top - display and update information about the top processes on the
top [-s time] [-d count] [-q] [-u] [-h] [-n number]
top displays the top processes on the system and periodically updates
the information. Raw CPU percentage is used to rank the processes.
top recognizes the following command-line options:
-s time Set the delay between screen updates to time seconds.
The default delay between updates is 5 seconds.
-d count Show only count displays, then exit. A display is
considered to be one update of the screen. This
option is used to select the number of displays to be
shown before the program exits.
-q This option runs the top program at the same priority
as if it is executed via a nice -20 command so that
it will execute faster (see nice(1)). This can be
very useful in discovering any system problem when
the system is very sluggish. This option is
accessibly only to users who have appropriate
-u User ID (uid) numbers are displayed instead of
usernames. This improves execution speed by
eliminating the additional time required to map uid
numbers to user names.
-h Hides the individual CPU state information for
systems having multiple processors. Only the average
CPU status will be displayed.
-n number Show only number processes per screen. Note that
this option is ignored if number is greater than the
maximum number of processes that can be displayed per
When displaying multiple-screen data, top recognizes the following
keyboard screen-control commands:
j Display next screen if the current screen is not the
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k Display previous screen if the current screen is not
the first screen.
t Display the first (top) screen.
To exit the program and resume normal user activities, type q at any
Three general classes of information are displayed by top:
The first few lines at the top of the display show general
information about the state of the system, including:
+ System name and current time.
+ Load averages in the last one, five, and fifteen
minutes of all the active processors in the system.
+ Number of existing processes and the number of
processes in each state (sleeping, waiting, running,
starting, zombie, and stopped).
+ Percentage of time spent in each of the processor
states (user, nice, system, idle, interrupt and
swapper) per active processor on the system.
+ Average value for each of the active processor
states (only on multi-processor systems).
Includes virtual and real memory in use (with the amount of
memory considered "active" in parentheses) and the amount of
Information about individual processes on the system. When
process data cannot fit on a single screen, top divides the
data into two or more screens. To view multiple-screen
data, use the j, k, and t commands described previously.
Note that the system- and memory-data displays are present
in each screen of multiple-screen process data.
Process data is displayed in a format similar to that used
CPU Processor number on which the process is
executing (only on multi-processor
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TTY Terminal interface used by the process.
PID Process ID number.
USERNAME Name of the owner of the process. When the
-u option is specified, the user ID (uid)
is displayed instead of USERNAME.
PRI Current priority of the process.
NI Nice value ranging from -20 to +20.
SIZE Total size of the process in kilobytes.
This includes text, data, and stack.
RES Resident size of the process in kilobytes.
The resident size information is, at best,
an approximate value.
STATE Current state of the process. The various
states are sleep, wait, run, idl, zomb, or
TIME Number of system and CPU seconds the
process has consumed.
%WCPU Weighted CPU (central processing unit)
%CPU Raw CPU percentage. This field is used to
sort the top processes.
COMMAND Name of the command the process is
top can be executed with or without command-line options. To display
five screens of data at two-second intervals then automatically exit,
top -s2 -d5
top was developed by HP and William LeFebvre of Rice University.
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