When you need to see the running processes on your Linux in real time, you have top as your tool for that.
top also displays other info besides the running processes, like free memory both physical and swap
- -d ss.tt
- Delay -- Specifies the seconds and tenths of seconds of delay between the updates of the info showed on the screen, being the default 3 seconds
- Starts top with the last remembered 'i' state reversed. When this toggle is Off, tasks that are idled or zombied will not be displayed.
- -n n
- Specifies the maximum number of iterations, or frames, top should produce before ending.
- -p n
- Monitor only processes with specified process IDs. This option can be given up to 20 times, or you can provide a comma delimited list with up to 20 pids. Co-mingling both approaches is permitted. This is a command-line option only. And should you wish to return to normal operation, it is not necessary to quit and and restart top -- just issue the '=' interactive command.
- - Secure - Runs top in secure mode, restricting the commands you can use while top is running even for root
- -S (Sum)
- Starts top with the last remembered 'S' state reversed. When 'Cumulative mode' is On, each process is listed with the cpu time that it and its dead children have used. See the 'S' interactive command for additional information regarding this mode.
Description of the fields
d: UID -- User Id
The effective user ID of the task's owner.
e: USER -- User Name
The effective user name of the task's owner.
f: GROUP -- Group Name
The effective group name of the task's owner.
g: TTY -- Controlling Tty
The name of the controlling terminal. This is usually the device (serial port, pty, etc.) from which the process was started, and which it uses for input or output. However, a task need not be associated with a terminal, in which case you'll see '?' displayed.
h: PR -- Priority
The priority of the task.
i: NI -- Nice value
The nice value of the task. A negative nice value means higher priority, whereas a positive nice value means lower priority. Zero in this field simply means priority will not be adjusted in determining a task's dispatchability./dd>
j: P -- Last used CPU (SMP)
A number representing the last used processor. In a true SMP environment this will likely change frequently since the kernel intentionally uses weak affinity. Also, the very act of running top may break this weak affinity and cause more processes to change CPUs more often (because of the extra demand for cpu time).
k: %CPU -- CPU usage
The task's share of the elapsed CPU time since the last screen update, expressed as a percentage of total CPU time. In a true SMP environment, if 'Irix mode' is Off, top will operate in 'Solaris mode' where a task's cpu usage will be divided by the total number of CPUs. You toggle 'Irix/Solaris' modes with the 'I' interactive command.
l: TIME -- CPU Time
Total CPU time the task has used since it started. When 'Cumulative mode' is On, each process is listed with the cpu time that it and its dead children has used. You toggle 'Cumulative mode' with 'S', which is a command-line option and an interactive command. See the 'S' interactive command for additional information regarding this mode.
m: TIME+ -- CPU Time, hundredths
The same as 'TIME', but reflecting more granularity through hundredths of a second.
n: %MEM -- Memory usage (RES)
A task's currently used share of available physical memory.
o: VIRT -- Virtual Image (kb)
The total amount of virtual memory used by the task. It includes all code, data and shared libraries plus pages that have been swapped out.
VIRT = SWAP + RES.
p: SWAP -- Swapped size (kb)
The swapped out portion of a task's total virtual memory image.
q: RES -- Resident size (kb)
The non-swapped physical memory a task has used.
RES = CODE + DATA.
r: CODE -- Code size (kb)
The amount of physical memory devoted to executable code, also known as the 'text resident set' size or TRS.
s: DATA -- Data+Stack size (kb)
The amount of physical memory devoted to other than executable code, also known as the 'data resident set' size or DRS.
t: SHR -- Shared Mem size (kb)
The amount of shared memory used by a task. It simply reflects memory that could be potentially shared with other processes.
u: nFLT -- Page Fault count
The number of major page faults that have occurred for a task. A page fault occurs when a process attempts to read from or write to a virtual page that is not currently present in its address space. A major page fault is when disk access is involved in making that page available.
