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Ubuntu task manager: Everything you need to know

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You must have used Task Manager in Windows Operating System, which is used to kill or monitor the various running processes and programs in the system. The task manager of Ubuntu is known as System Monitor.

In Windows OS, when you press CNTRL + ALT + DEL, the task manager comes up. However, the same doesn’t happen in Ubuntu. Instead of the task manager, the log-out dialog box appears. Then, how to launch the System Monitor in Ubuntu?

In this article, we’re talking about Ubuntu’s task manager, called System monitor and how you can access it, including using a custom keyboard shortcut — similar to Windows.

Also read: 25 essential Linux terminal commands.

What is Task Manager or System Monitor?

System Monitor is the application that is used to kill or monitor the processes and programs running on the system, It shows the details about CPU, memory, and network utilization. Through the use of the system monitor, the user gets the power to control the process’s lifecycle. If you want to restart a process or kill a process, you can do all of it using System Monitor.

System Monitor in Ubuntu

Let’s see how you can open the system monitor in Ubuntu and use it.

Opening System Monitor using GUI

To open the system monitor using GUI, open your Ubuntu dash and search for the System Monitor in it. Click and open it.

Opening System Monitor using Terminal

Open your terminal and type the following command in the terminal to open the system monitor.


When your system monitor opens, you can see three tabs in it: Processes, Resources, and File Systems.

The processes tab shows all the running processes in the system. You can see the process id, CPU utilization, memory utilization, and priority of the process. By right-clicking on the process, you will be able to see options such as stop or kill or end to change the priority, etc. You can select the option that you want to do.

The resources tab shows the resources and their’ details and history such as CPU history, memory history, etc.

The file systems tab shows the file system details such as the total size of the hard drive, available memory, and memory in use.

Using shortcut ‘CNTRL + ALT + DEL’ to open System Monitor

To use the CNTRL + ALT + DEL screenshots to open the system monitor, follow the given steps.

Step 1: Open Settings and select the ‘Keyboard shortcuts’ option.

Alternatively, press the Windows key and search for Keyboard shortcuts. Click on the corresponding result.

Step 2: Look for the ‘log out’ option under the system section. If the option exists with ‘CNTRL + ALT + DEL’ as the screenshot, then you need to assign some other key combination as shortcut for the log-out option.

Scroll down and click on the “+” icon. A dialog box will appear.

Step 3: Provide the Name as “System Monitor”, put the command “gnome-system-monitor” into the command text field and for keyboard shortcut keys, give the “CNTRL + ALT + DEL” key. Click on the add button.

Your keyboard shortcut ‘CNTRL + ALT + DEL’ will be assigned to the system monitor.

Also read: Top 11 Ubuntu themes.

Chetali Shah

An avid reader and an engineering student. Love to code and read books. Always curious to learn new things :)

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