Guide to Using the Top Command in Linux for Viewing Resource Usage

As a Linux administrator, it’s crucial to know the top command for real-time statistics on system resources and analyzing running processes. Here’s a quick guide to using the top command in Linux.

How to Use the Top Command in Linux

1. Display all Running Processes

Simply running the top command without arguments will display a list of all currently running processes. You can navigate through the output using the Up, Down, Page Up, and Page Down keys. Pressing ‘q’ will exit the top command and return to the shell.

2. Sort Linux Processes by PID

You can sort the list of processes by their Process ID (PID) by pressing ‘N’ while the top command is running. This will list all the processes sorted by PID in ascending order.

3. Sort Processes by Memory and CPU Usage

The top command by default sorts the process list by CPU usage. Press ‘M’ to sort the list by memory usage or ‘P’ to sort it by CPU usage again.

4. Sort Processes by Execution Time

You can sort the processes by execution time by pressing ‘M’ and ‘T’ keys while the top command is running. This enables you to see which processes are running longest on your machine.

5. Show Running Processes for Specific Users

To see a list of processes that belong to a specific user, press ‘u’ while at the top command prompt and enter the username. You can also use the ‘-u’ option followed by the username to see a list of processes for that user.

6. Highlight Active Processes

To highlight active processes, making them more comfortable to identify, press ‘z’ within the top command.

Final Thoughts

The top command is a handy tool for gaining insight into resource usage and active processes. Whether you’re handling a single Linux system or managing a server cluster, the top command can assist you significantly in troubleshooting system issues and resource utilization. These tips will make it easier to use the top command on Linux effectively.


What is the top command in Linux?

The top command provides real-time information on running processes and system resources in Linux.

How do I exit the top command?

Press ‘q’ at the command prompt to exit the top command and return to the shell.

Can I sort processes by memory usage in top?

Yes, you can. Press ‘M’ on your keyboard while the top command is running to sort the processes by memory usage.

How do I view the processes for a specific user using top?

To view the processes for a specific user, press ‘u’ within the top command and enter the username. Alternatively, you can use the ‘-u’ option followed by the username.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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