perf-record — Run a command and record its profile into


perf record [-e <EVENT> | --event=EVENT] [-a] <command>
perf record [-e <EVENT> | --event=EVENT] [-a] — <command> [<options>]


This command runs a command and gathers a performance counter profile from it, into - without displaying anything.

This file can then be inspected later on, using perf report.



Any command you can specify in a shell.

-e, --event=

Select the PMU event. Selection can be:

  • a symbolic event name (use perf list to list all events)
  • a raw PMU event (eventsel+umask) in the form of rNNN where NNN is a hexadecimal event descriptor.
  • a symbolically formed PMU event like pmu/param1=0x3,param2/ where param1, param2, etc are defined as formats for the PMU in /sys/bus/event_source/devices/<pmu>/format/*.
  • a symbolically formed event like pmu/config=M,config1=N,config3=K/

    where M, N, K are numbers (in decimal, hex, octal format). Acceptable
    values for each of 'config', 'config1' and 'config2' are defined by
    corresponding entries in /sys/bus/event_source/devices/<pmu>/format/*
    param1 and param2 are defined as formats for the PMU in:
    There are also some parameters which are not defined in .../<pmu>/format/*.
    These params can be used to overload default config values per event.
    Here are some common parameters:
    - 'period': Set event sampling period
    - 'freq': Set event sampling frequency
    - 'time': Disable/enable time stamping. Acceptable values are 1 for
              enabling time stamping. 0 for disabling time stamping.
              The default is 1.
    - 'call-graph': Disable/enable callgraph. Acceptable str are "fp" for
                   FP mode, "dwarf" for DWARF mode, "lbr" for LBR mode and
                   "no" for disable callgraph.
    - 'stack-size': user stack size for dwarf mode
    - 'name' : User defined event name. Single quotes (') may be used to
              escape symbols in the name from parsing by shell and tool
              like this: name=\'CPU_CLK_UNHALTED.THREAD:cmask=0x1\'.
    - 'aux-output': Generate AUX records instead of events. This requires
                    that an AUX area event is also provided.
    See the linkperf:perf-list[1] man page for more parameters.
    Note: If user explicitly sets options which conflict with the params,
    the value set by the parameters will be overridden.
    Also not defined in .../<pmu>/format/* are PMU driver specific
    configuration parameters.  Any configuration parameter preceded by
    the letter '@' is not interpreted in user space and sent down directly
    to the PMU driver.  For example:
    perf record -e some_event/@cfg1,@cfg2=config/ ...
    will see 'cfg1' and 'cfg2=config' pushed to the PMU driver associated
    with the event for further processing.  There is no restriction on
    what the configuration parameters are, as long as their semantic is
    understood and supported by the PMU driver.
  • a hardware breakpoint event in the form of \mem:addr[/len][:access] where addr is the address in memory you want to break in. Access is the memory access type (read, write, execute) it can be passed as follows: \mem:addr[:[r][w][x]]. len is the range, number of bytes from specified addr, which the breakpoint will cover. If you want to profile read-write accesses in 0x1000, just set mem:0x1000:rw. If you want to profile write accesses in [0x1000~1008), just set mem:0x1000/8:w.
  • a BPF source file (ending in .c) or a precompiled object file (ending in .o) selects one or more BPF events. The BPF program can attach to various perf events based on the ELF section names.

    When processing a '.c' file, perf searches an installed LLVM to compile it
    into an object file first. Optional clang options can be passed via the
    '--clang-opt' command line option, e.g.:
    perf record --clang-opt "-DLINUX_VERSION_CODE=0x50000" \
                -e tests/bpf-script-example.c
    Note: '--clang-opt' must be placed before '--event/-e'.
  • a group of events surrounded by a pair of brace ("{event1,event2,...}"). Each event is separated by commas and the group should be quoted to prevent the shell interpretation. You also need to use --group on "perf report" to view group events together.

Event filter. This option should follow an event selector (-e) which selects either tracepoint event(s) or a hardware trace PMU (e.g. Intel PT or CoreSight).

