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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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top — display and update information about the top processes on the system


top [-s time] [-d count] [-q] [-u] [-w] [-h] [-P] [-n number] [-f filename] [-p pset_id]


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.


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 accessible only to users who have appropriate privileges.


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.


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, if number is greater than the maximum number of processes that can be displayed per screen, this option is ignored. But when used with -f option, there is no limit on the maximum number of processes that can be displayed.

-f filename

Output is appended to filename. When -f is used, top defaults to 1 for -d and 16 for -n.

-p pset_id

Show load averages and process state break down for system and processor set pset_id. Show only the processes running on the processor set pset_id. This option is supported only if the kernel supports processor sets functionality.


Adds column PSET before column CPU for individual CPU information. Adds columns PSET before column CPU for each process information. This option is supported only if the kernel supports processor sets functionality.


Show individual CPU information. By default, top does not display any individual CPU information. The user can toggle between individual process information and individual CPU information by using the w screen-control key. When used with the -h option, the -w option overrides the -h option.

Screen-Control Commands

When displaying multiple-screen data, top recognizes the following keyboard screen-control commands:


Display next screen if the current screen is not the last screen.


Display previous screen if the current screen is not the first screen.


Display the first (top) screen.


Display individual CPU information in place of individual process information and vice versa.

Program Termination

To exit the program and resume normal user activities, type q at any time.

Display Description

Three general classes of information are displayed by top:

System Data

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).

Memory Data

Reports virtual and real memory used by user processes (with the amount of memory considered "active" in parentheses) and the amount of free memory.

Process Data

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 by ps:


Processor number on which the process is executing (only on multi-processor systems).


Terminal interface used by the process.


Process ID number.


ID of the processor set to which the processor belongs. This is shown only when -P option is used.


Name of the owner of the process. When the -u option is specified, the user ID (uid) is displayed instead of USERNAME.


Current priority of the process.


Nice value ranging from -20 to +20.


Total virtual size of the process in kilobytes. This includes virtual sizes of text, data, stack, mmap regions, shared memory regions and IO mapped regions. This may also include virtual memory regions shared with other processes.


Resident size of the process in kilobytes. It includes the sizes of all private regions in the process. The resident size information is, at best, an approximate value.


Current state of the process. The various states are sleep, wait, run, idl, zomb, or stop.


Number of system and CPU seconds the process has consumed.


Weighted CPU (central processing unit) percentage.


Raw CPU percentage. This field is used to sort the top processes.


Name of the command the process is currently running.


top can be executed with or without command-line options.

To display five screens of data at two-second intervals then automatically exit, use:

  • top -s2 -d5

    top -P -s2 -d5

To display information about pset 2, use:

  • top -p 2

    top -P -p 2

To display individual CPU information in place of individual process information, use:

  • top -w

  • and press the w key.


top was developed by HP and William LeFebvre of Rice University.

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