Some Top Routines

Top or ‘top’ is a process viewer-and-manager for Linux. Another one is Htop or ‘htop’ that comes with more one-key shortcuts and a saner default display (colours that are more likely to be visible). However, Htop’s single-hit keybinds for e.g. killing the currently selected process easily make the user vulnerable to fatal accidents. Also, Htop is not pre-installed too often, so it’s a good idea to know some Top.


It’s not too difficult.

  • Open up a terminal emulator
  • Type top and hit Enter
  • At this point, I normally want to change the colours. Shift+z takes to the page where to select colour schemes, a cycles between the schemes, q returns to the processes page.
  • The processes are ordered whichever way, but Shift+p orders them by CPU usage.
  • If the refresh interval is too fast, d lets you change it.
  • Want to kill a process? Shift+l lets you filter up a process and k begins the step-by-step procedure of killing it.
  • Shift+w saves the state, so that next time you open Top, it shows the same colours and lists the processes by CPU.
  • A helpful list with more shortcuts and keybinds is found under h.
  • q quits.

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