Pre-class Activity 2

Perform the following on either MS Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux:

  • MS Windows: Type Ctrl-Shift-Esc to bring up the Task Manager and choose the tab “Applications” and “Processes”
  • Mac OS X: Run Activity Monitor (found under Applications / Utilities) and choose the tab “CPU”.
  • Linux: Open the terminal and type ps -eaf.

What do you see? What are the attributes shown? What do they mean? Explore the options/preferences/command line arguments for the respective tools you used.

15 thoughts on “Pre-class Activity 2

  1. i typed ps -eaf in my mac’s terminal.

    simply put it, each line shows a process running on the system.

    attributes shown and explanation (they are guesses):
    UID: it shows the user that started the process
    PID: the process’ unique id
    PPID: the process parent id
    STIME: time the process started
    TIME: how long it has been running
    CMD: The command that invoked this process

  2. I use windows XP, its a task manager which shows many processes, the user who runs that process, CPU, MEM usage, there are options to end a process/process tree, set priority, and which CPU(s) can a process use (in case of multicore system).
    I also remember that there are 2 commands tasklist (list all processes) and taskkill (kill a process) in windows command prompt. These commands are also come with parameters (like taskkill /im).

  3. I use Windows 7. In the Task Manager, when I go to the “Applications” tab, there are 2 attributes: “Task” and “Status.”
    Task indicates the name of the application, when Status indicates whether the application is running (or not responding).
    When i go to the “Processes” tab, there are 5 attributes: “Image Name,” “User Name,” “CPU,” “Memory (Private Working Set),” “Description.” The Image Name is the name of the process. The user name is the user who runs the process. The CPU is the percentage of CPU the process is taking up. Memory is how much memory the process is taking up. And at last, Description tells us more about what the process is (more descriptive name than image name).

    In the Application tab, you can stop an application (job), switch which jobs are running, and end a job. In the Processes tab, you can end a process, and show all processes from all users.

  4. I also use Windows 7.

    In the Application tab, I can see the software and programs I am currently running and their status (running or not responding). Here, I can also create a new task (i.e. run a new program) or end a task (this is useful to terminate programs that are not responding).

    In the Processes tab, I can see the list of running processes (an instance of program being executed by Wikipedia). Some are monitored by the system. The CPU column indicates the percentage of time a process used CPU since the last update. There is also a Memory (Private Working Set) column which indicates the amount of memory that a process is using which cannot be shared by other processes. When we right click, there are a lot of things we can do with these processes, like end process, set priority, etc.

    I find this link informative and quite helpful:

    Besides, at the bottom of the Task Manager window, I can see the number of processes, the percentage of CPU used and the percentage of physical memory used.

  5. also use Win7.
    I’m quite familiar with task manager cuz I can exactly know which application is running are so does the process. Based on my needs and requirements I can decide to end one, switch from one to another or even open a new application if the information(the name of the program, file, folder or sth. else) is enough.
    While for processes tab it’s quite interesting because I can see that the percentage of CPU usage is changing all the time at the bottom of the window and also can find the change happening in the window part. I think it because the OS is always busy in managing the all the resource of the computer, even when you do nothing on the computer. Maybe I can explore more about the operating logic of the OS so that I can be more clear about what the computer is working on when we even do nothing on it.

  6. Windows:
    you can also extend for more properties and details: click on View > Select columns.
    some examples are: Threads, mem pool, I/O R/W,…

  7. i use mac os x.

    i got the following columns:

    pid: i guess it means process id?
    process name
    % CPU: percentage of the CPU used
    Threads (not sure what it is, a “mini process” i guess
    Real mem

  8. Just to share, if you are interested, you may try 3rd party software such as process explorer to find out more information about the programs/processes you are running.

  9. I use win7 as well.
    Just wanna add: sometimes stopping an application won’t kill the process (still busy running); but stopping a process will end the application as well – this happens quite often if you have a cheap laptop

  10. You can also use top command in UNIX-like OS’s to get a real-time view of the processes that are currently running in the system.

    FYI, Windows XP has less options in Task Manager compared to Windows 7. In Windows 7, it is possible to view the command line that starts the process and its path. There is also Performance Monitor in Windows 7 that details the CPU/Network/Disk/Memory activity of the processes. These tools, to a certain extent, is helpful in detecting strange activities in the computer. (A malicious program can always modify the system to hide itself from these tools).

  11. Both windows XP and 7 taskmanagers show lesser details than the one on MAC OS that prof showd us yesterday. But in windows 7, the taskmanager also links to another utility named “resource monitor” (under “performance” tab). This one is more powerful than the task mangers we often use.

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