Shade Bars in htop – What Do They Imply?

Shade Bars in htop – What Do They Imply?

htop color output

Ever puzzled what all of the purple, inexperienced, orange, aqua and darkish blue bars imply in htop? Even in case you are not conversant in htop, this text will introduce you to the nice Linux process supervisor and it’s coloration key.

Putting in htop

In the event you haven’t obtained htop put in but, you possibly can set up itat the terminal immediate, through the use of apt or yum:

To put in htop in your Debian/Apt based mostly Linux distribution (Like Ubuntu and Mint), do:

sudo apt set up htop

To put in htop  on your RedHat/Yum based mostly Linux distribution (Like RedHat and Fedora), do:

sudo yum set up htop

htop – the Nice Linux Process Supervisor

Many customers are conversant in the Home windows process supervisor. That useful little utility which helps you to kill processes when they’re hanging and have a fast look on how your system is doing {hardware} sensible.

However what we are able to use in Linux? Whereas some completely different flavors of Linux might include their very own process supervisor (like System Monitor in Ubuntu), such instruments will not be common. They might additionally lack options and be unusable from the command line.

Welcome to htop, the terminal based mostly, full fledged process supervisor which will also be began in varied distributions straight from the Desktop, bypassing the necessity to use a terminal.

Full htop output

htop permits you to flick through processes working on the system, kind them in varied methods (strive clicking one of many headers to kind by that column, and click on it once more to reverse kind), to kill processes when wanted utilizing a wide range of kill alerts (to take action, choose a course of to kill, press F9 and choose a kill sign), and a wide range of different monitoring and course of administration options.

What’s Up With All of the Colours?

To date we solely had a peek on the backside a part of the htop GUI: the processlist and htop options to handle every course of. Nonetheless, the highest a part of the htop GUI is the place all that info is mixed, and the place we are able to monitor how properly our {hardware} is performing.

In the event you prefer to be taught extra about easy methods to interpret this output, you possibly can evaluate our Is Your Linux System Memory, CPU or IO Bound? article.

Trying on the bars and statistics for reminiscence (Mem), swap (Swp) and CPU threads (1 bar per thread), we rapidly see that a big number of colours is used to supply extra detailed details about every part and it’s standing bar. We see purple, inexperienced, orange, darkish blue and doubtlessly aqua, and there additionally some offset between bars of various sorts. For instance, the reminiscence bar has orange whereas the CPU threads don’t.

All of those colours look significantly better then the choice: htop with out coloration coding:

htop monochrome output

You can begin htop in monochrome mode by invoking htop -C (uppercase C required, lowercase is not going to work) on the command line.

Placing monochrome output on the facet and returning to our extra nice colourful and default htop output, what do every of the colours signify?

The Shade Key

The htop coloration key could seem exhausting to seek out! If we entry the htop guide (man htop) there isn’t a info on colours, different then easy methods to disable them utilizing the -C choice mentioned earlier. The reply is to press the F1 key which is able to lead us to a small assist display with the colour key in addition to some useful keyboard shortcuts:

htop keyboard shortcuts and color key

For the CPU threads utilization Bar, the darkish blue bars are low-priority processes, the inexperienced bars are regular processes, the purple bars are kernel time and (although you could not see this), the aqua coloured bars are virtualized processes, when current.

A full CPU thread utilization bar might be made up out of most of most of these processes – in any case, your kernel is at all times working and so forth.

Subsequent we are able to see the Reminiscence (Mem) bar – made up out of inexperienced, darkish blue and orange bars.

The inexperienced bars point out what reminiscence is used, the blue bars present us how a lot was allotted to buffers and eventually the orange bars exhibits the quantity of reminiscence allotted to cache. It ought to be famous that buffer and cache reminiscence can, partly, be thought of accessible reminiscence (kind free -g on the command line for a extra detailed evaluation output, or free -m in case your system has much less then 2-3 Gigabyte whole reminiscence).

Lastly, the swap bar has solely a single bar coloration, purple, indicating how a lot of the swap file, or swap partition is in use.


Realizing what colours are utilized by htop permits one to raised perceive the wealthy info htop is offering. This info can usually be obtained with in a easy look at htop output. Take pleasure in discovering out extra about your desktop laptop or server by htop!

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