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11. The Command Line > 11.4. Finding and Stopping Runaway Programs

Finding and Stopping Runaway Programs

At any moment, there’s a lot going on with your computer. Programs and processes are controlling hard drive access, determining what you see on the screen, managing what is written to event logs, and watching for input from you. If you’ve ever looked at the Task Manager on Windows 2000 or XP (press Ctrl-Alt-Del and click Task Manager to bring it up), you’ve seen a lot of programs running that you probably couldn’t identify.

Sometimes programs crash or become unresponsive. I wish I could say that Linux was immune to problems like this, but it isn’t. When a problem occurs, the affected program process may get hung up, and hang around, using up a lot of your computer’s time and memory and slowing other programs down. You need to know how to find runaway program processes like this and force them to stop.


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