  • tracepoint filters

    In the case of tracepoints, multiple '--filter' options are combined
    using '&&'.
  • address filters

    A hardware trace PMU advertises its ability to accept a number of
    address filters by specifying a non-zero value in
    Address filters have the format:
    filter|start|stop|tracestop <start> [/ <size>] [@<file name>]
    - 'filter': defines a region that will be traced.
    - 'start': defines an address at which tracing will begin.
    - 'stop': defines an address at which tracing will stop.
    - 'tracestop': defines a region in which tracing will stop.
    <file name> is the name of the object file, <start> is the offset to the
    code to trace in that file, and <size> is the size of the region to
    trace. 'start' and 'stop' filters need not specify a <size>.
    If no object file is specified then the kernel is assumed, in which case
    the start address must be a current kernel memory address.
    <start> can also be specified by providing the name of a symbol. If the
    symbol name is not unique, it can be disambiguated by inserting #n where
    'n' selects the n'th symbol in address order. Alternately #0, #g or #G
    select only a global symbol. <size> can also be specified by providing
    the name of a symbol, in which case the size is calculated to the end
    of that symbol. For 'filter' and 'tracestop' filters, if <size> is
    omitted and <start> is a symbol, then the size is calculated to the end
    of that symbol.
    If <size> is omitted and <start> is '*', then the start and size will
    be calculated from the first and last symbols, i.e. to trace the whole
    If symbol names (or '*') are provided, they must be surrounded by white
    The filter passed to the kernel is not necessarily the same as entered.
    To see the filter that is passed, use the -v option.
    The kernel may not be able to configure a trace region if it is not
    within a single mapping.  MMAP events (or /proc/<pid>/maps) can be
    examined to determine if that is a possibility.
    Multiple filters can be separated with space or comma.

Don’t record events issued by perf itself. This option should follow an event selector (-e) which selects tracepoint event(s). It adds a filter expression common_pid != $PERFPID to filters. If other --filter exists, the new filter expression will be combined with them by &&.

-a, --all-cpus

System-wide collection from all CPUs (default if no target is specified).

-p, --pid=

Record events on existing process ID (comma separated list).

-t, --tid=

Record events on existing thread ID (comma separated list). This option also disables inheritance by default. Enable it by adding --inherit.

-u, --uid=

Record events in threads owned by uid. Name or number.

-r, --realtime=

Collect data with this RT SCHED_FIFO priority.


Collect data without buffering.

-c, --count=

Event period to sample.

-o, --output=

Output file name.

-i, --no-inherit

Child tasks do not inherit counters.

-F, --freq=

Profile at this frequency. Use max to use the currently maximum allowed frequency, i.e. the value in the kernel.perf_event_max_sample_rate sysctl. Will throttle down to the currently maximum allowed frequency. See --strict-freq.


Fail if the specified frequency can’t be used.

-m, --mmap-pages=

Number of mmap data pages (must be a power of two) or size specification with appended unit character - B/K/M/G. The size is rounded up to have nearest pages power of two value. Also, by adding a comma, the number of mmap pages for AUX area tracing can be specified.


Put all events in a single event group. This precedes the --event option and remains only for backward compatibility. See --event.


Enables call-graph (stack chain/backtrace) recording.


Setup and enable call-graph (stack chain/backtrace) recording, implies -g. Default is "fp".

Allows specifying "fp" (frame pointer) or "dwarf"
(DWARF's CFI - Call Frame Information) or "lbr"
(Hardware Last Branch Record facility) as the method to collect
the information used to show the call graphs.
In some systems, where binaries are build with gcc
--fomit-frame-pointer, using the "fp" method will produce bogus
call graphs, using "dwarf", if available (perf tools linked to
the libunwind or libdw library) should be used instead.
Using the "lbr" method doesn't require any compiler options. It
will produce call graphs from the hardware LBR registers. The
main limitation is that it is only available on new Intel
platforms, such as Haswell. It can only get user call chain. It
doesn't work with branch stack sampling at the same time.
When "dwarf" recording is used, perf also records (user) stack dump
when sampled.  Default size of the stack dump is 8192 (bytes).
User can change the size by passing the size after comma like
"--call-graph dwarf,4096".
-q, --quiet

Don’t print any message, useful for scripting.

-v, --verbose

Be more verbose (show counter open errors, etc).

-s, --stat

Record per-thread event counts. Use it with perf report -T to see the values.

-d, --data

Record the sample virtual addresses.


Record the sample physical addresses.

-T, --timestamp

Record the sample timestamps. Use it with perf report -D to see the timestamps, for instance.

-P, --period

Record the sample period.


Record the sample cpu.

-n, --no-samples

Don’t sample.

-R, --raw-samples

Collect raw sample records from all opened counters (default for tracepoint counters).

-C, --cpu

Collect samples only on the list of CPUs provided. Multiple CPUs can be provided as a comma-separated list with no space: 0,1. Ranges of CPUs are specified with -: 0-2. In per-thread mode with inheritance mode on (default), samples are captured only when the thread executes on the designated CPUs. Default is to monitor all CPUs.