v: nDRT -- Dirty Pages count
The number of pages that have been modified since they were last written to disk. Dirty pages must be written to disk before the corresponding physical memory location can be used for some other virtual page.
w: S -- Process Status
The status of the task which can be one of:
'D' = uninterruptible sleep
'R' = running
'S' = sleeping
'T' = traced or stopped
'Z' = zombie
Tasks shown as running should be more properly thought of as 'ready to run' -- their task_struct is simply represented on the Linux run-queue. Even without a true SMP machine, you may see numerous tasks in this state depending on top's delay interval and nice value.
x: Command -- Command line or Program name
Display the command line used to start a task or the name of the associated program. You toggle between command line and name with 'c', which is both a command-line option and an interactive command.
When you've chosen to display command lines, processes without a command line (like kernel threads) will be shown with only the program name in parentheses, as in this example:
( mdrecoveryd )
Either form of display is subject to potential truncation if it's too long to fit in this field's current width. That width depends upon other fields selected, their order and the current screen width.
Note: The 'Command' field/column is unique, in that it is not fixed-width. When displayed, this column will be allocated all remaining screen width (up to the maximum 512 characters) to provide for the potential growth of program names into command lines.
y: WCHAN -- Sleeping in Function
Depending on the availability of the kernel link map ('System.map'), this field will show the name or the address of the kernel function in which the task is currently sleeping. Running tasks will display a dash ('-') in this column.
Note: By displaying this field, top's own working set will be
increased by over 700Kb. Your only means of reducing that overhead
will be to stop and restart top.
z: Flags -- Task Flags
This column represents the task's current scheduling flags which are expressed in hexadecimal notation and with zeros suppressed. These flags are officially documented in <linux/sched.h>. Less formal documentation can also be found on the 'Fields select' and 'Order fields' screens.
While top is running you may issue some options that will interact immediately with top these options are:
- a: PID -- Process Id
- The task's unique process ID, which periodically wraps, though never restarting at zero.
- b: PPID -- Parent Process Pid
- The process ID of a task's parent.
- c: RUSER -- Real User Name
- The real user name of the task's owner.
top - 22:29:04 up 7:16, 3 users, load average: 0.06, 0.08, 0.08
Tasks: 105 total, 2 running, 99 sleeping, 0 stopped, 4 zombie
Cpu(s): 2.5%us, 0.7%sy, 0.0%ni, 95.7%id, 1.0%wa, 0.2%hi, 0.0%si, 0.0%st
Mem: 1035196k total, 796652k used, 238544k free, 55680k buffers
Swap: 2650684k total, 0k used, 2650684k free, 432516k cached
PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND
4267 root 15 0 320m 45m 10m S 4 4.5 4:45.33 X
2865 haldaemo 17 0 5736 4136 1864 S 0 0.4 0:23.18 hald
1 root 15 0 744 288 240 S 0 0.0 0:01.15 init
2 root RT 0 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/0
3 root 34 19 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 ksoftirqd/0
4 root RT 0 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/1
5 root 34 19 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 ksoftirqd/1
6 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.12 events/0
7 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 events/1
8 root 12 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 khelper
9 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 kthread
13 root 14 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 kblockd/0
14 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 kblockd/1
15 root 16 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 kacpid
125 root 11 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 cqueue/0
126 root 11 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 cqueue/1
127 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.02 kseriod
171 root 16 0 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 pdflush
172 root 15 0 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.06 pdflush
173 root 12 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 kswapd0
174 root 12 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 aio/0
175 root 13 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 aio/1
435 root 12 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 kpsmoused
847 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0 0.0 0:00.00 ata/0
- Help, displays a summary of command that will modify the behavior of top
- Kills a process, you will be able to kill only your own processes, unless you are running top as root
- Once this command is entered top will ask you how many lines you want on your screen, if you enter 0 top will display as much as it can
- Exits top
- Change the priority of a process, as well as with k you will only be able to act on your own processes unless you are root
- Writes the current configuration to your personal configuration file, which is $HOME/.toprc