

To list services using the systemctl command, you can view all active services, identify inactive services, and filter services based on their status and unit type. Use systemctl list-units --type=service --state=active to get a comprehensive list of active services, systemctl list-units --type=service --state=inactive to identify inactive services, and systemctl list-units --type=service --state=failed to filter services based on their failure status.

1. Listing All Active Services

This method allows you to view a comprehensive list of all currently active services running on your Linux system. By executing a simple command in the Terminal, you can quickly access crucial details such as the service name, status, description, and control group. To view all active services on your Linux system, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open a Terminal window on your Linux machine.
opening terminal 41
  1. Execute the following command in the Terminal:
<strong>systemctl list-units --type=service --state=active</strong>
  1. The Terminal will display a comprehensive list of all currently active services on your system. Each entry will include details like the service name, status, description, and control group.
listing all currently active services

2. Listing Inactive Services

Inactive services may not be running presently, but it’s essential to be aware of them for potential activation. This method enables you to identify and list all the inactive services on your Linux system, providing you with a complete overview of services that are not currently in use. To see the inactive services on your Linux system, follow these steps:

  1. Access your command window and run the following command in the Terminal:
<strong>systemctl list-units --type=service --state=inactive</strong>
  1. The Terminal will display a list of all inactive services on your system. These services are currently not running but may be available for activation.
listing all inactive services

3. Filtering Services by Status and Unit Type

When you need to focus on specific types of services or their operational status, this method is invaluable. By filtering services based on their status (active, inactive, or failed) and their unit type (service, socket, device), you gain targeted insights into your system’s service configuration. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch your Terminal window and to filter services based on failure status and see which services have failed, use:
<strong>systemctl list-units --type=service --state=failed</strong>
  1. The Terminal will display the filtered results, providing you with a more targeted view of the services based on the criteria you specified.
filtering services by status type

Advanced Service Listing Techniques

By harnessing tools like Grep, Awk, and Regular Expressions, you can precisely filter and format service listings, gaining deeper insights into your system’s operation. Mastering these techniques enhances your ability to efficiently manage and troubleshoot services, streamlining your Linux experience for seamless operation.

1. Listing Services Using Wildcards and Regular Expressions

Take your service listing to the next level with the flexibility of wildcards and regular expressions. This method empowers you to list services with names containing multiple keywords, such as server or service, in a single command, providing a more targeted and tailored service view. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Terminal window on your Linux system.
  2. To list services with names containing either server or service, enter the following command:
<strong>systemctl list-units --type=service --all | grep -E "server|service"</strong>
  1. The Terminal will present a filtered list of services that match the specified regular expression, providing a more focused view of the relevant services.
listing services using wild cards

2. Navigating Through Different Systemd Targets

Systemd targets define the operational modes of your system, and understanding them is vital for effective service management. By using the systemctl get-default command, you can quickly identify the active target, gaining insights into how services interact and function within the current system configuration. Here is the step-by-step guide:

  1. Access your command window and to view the active target, execute the following command:
<strong>systemctl get-default</strong>
  1. The Terminal will display the current active target, representing the system’s state or operational mode.
viewing active target using systemctl command

3. Benchmarking Service Startup Times and Optimization Strategies

Measuring service startup times with the systemd-analyze blame tool allows you to pinpoint services that may be impacting system performance. This invaluable benchmarking process helps you identify potential bottlenecks and prioritize optimization efforts.

  1. Launch your command prompt and to measure service startup times and identify potential bottlenecks, utilize the systemd-analyze tool with the blame option:
<strong>systemd-analyze blame</strong>
  1. The Terminal will display a list of services and their respective startup times, allowing you to assess which services may require optimization to improve overall system performance.
listing services with their startup time

3 Common Errors when Listing Services using Systemctl

Systemctl is a powerful tool for managing services on Linux systems. While it provides a seamless experience, you may encounter some errors when listing services. Understanding these common errors can help you troubleshoot and manage your services more effectively. Here are three most common errors with possible solutions:

