Optimizing Your Top Experience (Advanced)

Bryan Young By Bryan Young
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My last article, Optimizing Your Top Experience, showed you several tips and tricks that you can use to improve how you use the top command to improve the way you monitor your system. Today, I will share with you some advanced techniques that I use to make top do exactly what I need it to do.

When you open top you only see one window, when in reality there are four. You can get to them by using G followed by a number 1-4. To see them all, you must first activate the alternate display mode by pressing A. You will now see four different windows stacked on top of one another, each one showing information in different orders. You will also notice the top left corner says “1:Def” where it used to say “top,” this is to show you what window you are currently affecting. Window 1 focuses on CPU usage, window 2 focuses on the individual job, window 3 is all about memory usage, and window 4 is user based.

In order to switch your current control, use a and w to cycle through 1:Def, 2:Job, 3:Mem, and 4:Usr. When you are focused on the window you want to change, press - to toggle the visibility of that window. To toggle the visibility of all the windows at once, use _ and voila, your windows are inverted. In this way, you can set your display your top to display the information most important to you. I like to have windows 1 (CPU) and 3 (memory usage) open at the same time.

Once you have everything to your liking, you can save your settings to a configuration file by pressing W. This is saved to ~/.toprc and every time you run the top command, it will read from that file and show you your altered screen.

About Bryan Young
Bryan Young is a staff writer for WebProNews.

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