Managing Processes in Linux


In this article, we will discuss how to manage processes in Linux. A process is an instance of a program that is executed by the operating system. Understanding how to manage processes in Linux is essential for system administrators and developers working with Linux systems.

One of the most important aspects of process management in Linux is the ability to see running processes and their status. This information can be used to identify any problems that may be occurring on your system, as well as to monitor system performance and resource usage. Furthermore, being able to manage and control processes is crucial to maintaining system stability and security.

View Running Processes

One of the first things you may want to do when managing processes in Linux is view the processes that are currently running on the system. The ps command is used to view the processes currently running on the system.

$ ps

This will give you a list of all the processes running on the system, including the process ID (PID), the terminal the process is running on, the time the process started, and the command it started the process.

Another way to view running processes is to use the top command. The top command provides a dynamic, real-time view of the processes running on the system.

$ top

This command provides a lot of information about processes, including the process ID, the user who started the process, the CPU and memory usage of the process, and the command that started the process.

You can also use the “htop” command, which is an interactive version of the top command. It provides an intuitive interface that allows you to view and manage processes on your system.

$ htop

Stop and Kill Processes

When managing processes in Linux, it may be necessary to stop or kill a currently running process. The kill command is used to stop or terminate a process.

$ kill <pid>

where <pid> is the ID of the process you want to stop or terminate.

If a process is unresponsive, you can use the “kill -9 <pid>” command to forcibly terminate the process.

$ kill -9 <pid>

This command will kill the process immediately, whether it responds or not.

It is important to note that terminating a process can have negative consequences, such as data loss or corruption, so it should only be done as a last resort. Before killing a process, it is recommended that you try to kill the process properly using the kill command without the -9 option.

Start and Stop Services

In Linux, services are programs that run in the background and provide functionality to other programs or the system as a whole. Services are managed through the systemd service manager. To start a service, you can use the “systemctl start <service>” command.

$ systemctl start <service>

To stop a service, you can use the “systemctl stop <service>” command.

$ systemctl stop <service>

To check the status of a service, you can use the “systemctl status <service>” command.

$ systemctl status <service>

Additionally, you can use the `systemctl list-units --type service` command to see a list of all services on the system, including their current status and whether they are enabled to start automatically at boot.

Managing Process Priorities

Another aspect of process management in Linux is process priority management. The nice command is used to adjust the priority of a process. Nice value goes from -20 to 19, where -20 is the highest priority and 19 is the lowest priority.

$ nice -R <value> <command>

This means that processes with higher nice values ​​will have lower priority and are less likely to consume system resources. This can be useful for performing low-resource background tasks, such as backups or log rotations. To change the priority of an already running process, you can use the renice command.

$ renice -n <value> -p <pid>

where ‘<value>’ is the new priority value and ‘<pid>’ is the ID of the process whose priority you want to change.

It is important to note that you may need to be root or have the appropriate permissions to change the priority of a process.


In this article, we have discussed some of the basic commands and techniques for managing processes in Linux. Let's see how to view running processes, stop and terminate processes, start and stop services, and manage process priorities. Understanding and using these commands and techniques will allow you to effectively manage and control processes on your Linux system, ensuring it remains stable and secure. Remember that killing a process can have bad consequences, so it should be done as a last resort.

Updated on: 20-Jan-2023


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