Top Option

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How to Use the Linux Top Command fo Show Running Processes

A real-time system resource monitor helps alert you to system bottlenecks

msan10 / Getty Images

The Linux top command shows the running processes within your Linux environment that consume the most system resources.

How to Run the ‘top’ Command

In its basic form all you need to do to show the current processes is type the following in a Linux terminal:

Command Output

The top command runs in the foreground and continuously updates itself. Its results show on five lines, plus the main table.

Line 1

The first line offers some basic high-level info about the system:

  • The time
  • How long the computer has been running
  • Number of users
  • Load average

The load average shows the system load time for the last 1, 5 and 15 minutes.

Line 2

The second line summarizes the number of ongoing, concurrent tasks:

  • Total number of tasks
  • Number of running tasks
  • Number of sleeping tasks
  • Number of stopped tasks
  • Number of zombie tasks

Line 3

The third line summarizes CPU performance:

  • CPU usage as a percentage by the user
  • CPU usage as a percentage by system
  • CPU usage as a percentage by low priority processes
  • CPU usage as a percentage by idle processes
  • CPU usage as a percentage by io wait
  • CPU usage as a percentage by hardware interrupts
  • CPU usage as a percentage by software interrupts
  • CPU usage as a percentage by steal time

Line 4

The fourth line emphasizes memory:

  • Total system memory
  • Free memory
  • Memory used
  • Buffer cache

Line 5

The fifth line highlights available swap space and total memory inclusive of swap:

  • Total swap available
  • Total swap free
  • Total swap used
  • Available memory

Main Table

The main table lists running processes:

  • Process ID
  • User
  • Priority
  • Nice level
  • Virtual memory used by process
  • Resident memory used by a process
  • Shareable memory
  • CPU used by process as a percentage
  • Memory used by process as a percentage
  • Time process has been running
  • Command

Key Switches for the ‘top’ Command

Although you invoke top just by typing the name in a shell session, a few switches modify the utility’s behavior:

  • -h: Show the current version
  • -c: This toggles the command column between showing command and program name
  • -d: Specify the delay time between refreshing the screen
  • -o: Sorts by the named field
  • -p: Only show processes with specified process IDs
  • -u: Show only processes by the specified user
  • -i: Do not show idle tasks

Example Usage With Switches

Let’s explore several ways of using top with various switches.

Specify a Delay Time Between Screen Refreshes

To specify a delay between the screen refreshes whilst using top type the following:

To refresh every 5 seconds type top -d 5

Obtain a List of Columns to Sort By

To get a list of the columns with which you can sort the top command by type the following:

There are a lot of columns so you might wish to pipe the output to less as follows:

Sort the Columns by a Column Name

Use the previous section to find a column to sort by and then use the following syntax to sort by that column:

To sort by %CPU type the following:

Only Show the Processes for a Specific User

To show only the processes that a specific user is running use the following syntax:

For example to show all the processes that the user gary is running type the following:

Hide Idle Tasks

The default top view can seem cluttered and if you want to see only active processes (i.e those that are not idle) then you can run the top command using the following command:

Adding Extra Columns to the Display

Whilst running top you can press the ‘F’ key which shows the list of fields that can be displayed in the table:

Use the arrow keys to move up and down the list of fields.

To set a field so that it is displayed on the screen press the ‘D’ key. To remove the field press «D» on it again. An asterisk (*) will appear next to displayed fields.

You can set the field to sort the table by simply by pressing the «S» key on the field you wish to sort by.

Press the enter key to commit your changes and press «Q» to quit.

Toggling Modes

Whilst running top press the A key to toggle between the standard display and an alternate display.

Changing Colors

Press the Z key to change the colors of the values within top.

There are three stages required to change the colors:

  1. Press either S for summary data, M for messages, H for column headings or T for task information to target that area for a color change
  2. Choose a color for that target, 0 for black, 1 for red, 2 for green, 3 for yellow, 4 for blue, 5 for magenta, 6 for cyan and 7 for white
  3. Enter to commit.

Press the B key to make text bold.

Change the Display Whilst Running Top

While the command runs in the foreground, toggle many features on and off by pressing relevant keys.

The following table shows the key to press and the function it provides:

Function Key Description
A Alternative display (default off)
d Refresh screen after specified delay in seconds (default 1.5 seconds)
H Threads mode (default off), summarises tasks
p PID Monitoring (default off), show all processes
B Bold enable (default on), values are shown in bold text
l Display load average (default on)
t Determines how tasks are displayed (default 1+1)
m Determines how memory usage is displayed (default 2 lines)
1 Single cpu (default off) – i.e. shows for multiple CPUs
J Align numbers to the right (default on)
j Align text to the right (default off)
R Reverse sort (default on) – Highest processes to lowest processes
S Cumulative time (default off)
u User filter (default off) show euid only
U User filter (default off) show any uid
V Forest view (default on) show as branches
x Column highlight (default off)
z Color or mono (default on) show colors

Function Keys

Alternative: ‘htop’ Utility

It’s not installed on most distributions by default, but the htop utility functions similarly to top but it streamlines the display and ties behavior to realtime function key presses rather than a complex menu of letter-and-switch behavior. Significantly, htop shows all running processes whereas top focuses on the top processes that consume the most system resources.

