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checkrestart(8) debian-goodies checkrestart(8)


checkrestart - check which processes need to be restarted after an upgrade


checkrestart [ -hvpanmt ] [ -b blacklist_file ] [ -i package_name ] [ -e pid ]


The checkrestart program tries to determine if there are processes in the system that need to be restarted after a system upgrade. This is necessary since an upgrade will usually bring new system libraries and running processes will be still using the old versions of the libraries. In stable Debian GNU/Linux systems this is typically needed to eliminate a system exposure to a vulnerability which might have been fixed by upgrading a library which that process makes use of.

Consequently, checkrestart is sometimes used as an audit tool to find outdated versions of libraries in use, particularly after security upgrades. Administrators should not, however, rely on its output completely (see BUGS below).

This script needs to run as root in order to obtain the information it needs for analysis.


Show the program help and exit.

Generate detailed output. This output includes the list of all processes found using deleted files or descriptors as well as the deleted files and descriptors found.

Only process deleted files that belong to a package, ignoring deleted files which do not have an associated package in the package system.

Process all deleted files regardless of location. This makes the program analyse deleted files even if they would be discarded because they are located in locations, such as /tmp , which are known to produce false positives. It will take preceded if used simultaneously with the -p option.

Generate machine readable output. One line is printed per program which must be restarted: "TYPE:package_name,pid,program". Where TYPE is INIT , if a systemd service file or an init script is available to restart the program, and OTHER otherwise.

Read a blacklist of regular expressions from file. Any files matching the patterns will be ignored. More than one pattern can be provided by using this option more than once.

Ignore services that are associated to the package name provided in name. More than one package can be provided by using this option more than once.

Exclude processes running with pid when looking for open files. This can speed up checkrestart on systems with a large number of open files. Note: this option only works if lsof(8) is not used. More than one process identifier can be provided by using this option more than once.

Do not use lsof(8) even if available. In some systems where there are large number of files the use of lsof might be inefficient. Use this option to disable lsof. Notice also that if lsof is not installed an alternative mechanism to extract deleted files will be used instead. Consequently, there is no need to set this option in systems that do not have lsof(8) installed.

Terse output, just print the number of open deleted files and exit with a code suitable for use by Nagios and similar monitoring tools (see Exit Status).


Normally, the program will exit with error (1) if a non-root user tries to run it. Otherwise, it will always exit with error status 0.

If the --terse switch is given, the exit code is 1 when there are deleted open files and 0 when there are none. This is intended for consumption by Nagios and similar automated monitoring tools.


Start it as user root without parameters:

# checkrestart
Found 20 processes using old versions of upgraded files
(15 distinct programs)
(14 distinct packages)

Of these, 12 seem to contain init scripts which can be used to restart them:
The following packages seem to have init scripts that could be used to restart them:
3044 /usr/sbin/gpm
2208 /sbin/rpcbind
8463 /usr/sbin/named
22124 /usr/sbin/sshd
4078 /usr/sbin/ntpd
3417 /usr/sbin/in.tftpd
2704 /usr/sbin/uptimed
3019 /usr/sbin/cron
22145 /usr/lib/postfix/qmgr
8892 /usr/lib/postfix/master
3174 /usr/sbin/hddtemp
2792 /usr/sbin/automount
3254 /usr/sbin/inetd

These are the init scripts:
service gpm restart
service rpcbind restart
service bind9 restart
service ssh restart
service ntp restart
service tftpd-hpa restart
service uptimed restart
service cron restart
service postfix restart
service hddtemp restart
service autofs restart
service openbsd-inetd restart

These processes do not seem to have an associated init script to restart them:
3775 /sbin/dhclient

This is another example to show the machine-readable output:

# checkrestart --machine


This program might fail if the output of the lsof(8) utility changes since it depends on it to detect which deleted files are used by processes. It might also output some false positives depending on the processes' behaviour since it does not check yet if the (deleted) files in use are really libraries.

If you find a false positive in checkrestart please provide the following information when submitting a bug report:

The output of checkrestart using the -v (verbose) option.

The output of running the following command as root:

lsof | grep -E 'delete|DEL|path inode'

checkrestart is also sensitive to the kernel version in use. And might fail to work with newer (or older) versions.


lsof(8), needrestart(8)

Please note that the needrestart program uses a different logic to determine which services should be restarted based on deleted files. Results might not be exactly the same as those provided by checkrestart


checkrestart was written by Matt Zimmerman for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. It was later improved by Javier Fernandez-Sanguino with contributions from many different users and developers of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.


Copyright (C) 2001 Matt Zimmerman <>
Copyright (C) 2007,2010-2015 Javier Fernandez-Sanguino <>

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later version.

On Debian systems, a copy of the GNU General Public License version 2 can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL-2.

December 19 2006 debian-goodies