-B, --no-buildid

Do not save the build ids of binaries in the files. This skips post processing after recording, which sometimes makes the final step in the recording process to take a long time, as it needs to process all events looking for mmap records. The downside is that it can misresolve symbols if the workload binaries used when recording get locally rebuilt or upgraded, because the only key available in this case is the pathname. You can also set the "" config variable to 'skip to have this behaviour permanently.

-N, --no-buildid-cache

Do not update the buildid cache. This saves some overhead in situations where the information in the file (which includes buildids) is sufficient. You can also set the "" config variable to no-cache to have the same effect.

-G name,..., --cgroup name,...

monitor only in the container (cgroup) called "name". This option is available only in per-cpu mode. The cgroup filesystem must be mounted. All threads belonging to container "name" are monitored when they run on the monitored CPUs. Multiple cgroups can be provided. Each cgroup is applied to the corresponding event, i.e., first cgroup to first event, second cgroup to second event and so on. It is possible to provide an empty cgroup (monitor all the time) using, e.g., -G foo,,bar. Cgroups must have corresponding events, i.e., they always refer to events defined earlier on the command line. If the user wants to track multiple events for a specific cgroup, the user can use -e e1 -e e2 -G foo,foo or just use -e e1 -e e2 -G foo.

If wanting to monitor, say, cycles for a cgroup and also for system wide, this command line can be used: perf stat -e cycles -G cgroup_name -a -e cycles.

-b, --branch-any

Enable taken branch stack sampling. Any type of taken branch may be sampled. This is a shortcut for --branch-filter any. See --branch-filter for more infos.

-j, --branch-filter

Enable taken branch stack sampling. Each sample captures a series of consecutive taken branches. The number of branches captured with each sample depends on the underlying hardware, the type of branches of interest, and the executed code. It is possible to select the types of branches captured by enabling filters. The following filters are defined:

  • any: any type of branches
  • any_call: any function call or system call
  • any_ret: any function return or system call return
  • ind_call: any indirect branch
  • call: direct calls, including far (to/from kernel) calls
  • u: only when the branch target is at the user level
  • k: only when the branch target is in the kernel
  • hv: only when the target is at the hypervisor level
  • in_tx: only when the target is in a hardware transaction
  • no_tx: only when the target is not in a hardware transaction
  • abort_tx: only when the target is a hardware transaction abort
  • cond: conditional branches
  • save_type: save branch type during sampling in case binary is not available later

The option requires at least one branch type among any, any_call, any_ret, ind_call, cond. The privilege levels may be omitted, in which case, the privilege levels of the associated event are applied to the branch filter. Both kernel (k) and hypervisor (hv) privilege levels are subject to permissions. When sampling on multiple events, branch stack sampling is enabled for all the sampling events. The sampled branch type is the same for all events. The various filters must be specified as a comma separated list: --branch-filter any_ret,u,k Note that this feature may not be available on all processors.


Enable weightened sampling. An additional weight is recorded per sample and can be displayed with the weight and local_weight sort keys. This currently works for TSX abort events and some memory events in precise mode on modern Intel CPUs.


Record events of type PERF_RECORD_NAMESPACES.


Record transaction flags for transaction related events.


Use per-thread mmaps. By default per-cpu mmaps are created. This option overrides that and uses per-thread mmaps. A side-effect of that is that inheritance is automatically disabled. --per-thread is ignored with a warning if combined with -a or -C options.

-D, --delay=

After starting the program, wait msecs before measuring. This is useful to filter out the startup phase of the program, which is often very different.

-I, --intr-regs

Capture machine state (registers) at interrupt, i.e., on counter overflows for each sample. List of captured registers depends on the architecture. This option is off by default. It is possible to select the registers to sample using their symbolic names, e.g. on x86, ax, si. To list the available registers use --intr-regs=\?. To name registers, pass a comma separated list such as --intr-regs=ax,bx. The list of register is architecture dependent.


Similar to -I, but capture user registers at sample time. To list the available user registers use --user-regs=\?.


Record running and enabled time for read events (:S)

-k, --clockid

Sets the clock id to use for the various time fields in the perf_event_type records. See clock_gettime(). In particular CLOCK_MONOTONIC and CLOCK_MONOTONIC_RAW are supported, some events might also allow CLOCK_BOOTTIME, CLOCK_REALTIME and CLOCK_TAI.

-S, --snapshot

Select AUX area tracing Snapshot Mode. This option is valid only with an AUX area tracing event. Optionally, certain snapshot capturing parameters can be specified in a string that follows this option: e: take one last snapshot on exit; guarantees that there is at least one snapshot in the output file; <size>: if the PMU supports this, specify the desired snapshot size.

In Snapshot Mode trace data is captured only when signal SIGUSR2 is received and on exit if the above e option is given.


