Manage Linux System Processes via Top

Operating systems of the Linux family run a separate system process for each task or operation. If a service fails or an error occurs during operation, then action must be taken. Let’s consider one of the tools for working with processes in the Linux OS family.


The name Top in Linux is a utility that manages system processes. is integrated into any distribution of the operating system. With the help of Top processes, you can set priorities, view the full list, and also terminate.

The launch is carried out by entering the command in the terminal:

Screenshot #1. Top utility.

Important! The application is interactive, i.e. changes occur in real time and are displayed on the user’s screen.

Top decryption

The upper part of the utility displays information about the technical characteristics of the (server), the total number of services, as well as the amount of RAM and the paging file:

Screenshot #2. Device information.

The following is information about the processes:

Screenshot #3. Services.

Each column displays its own value:

1. PID is a service identifier that does not repeat. It allows you to uniquely identify the process.
2. USER is the account name under which the service is running.
3. PR stands for Schedule Priority. Assigned at the operating system kernel level.
4. NI stands for nice. In Linux terminology, the higher the number, the less system resources are allocated. A negative value indicates the highest priority for the service.
5. VIRT – the amount of virtual memory that is allocated for a specific process. Denotes a shared resource, i.e. it includes information, memory pages, error codes, etc.
6. RES is the part of VIRT that is not placed on the swap partition. In fact, this is the physical value of RAM used by this service.
7. SHR stands for Shared Random Memory. It is shared among other processes.
8. S – status. Each service is assigned its own depending on the accepted codes:

Screenshot #4. Deciphering S codes.

9. %CPU and %MEM – the consumed resource of the processor and memory. Calculated as a percentage of the total time.
10. TIME+ displays the time the service has used since it started. Calculated from the total processor time.
11. COMMAND draws a correspondence between the process and the program that launched it.

Control via Top

Navigation in the terminal is carried out using the keyboard. The up and down arrows move between lines, while the right and left arrows are responsible for horizontal navigation.

The I key removes processes that are not in use:

Screenshot #5. Remove inactive processes.

The Z button turns on / off the color mode:

Screenshot #6. Color activation.

If you want to display the full path to the application that launched the selected process, press the C key.

End Process

Pressing the K key will end the selected service. An additional line will be displayed on the screen, in which we indicate the identifier (PID):

Screenshot #7. “Kill” the process.

The next option will ask you to specify a sound signal that will notify you of the successful completion of the service.

Important! If the first field is left blank, the utility will close the topmost process in the list.


The advantage of Top is that it sorts in real time. During its operation, press one of the four letters:

Screenshot #8. Turn on the filter.

By default, sampling is done in descending order. To change the display, press the R key.


In the publication, we talked about the Top system utility, described its functions and capabilities. Each description is accompanied by screenshots.


Welcome to the world of DomainRooster, where roosters (and hens) rule the roost! We're a one-stop shop for all your entrepreneurial needs, bringing together domain names and website hosting, and all the tools you need to bring your ideas to life. With our help, you'll soar to new heights and hatch great success. Think of us as your trusty sidekick, always there to lend a wing and help you navigate the sometimes-complex world of domain names and web hosting. Our team of roosters are experts in their fields and are always on hand to answer any questions and provide guidance. So why wait? Sign up today and join the ranks of the world's greatest entrepreneurs. With DomainRooster, the sky's the limit! And remember, as the saying goes, "Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do." So don't be afraid to take that leap of faith - DomainRooster is here to help you reach for the stars. Caw on!