For Windows users, checking system performance for CPU, memory and process utilization, Task Manger is the quickest way to get an overall assessment of your Windows system.
On Ubuntu, many tools and utilities exists to check and monitor system performance. But for Windows users making the switch to Ubuntu, the equivalent to Windows Task Manager is System Monitor which provides a graphical over-view of processes, CPU, memory, and network utilization.
To run System Monitor from Gnome in Ubuntu, click on System \ Administration \ System Monitor from the panel.
From KDE in Kubuntu, click on K Menu \ System \ System Monitor.
Or press Alt+F2 and type:
then press Run to launch System Monitor.
System Monitor includes four tabs:
1– System – reports current Release version, Hardware (total Memory and Processor type) and System Status (available disk space)
2 – Processes – the most useful tab. Here you can see all running processes and how much CPU and Memory usage each process is utilizing.
By default, the current view for listing processes is the current user. By selecting View from the menu, you can also view All Processes and Active Processes (which is helpful to isolate processes that consume high CPU and Memory resources) and any process Dependencies that may exist.
Just like Windows Task Manager, each column can be sorted individually. You can also add and remove columns by selecting Edit \ Preferences from the menu.
Note: Preferences can also be used to change display settings for Resources and File System tabs.
Check or uncheck items you want displayed on the Processes tab. I highly recommend checking Command Line since this will show the directory location and command string that launched the process (a great way to learn Linux and Ubuntu from the command line!).
NOTE: You can also move and re-order columns by clicking on a column header and dragging it left or right.
Additionally, you can right click on a process and Stop, Continue, End, Kill, or Change the Priority of the process. Open Files is also usefull to display files (temporary files, etc…) that are in use by a process.
3 – Resources – displays a basic birds-eye view of CPU, Memory and Swap usage, along with Network utilization.
NOTE: You can change the color settings for each graph, by clicking on the color button under each graph:
4 – File Systems – displays disk usage for each partition and hard drive and any other devices connected to your System.
The File Systems tab is good for checking overall disk space usage. A better tool for checking directory and partition sizes is Disk Space Analyzer.
System Monitor can also be docked on the Gnome panel by:
- right clicking the top panel.
- select Add to Panel…
- scroll down to System and Hardware and double click on System Monitor
Once System Monitor icon has been added to the panel, you change it's settings by right clicking on the graph and click on Preferences. Double clicking on the graph in the panel will open the System Monitor utility.
For more Ubuntu Guides for Windows users, check out our Ubuntu Tips category.