When processing pre-existing threads /proc/XXX/mmap, it may take a long time, because the file may be huge. A time out is needed in such cases. This option sets the time out limit. The default value is 500 ms.


Record context switch events i.e. events of type PERF_RECORD_SWITCH or PERF_RECORD_SWITCH_CPU_WIDE.


Path to clang binary to use for compiling BPF scriptlets. (enabled when BPF support is on)


Options passed to clang when compiling BPF scriptlets. (enabled when BPF support is on)


Specify vmlinux path which has debuginfo. (enabled when BPF prologue is on)


Record build-id of all DSOs regardless whether it’s actually hit or not.


Use <n> control blocks in asynchronous (Posix AIO) trace writing mode (default: 1, max: 4). Asynchronous mode is supported only when linking Perf tool with libc library providing implementation for Posix AIO API.


Set affinity mask of trace reading thread according to the policy defined by mode value: node - thread affinity mask is set to NUMA node cpu mask of the processed mmap buffer cpu - thread affinity mask is set to cpu of the processed mmap buffer


Specify minimal number of bytes that is extracted from mmap data pages and processed for output. One can specify the number using B/K/M/G suffixes.

The maximal allowed value is a quarter of the size of mmaped data pages.

The default option value is 1 byte which means that every time that the output writing thread finds some new data in the mmaped buffer the data is extracted, possibly compressed (-z) and written to the output, or pipe.

Larger data chunks are compressed more effectively in comparison to smaller chunks so extraction of larger chunks from the mmap data pages is preferable from the perspective of output size reduction.

Also at some cases executing less output write syscalls with bigger data size can take less time than executing more output write syscalls with smaller data size thus lowering runtime profiling overhead.

-z, --compression-level[=n]

Produce compressed trace using specified level n (default: 1 - fastest compression, 22 - smallest trace)


Configure all used events to run in kernel space.


Configure all used events to run in user space.


Collect callchains only from kernel space. I.e. this option sets perf_event_attr.exclude_callchain_user to 1.


Collect callchains only from user space. I.e. this option sets perf_event_attr.exclude_callchain_kernel to 1.

Don’t use both --kernel-callchains and --user-callchains at the same time or no callchains will be collected.

--timestamp-filename Append timestamp to output file name.


Record timestamp boundary (time of first/last samples).


Generate multiple files, timestamp prefixed, switching to a new one based on mode value: "signal" - when receiving a SIGUSR2 (default value) or <size> - when reaching the size threshold, size is expected to be a number with appended unit character - B/K/M/G <time> - when reaching the time threshold, size is expected to be a number with appended unit character - s/m/h/d

Note: the precision of  the size  threshold  hugely depends
on your configuration  - the number and size of  your  ring
buffers (-m). It is generally more precise for higher sizes
(like >5M), for lower values expect different sizes.

A possible use case is to, given an external event, slice the file that gets then processed, possibly via a perf script, to decide if that particular snapshot should be kept or not.

Implies --timestamp-filename, --no-buildid and --no-buildid-cache. The reason for the latter two is to reduce the data file switching overhead. You can still switch them on with:

--switch-output --no-no-buildid  --no-no-buildid-cache

When rotating with --switch-output, only keep N files.


Parse options then exit. --dry-run can be used to detect errors in cmdline options.

perf record --dry-run -e can act as a BPF script compiler if llvm.dump-obj in config file is set to true.


Instead of collecting non-sample events (for example, fork, comm, mmap) at the beginning of record, collect them during finalizing an output file. The collected non-sample events reflects the status of the system when record is finished.


Makes all events use an overwritable ring buffer. An overwritable ring buffer works like a flight recorder: when it gets full, the kernel will overwrite the oldest records, that thus will never make it to the file.

When --overwrite and --switch-output are used perf records and drops events until it receives a signal, meaning that something unusual was detected that warrants taking a snapshot of the most current events, those fitting in the ring buffer at that moment.

overwrite attribute can also be set or canceled for an event using config terms. For example: cycles/overwrite/ and instructions/no-overwrite/.

Implies --tail-synthesize.

See Also

perf-stat(1), perf-list(1)

Referenced By

lttng-add-context(1), perf(1), perf-annotate(1), perf-archive(1), perf-buildid-cache(1), perf-buildid-list(1), perf-c2c(1), perf-diff(1), perf-evlist(1), perf-ftrace(1), perf-inject(1), perf-kmem(1), perf-kvm(1), perf-list(1), perf-mem(1), perf-probe(1), perf-report(1), perf-sched(1), perf-script(1), perf-timechart(1), perf-trace(1).

10/28/2019 perf Manual