  • 🛑 “Failed to Connect to the D-Bus Daemon” error: One of the frequent errors you may encounter is the “Failed to connect to the D-Bus daemon” message. This error occurs when Systemctl cannot communicate with the D-Bus messaging system, which is vital for inter-process communication on Linux. It can be caused by a misconfiguration, a corrupted D-Bus session, or insufficient permissions. Resolving this error involves restarting the D-Bus service, ensuring proper permissions, and restarting the system if necessary.
  • ⚠️ “No Output or Empty Service List” error: Sometimes, when listing services using Systemctl, you may encounter an empty service list or no output at all. This issue may arise due to incorrect syntax in the command, misconfiguration of Systemd unit files, or corrupted service data. To resolve this, double-check the command syntax, verify the unit files’ integrity, and ensure that the necessary services are correctly installed and active.
  • “Failed to Get Properties” error: Unit File Not Found” error: The error message “Failed to get properties: Unit file not found” often occurs when trying to list services using a specific service name that is either misspelled or doesn’t exist. It can also happen if the Systemd unit file associated with the service is corrupted or missing. To fix this error, check for typos in the service name, ensure the unit file exists in the correct location, and reinstall the service if needed.

3 Benefits of Listing Services Using Systemctl

Systemctl is a powerful utility that brings a plethora of benefits when it comes to managing services on Linux systems. By efficiently listing services, you can gain valuable insights and streamline the management process for optimal system performance. Here are three benefits of using systemctl to list services:

  • Comprehensive Service Overview: Systemctl allows you to obtain a comprehensive overview of all services running on the Linux system. By executing a simple command, you can access detailed information such as service status, description, control group, and dependencies. This comprehensive view empowers administrators to monitor the health of their services, identify potential issues, and take proactive measures to ensure the smooth functioning of the system.
  • 🔍 Easy Troubleshooting and Debugging: Listing services with Systemctl is an invaluable tool for troubleshooting and debugging service-related problems. When an issue arises, administrators can quickly check the status of specific services, identify failed units, and inspect logs for errors. This streamlined approach significantly reduces the time spent on diagnosing problems, allowing for swift resolution and minimal disruption to the system.
  • ⏱️ Time-Efficient Service Management: Systemctl simplifies service management by providing a unified interface to control and manipulate services. Administrators can start, stop, enable, disable, and reload services using intuitive commands. This time-efficient process streamlines routine tasks, allowing administrators to focus on more critical aspects of system administration, such as optimizing performance, enhancing security, and ensuring a seamless user experience.

In Conclusion

I hope you have found this guide to list services using Systemctl command insightful and helpful in managing your Linux system. As you explore the methods to list services, be aware that encountering common errors is not uncommon. Embracing Systemctl’s capabilities offers several benefits, providing you with a comprehensive service overview, streamlined troubleshooting, and efficient service management.

To continue your Linux journey, consider exploring topics like automating service startup with Systemd timers, optimizing services for specific workloads, and understanding containerization technologies like Docker and Kubernetes. Embrace the ever-evolving Linux ecosystem, and keep expanding your skill set to stay ahead in this exciting technological landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I List Services Running on a Specific User Account?

To view services associated with a specific user account, you can utilize the --user option with Systemctl. Run the following command in the Terminal: systemctl --user list-units --type=service. This command will display a list of services that are associated with the user account currently logged in. It provides a focused view of the services relevant to that user, allowing for easy monitoring and management of their specific services.

Is It Possible to List Services on Older Linux Distributions with Systemctl?

Systemctl is an essential component of the Systemd init system, commonly found in most modern Linux distributions. However, on older systems that do not employ Systemd, such as those using the traditional SysV init system, Systemctl may not be available. In such cases, alternative methods like init.d scripts are used for managing services.

Can I Revert Changes Made Using Systemctl?

Absolutely! Systemctl allows you to revert changes made to services. For example, if you disable a service to prevent it from starting at boot, you can re-enable it later if required. To re-enable a service, use the following command: systemctl enable <service-name>. This will set the service to start automatically at boot, undoing the previous disablement. Reverting changes with Systemctl provides flexibility and ensures that you can adapt your system’s configuration to meet changing requirements.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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