Windows XP and DOS

Top Command Alternative to View Processes

SUMMARY: View Windows XP process information in the DOS prompt.

Many Unix and Linux-style operating systems come with the 'top' command that, when entered, display a detailed view of every running process on the system. This command updates in real-time, so as processes start, stop, or request more memory, this information is reflected in the display.

Windows XP's Task Manager shows this information in a GUI format. Just press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE. If the Task Manager does not automatically appear, select the "Task Manager" button.

To view this information in the DOS prompt, you need to install the Windows 2003 Resource Kit (refer to tip Unix Style Tail Command for instructions). This will provide the command 'pmon' that provides similar functionality. After installation of the Resource Kit, enter the following command at the DOS prompt:


You will see a display of the currently running processes, their names, how long they have run, their thread count, and more. At the top of the pmon display is a cumulative total of memory used, memory available page faults, and more. Use the up and down cursor keys to scroll through the display, and press CONTROL-C to exit.

Of course, if you are used to the top command, you can always create a quick batch file. Enter the following at the DOS prompt:

C:\>cd \windows
C:\>echo @pmon > top.bat

Now, if you enter 'top' at the Windows XP command prompt, the process monitor (pmon) command will start.

Return to the Windows XP and DOS page.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language.