16 Top Command Examples in Linux [Monitor Linux Processes]

In our previous articles, we have covered the basics of ls command and cat command. In this article, we are trying to explore the top command which is one of the most frequently used commands in our daily system administrative jobs.

The top command (table of processes) displays the processor activity of your Linux box and also displays tasks managed by the kernel in real-time. It also shows information about CPU and memory utilization of a list of running processes.

You might also be interested in the following tutorials :

1. List All Running Linux Processes

To list all running Linux Processes, simply type top on the command line to get the information of running tasks, memory, cpu, and swap. Press ‘q‘ to quit window.

# top
View Linux Running Processes

2. Sort Linux Processes by PID

To sort all Linux running processes by Process ID, press M and T keys.

List of Linux Processes by PID

3. Sort Linux Processes by Memory and CPU Usage

To sort all Linux running processes by Memory usage, press M and P keys.

Sort Linux Processes by Memory CPU Usage

4. Sort Linux Processes by Running Time

To sort all Linux running processes by running time, press M and T keys.

Sort Linux Processes by Running Time

5. Display Linux Processes By Specific User

To display all user-specific running processes information, use the -u option will list specific User process details.

# top -u tecmint
List Linux Processes By Specific User

6. Highlight Running Process in Top

Press ‘z‘ option will display the running process in color which may help you to identify the running process easily.

Highlight Linux Process

7. List Absolute Path of Running Linux Processes

Press ‘c‘ option in running top command will display the absolute path of the running process.

List Linux Processes by Path

8. Set Refresh Interval for Top Command

By default screen refresh interval is set to 3.0 seconds, the same can be changed by pressing the ‘d‘ option in running the top command to set desired interval time.

Set Top Command Refresh Time

9. Kill Running Linux Process Using Top Command

You can kill a process after finding the PID of the process by pressing the ‘k‘ option in running the top command without closing the top window as shown below.

Kill Linux Process Using PID

10. Sort Linux Processes by CPU Utilisation

To sort all running processes by CPU utilization, simply press Shift+P key.

Sort Linux Processes by CPU Usage

11. Renice a Linux Process

You can use the ‘r‘ option to change the priority of the process also called Renice.

Renice Linux Process

12. Check Linux CPU Cores

To list the load information of your CPU cores, simply press 1 to list the CPU core details.

List Linux CPU Cores

13. Save Top Command Results in File

To save the running top command results output to a file /root/.toprc use the following command.

# top -n 1 -b > top-output.txt

14. List Linux Idle Processes

Press 'i' to get the list of idle/sleeping processes.

List Linux Idle Processes

15. Getting Top Command Help

Press the ‘h‘ option to obtain the top command help.

Linux Top Command Help

16. Exit Top Command After Specific Repetition

The output of the top command keeps refreshing until you press ‘q‘. With the below command, it will automatically exit after 10 repetitions.

# top -n 10

There is a number of arguments to know more about the top command, you may refer man page of the top command. Please share it if you find this article useful or share your thoughts using our comment box below.

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82 thoughts on “16 Top Command Examples in Linux [Monitor Linux Processes]”

  1. Great article!! Is there any GUI way of visualizing the top command that is output to a file after sort say for CPU utilization?

    • @Madhav,

      The -n option specifies the maximum number of iterations and -b enables batch mode operation, which could be useful for sending output from top to a file.

  2. basically I want this output to a file.. for 10 mins..

    top – 13:29:09 up 1 day, 20:30, 1 user, load average: 0.65, 0.70, 0.69
    Tasks: 1022 total, 1 running, 1020 sleeping, 0 stopped, 1 zombie
    %Cpu0 : 13.0 us, 2.7 sy, 0.0 ni, 84.3 id, 0.0 wa, 0.0 hi, 0.0 si, 0.0 st
    %Cpu1 : 49.3 us, 3.6 sy, 0.0 ni, 45.7 id, 0.3 wa, 0.3 hi, 0.0 si, 0.7 st
    %Cpu2 : 2.0 us, 2.0 sy, 0.0 ni, 95.4 id, 0.0 wa, 0.3 hi, 0.3 si, 0.0 st
    %Cpu3 : 7.6 us, 2.0 sy, 0.0 ni, 90.4 id, 0.0 wa, 0.0 hi, 0.0 si, 0.0 st
    %Cpu4 : 1.3 us, 2.3 sy, 0.0 ni, 96.0 id, 0.0 wa, 0.0 hi, 0.3 si, 0.0 st
    %Cpu5 : 26.1 us, 2.6 sy, 0.0 ni, 70.3 id, 0.3 wa, 0.3 hi, 0.0 si, 0.3 st
    KiB Mem : 41042384 total, 1621820 free, 6024132 used, 33396432 buff/cache
    KiB Swap: 21946356 total, 21946308 free, 48 used. 9811332 avail Mem

    34389 root 20 0 967380 57812 8156 S 91.7 0.1 243:41.66 java
    4295 oracle 20 0 4517788 497680 9364 S 0.0 1.2 4:15.28 java

  3. Hi All, is there a way to get top output for a given command only listing all CPU info also and write to a file..


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