Everyday we look at ourselves examining our faces, skin, teeth and overall health. Why not do the same with your computer systems? Well you can! Today we will be talking how to keep an eye on your system and make sure everything is running smoothly. I will show you simple built in tools that can help you keep an eye on your system resources and keep a good check on what is being used and how. System monitoring is a complex and essential part of your systems safety, health and overall functionality. It is easy for anyone to learn the basics and monitor their system resources. This guide will get you started and hopefully give you enough idea for you to carry onwards and better learn your system.
Regarding Apple’s operating system, we can use a build in program called “Activity Monitor“. It can be found in “Other” folder in your dashboard. Once you start it up you will see the first page of the program, the CPU tab:
From this page you can easily see important information such as:
- What processes are currently running and who executed them.
- How much CPU is being utilized by the system, user and is idle.
- The list is sorted by default by which processes are using the most of your CPU resources.
Using this program you can also view other resources such as memory utilized by each process, energy consumed, disk spaced allocated and network traffic to and by each process. Using this monitoring tool you can easily identify troublesome processes. For example, you are experiencing some slow computing performance. You check the memory list and see that Google Chrome is taking almost 2GB of your RAM! Well, you can terminate it and that will instantly free up memory for your other processes to utilize. Now of course modern operating systems are equipped with efficient memory allocation schemas but when you are pushing the pedal to the metal, you need to take control.
As you can see this is the memory list of my computer. Google Chrome is open with 12 tabs is eating up more than 1GB of my memory. Down below you can also see that I have total of 8GB RAM available and 6.72GB is busy. I can see programs that I have not used for weeks and are in my memory. Sometimes I just open up this monitoring tool and shut them down. If you also notice a process in the top called
kernel_task. This is basically your system running and in my case it is using around 1GB or memory. This is something you cannot shut down, don’t even try!
Here we see a list of processes that are sending and requesting traffic from my wifi connection. As you can see the very top two processes are system processes that keep my computer connected to the internet. User installed software comes next. You can see Google Chrome, my email client, WhatsApp and others. Using this list you can determine if you program is properly connected to the outer world. Sometimes my programs are having firewall issues and/or are not functioning properly, from here I find the issue out and try to sort out my network problems. You too can see whether your programs are working as intended or not.
Now this guide is quite short and I only demonstrated MacOS. The reason is that MacOS’s “Activity Monitor” and Window’s “Task Manager” are very similar. They display same information in the same way and taking care of annoying processes is exactly same. Check out screenshots below to see how similar they are. This tool might seem basic but trust me it is not. It has saved me many times and helped me get out dead ends. Learn how to use this tool more frequently and it will definitely make your life easier!
Windows Task Manager:
Below you see the Windows Task Manager. It is a similar program to MacOs’s Activity Manager. You can always open up the Resource Monitor for even more in depth control over your system resources.