Linux - Top Command


While free displays only memory-related information, the top command does a little bit of everything.

CPU utilization, process statistics, memory utilization — top does it all.

In addition, unlike the free command, top's default behavior is to run continuously; there is no need to use the watch command. Here is a sample display

The display is divided into two sections:

  • The top section contains information related to overall system status — uptime, load average, process counts, CPU status, and utilization statistics for both memory and swap space.
  • The lower section displays process-level statistics, the exact nature of which can be controlled while top is running

Top provide an self-updating view of your system, including memory usage by process, users on the system, and so forth.


  • q = quit

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