Option Volume Leaders

Stocks: 15 20 minute delay (Cboe BZX is real-time), ET. Volume reflects consolidated markets. Futures and Forex: 10 or 15 minute delay, CT.

© 2020 Barchart.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This page shows equity options with the highest daily volume, with options broken down between stocks and ETFs. Volume is the total number of option contracts bought and sold for the day, for that particular strike price. Trading volume on an option is relative to the volume of the underlying stock. Traders should compare high options volume to the stock’s average daily volume for clues to its origin.

When an option has high volume activity, it usually indicates one of three things.

  1. It may indicate that a major event is about to take place. Traders are looking to cash in on an anticipated jump in the stock’s price (one way or the other) and buy options as a result. In this case, you should look to compare the option’s volume to the underlying stock’s average daily volume. If the underlying stock has a large percent change in price AND a larger than normal volume, that is typically a strong market signal in the same direction as the change.
  2. Other times, high volume on an options contract may indicate that put buyers are hedging a potential downside risk for a stock whose technicals indicate a sell-off. Many times, these hedges are from a hedge fund or a large institutional trader. If you see high volume on an OTM option, this is usually driven by a hedge.
  3. And finally, high volume is sometimes generated by inexperienced options traders, traders who buy cheap OTM options with no specific reason and strategy.

High daily volume on an options contract warrants further analysis to try and identify where the trades are coming from. Once you understand which of the above three conditions are driving the activity, you can more effectively use that information to formulate your own strategy.

The page is initially sorted in descending daily Volume sequence. You can re-sort the page by clicking on any of the column headings.

In order to be included, for U.S. markets, an option needs to have volume of greater than 1000, open interest greater than 100, volatility greater than 0, and last price greater than 0.10. For Canadian markets, an option needs to have volume of greater than 50, open interest greater than 5.

Options information is delayed a minimum of 15 minutes, and is updated at least once every 15-minutes through-out the day.

Data Updates

For pages showing Intraday views, we use the current session’s data, with new price data appear on the page as indicated by a «flash». Stocks: 15 minute delay (Cboe BZX data for U.S. equities is real-time), ET. Volume reflects consolidated markets. Futures and Forex: 10 or 15 minute delay, CT.

The list of symbols included on the page is updated every 10 minutes throughout the trading day. However, new stocks are not automatically added to or re-ranked on the page until the site performs its 10-minute update.

Page Sort

Pages are initially sorted in a specific order (depending on the data presented). You can re-sort the page by clicking on any of the column headings in the table.

Views

Most data tables can be analyzed using «Views.» A View simply presents the symbols on the page with a different set of columns. Site members can also display the page using Custom Views. (Simply create a free account, log in, then create and save Custom Views to be used on any data table.)

Each View has a «Links» column on the far right to access a symbol’s Quote Overview, Chart, Options Quotes (when available), Barchart Opinion, and Technical Analysis page. Standard Views found throughout the site include:

    Main View: Symbol, Name, Last Price, Change, Percent Change, High, Low, Volume, and Time of Last Trade.

Technical View: Symbol, Name, Last Price, Today’s Opinion, 20-Day Relative Strength, 20-Day Historic Volatility, 20-Day Average Volume, 52-Week High and 52-Week Low.

Performance View: Symbol, Name, Last Price, Weighted Alpha, YTD Percent Change, 1-Month, 3-Month and 1-Year Percent Change.

  • Fundamental View: Available only on equity pages, shows Symbol, Name, Weighted Alpha, Market Cap, P/E Ratio. Earnings Per Share, Beta, Return on Equity, and Price/Sales
  • Data Table Expand

    Unique to Barchart.com, data tables contain an «expand» option. Click the «+» icon in the first column (on the left) to «expand» the table for the selected symbol. Scroll through widgets of the different content available for the symbol. Click on any of the widgets to go to the full page.

    Horizontal Scroll on Wide Tables

    Especially when using a custom view, you may find that the number of columns chosen exceeds the available space to show all the data. In this case, the table must be horizontally scrolled (left to right) to view all of the information. To do this, you can either scroll to the bottom of the table and use the table’s scrollbar, or you can scroll the table using your browser’s built-in scroll:

    • Left-click with your mouse anywhere on the table.
    • Use your keyboard’s left and right arrows to scroll the table.
    • Repeat this anywhere as you move through the table to enable horizontal scrolling.
    FlipCharts

    Also unique to Barchart, FlipCharts allow you to scroll through all the symbols on the table in a chart view. While viewing FlipCharts, you can apply a custom Chart Template, further customizing the way you can analyze the symbols. FlipCharts are a free tool available to Site Members.

    Download

    Download is a free tool available to Site Members. This tool will download a .csv file for the View being displayed. For dynamically-generated tables (such as a Stock or ETF Screener) where you see more than 1000 rows of data, the download will be limited to only the first 1000 records on the table. For other static pages (such as the Russell 3000 Components list) all rows will be downloaded.

    Free members are limited to 5 downloads per day, while Barchart Premier Members may download up to 100 .csv files per day.

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    Los mejores corredores de opciones binarias 2020:
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      Binarium

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      Ideal para principiantes! Entrenamiento gratis! Bonos de registro!

    • FinMax
      FinMax

      2do lugar! Gran corredor!

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