The 7 Best Task Manager Tools For Linux [Guide]

Got a program you can’t stop from running on your Linux desktop? Curious as to what’s using all of your CPU or RAM? You’ll need a good task manager. Luckily, there are dozens of great task management tools for Linux for all types of use-cases.

In an effort to sort through the massive amount of task management programs to choose from, we’ll go over some of the best task management tools to use for managing problem programs, viewing system resource usage and more.

1. Htop

Htop is a text-based task manager tool for Unix inspired by the Top task manager. Many people, especially system admins rely on Htop as it offers up dozens of options for stopping, restarting and controlling programs, as well as offering real-time information of system usage.

Notable Features

  • Despite being text-based, Htop is easy to use, modern and much more responsive than “Top” which it is based on.
  • The powerful search feature makes finding processes simple.
  • Multiple end-program options mean no process will refuse to quit.
  • Due to its text nature, it can run anywhere, even over the internet on a server via SSH.
  • Shows CPU and Memory usage at a glance, rather than hidden away in a menu.
  • Processes can be filtered and sorted with the press of a button.

2. Stacer

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For those that want something more than a task manager, check out Stacer. It’s a system optimizer, package manager, PC cleaner, PC resource viewer and program task manager all in one. This app is best for users who are new to Linux or just love having a lot of tools in the same place.

Notable Features

  • Along with managing programs, users can use Stacer to manage startup applications, clear application cache, empty the trash bin, enable/disable running system services, and even uninstall programs.
  • Has both a task manager with detailed running process info and an easy to read system dashboard that users can use to quickly see how their system is running.
  • Has a resource graph that allows users to view how their PC works under load by the minute.
  • The modern interface makes it accessible even for new Linux users.

3. Ksysguard

Ksysguard is the default task manager for the KDE Plasma desktop environment. It is a no-nonsense tool that makes killing problem programs easy. It’s built-in search function is one of the best!

Notable Features

  • “Client/Server” design allows monitoring of both local and remote systems.
  • The quick search feature is very fast and makes it easy to find and end programs.
  • Detailed system-load tab makes keeping track of your Linux machine easy.
  • Can be used in terminal mode, aside from the graphical interface.

4. Gnome System Monitor

Gnome System Monitor is a minimalistic, but powerful task manager for the Gnome Shell desktop environment. It offers easy to read metrics on PC performance, memory usage and more.

Notable Features

  • The minimalistic interface makes managing processes fast and efficient.
  • Useful “File Systems” features let users view hard drive space in a neat, easy to understand menu.
  • “Resources” tab shows a timeline of PC hardware usage, network activity, RAM/SWAP usage all in one place.
  • Let’s users customize the “Resources” tab and add things like CPU Time, Shared Memory, Status, and etc.

5. LXTask

LXTask is a lightweight graphical task management tool for the LXDE/LXQt desktop environments. Light on its feet ensures that it doesn’t take up precious resources while helping you diagnose stubborn programs.

Notable Features

  • Amazingly lightweight means it’ll run on the oldest of Linux PC’s no problem.
  • “More details” feature lets users see more information about any running process.
  • Unlike a lot of other basic task managers, LXTask lets the user display (or hide) Root tasks.

6. Glances

Glances isn’t a task manager. Instead, it’s a terminal-based tool that lets you take a quick “glance” at programs running, CPU usage, RAM usage and etc. Very useful if you often check your PC’s performance and stats.

Notable Features

  • Offers real-time monitoring, so you’ll always know what your PC is up to.
  • Displays storage usage (hard drives, and other devices in use by the system like USB storage, memory cards, etc).
  • Even though it can’t actually manage processes, Glances displays process ID numbers in the event the user wants to take the process ID and issue a kill command in a terminal.
  • Shows disk read/write speed.
  • Displays processes using lots of resources in red.
  • Gives detailed information on CPU usage, RAM, SWAP, and more.

7. Ps

It is a barebones command-line tool to view what programs are running. I’ts not necessarily a task manager, but useful in a pinch.

Notable Features

  • Ps is scriptable, and works well with other commands in the terminal, making it more useful.
  • Despite its basic nature, Ps has dozens of useful command arguments, like sorting processes, showing process IDs, displaying individual threads of a given process and more.
  • Comes on virtually every Linux distribution in existence, meaning users don’t need to install anything to use it.
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