Manage Processes in Linux

The IT Pro Challenge virtual lab, Manage Processes in Linux, give learners practice in gathering and managing processes and their performance through Terminal. Most IT professions, including cyber operators, engineers, and administrators, gain fundamental skills to troubleshoot and keep their systems secure.

1 hour
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This one-hour lab teaches how to research and manage Linux System processes, as well as to handle performance through executing commands in Terminal. Hints appear after every section guiding the learner on forming correct syntax and verifying results via screenshots. However, an intermediate learner who entered commands in a text shell or has some familiarity with scripting would benefit greatly. He or she would extend and build on existing Linux knowledge.

IT professionals, from administrators to engineers to software testers, have to learn how to manage processes, in addition to gathering information and optimizing application performance. First, knowing which programs take up the most memory and how to terminate them proves to be a practical problem-solving technique. This lab gives hands-on experience on these skills.

Some applications develop memory leaks and can tie up other algorithms running on the system. In the case where termination would do more harm than good, getting algorithms to sleep, move to the foreground, or background ensures better system performance. More relevant code executes on the system.

Besides, an unknown process can indicate a security breach or problem. Sometimes this kind of code does not take up much memory but a lot of processing time. Monitoring applications using the top tool and organizing its output helps technicians view how the system performs in real-time. Through analyzing the information from Top and reading documentation about malware, an administrator sees processes that likely compromise the system and stop them. This lab provides skills to do that.

Gather Process Information:

This section instructs using the ‘ps,’ ‘grep,’ ‘pidof,’ and ‘pstree’ commands to collect data on the applications running on the machine. Learners switch between a root and user tab to understand different ways to get and confirm information about the processes.

Manage Processes:

Learners try out different ways to stop running applications, including ‘sleep,’ Ctrl Z’ ( ‘Command Z’ on the Mac), foreground, background, and ‘kill -9’ commands. After completing this module, learners gain knowledge and comfort in using text commands to manage processes. Also, the lab teaches how to use the sleep and echo commands together to pause and then run a process.

Manage Process Performance:

In this hands-on portion, the user works with the top tool, a real-time report showing application ID, user, memory, and performance time. Lab participants also learn to change the niceness value on a scale for process priority. A negative niceness number has a higher priority than a positive one. Learners practice the ‘sar’ command to list processor performance data.


At the finish of this lab, learners master different commands and tools to manage and view processes. Users know how to get and use process ID numbers within the Linux Terminal command window. Lab participants work with Top, a portal to system activity and performance. Finally, learners reprioritize processes by changing the niceness value. All of these skills need to be on hand for troubleshooting and securing systems.

Learners driven to extend and advance their Linux toolset should consider other labs.

    • GUIDED CHALLENGE: Manage Services in Linux
    • ADVANCED CHALLENGE: Can You Configure a Yum Repository in Linux?