Oh no, something seems to be going wrong with your computer! On Windows, you bring up the task manager using Ctrl + Alt + Delete to confirm your suspicions. Then you use close whichever program is running amok.
But now you’re using Linux, and that keyboard shortcut isn’t doing what you expected. Things are different in open source penguin land. But don’t worry, there are many ways to monitor your system and close renegade programs. Whether you prefer something like the Windows task manager or rather dive straight into the command line, there’s an option for you.
Graphical ApplicationsThis software most resembles the Windows task manager. The functionality isn’t a direct match, as the two systems don’t handle tasks in the same way. Nonetheless, you should find the experience familiar.
Linux has numerous desktop environments, and many ship with their own option. Here are three of the major ones.
1. GNOME System Monitor
2. KDE System Monitor
The second tab shows a live view of your CPU load, memory usage, and network activity. It’s almost identical to the Resources tab in the GNOME System Monitor.
3. XFCE Task ManagerThe lightweight XFCE desktop’s task manager does away with the standard tabbed interface. Instead you get a graphical view of CPU and memory load with a list of processes underneath.
Pull Up System Monitor Using Ctrl + Alt + DeleteUnder Linux, Ctrl + Alt + Delete usually doesn’t do what you may expect it to. Pressing those hotkeys bring up the log out menu, from which you can restart or power down. It’s an alternative to pressing the power key.
Changing this is simple. Under GNOME, for example, go to Settings > Keyboard.
Select the Shortcuts tab. Then look for Custom Shortcuts in the sidebar and click the + button. Enter a name for the shortcut and the command used to launch your task manager. For the GNOME System Monitor, type gnome-system-monitor.
A notification will ask if you want to replace the previous function assigned to these keys. Simply confirm that you do.
Command Line ToolsFor more power, you want to dive into the command line. Here you can pull up extra information and expand your options.
Below are some of the essential commands.
kill and killallkill is one such command. Follow this up with a PID to terminate that process. If this fails, add the signal 9 to increase your chances of success.
By default, kill uses signal 15, named SIGTERM. Signal 9 is SIGKILL. The latter only fails when a process is making a request to the kernel. In such a circumstance, it will end after making the system call.
kill -9 2470
Use kill -l for the full list of signals.