How to check hard disk, CPU, and memory usage in elementary OS

This article is for beginners who have migrated from Windows and landed their first steps on Linux via elementary OS. There is no integrated feature in elementary OS for viewing the system information like hard disk usage, CPU consumption, and memory usage.

People who migrated from Windows are used to seeing the hard disk usage details in the ‘Explorer,’ and Task Manager gives the details of CPU and RAM consumption. Elementary OS ships with the “System Monitor” tool that provides a similar system resources usage stats. You should be able to access it from the Applications menu. Here is a screen-shot of it.

System Monitor

For some reason, if your system doesn’t have it installed, which is likely in the older versions of elementary OS, I recommend using the GNOME System Monitor tool, and it is available for free download from the Ubuntu repository. Since elementary OS is a Ubuntu derivative, the program works flawlessly.

Install GNOME System Monitor

You can use apt-get command to get the GNOME System Monitor. Launch ‘Terminal’ from ‘Applications’ and copy-paste the following command. You will have to enter your root password and answer ‘Y’ during the process.

sudo apt-get install gnome-system-monitor

apt-get gnome system monitor - elementary OS Terminal
apt-get gnome system monitor – elementary OS Terminal

An alternate way of installing it without the command line is by using the ‘Software Center.’ Look for GNOME System monitor and click on ‘Install.’

GNOME System Monitor - Software Center
GNOME System Monitor – Software Center

GNOME System Monitor Features

Once you are done installing it, type ‘GNOME System Monitor’ in the ‘Applications’ search box and launch the program.

File Systems

The File Systems tab gives the hard disk usage of all the front-end accessible partitions. It shows the available free hard disk space and the used space.

Hard disk usage - GNOME System Monitor
Hard disk usage – GNOME System Monitor

System Resources

The Resources tab gives CPU Usage History, Memory and SWAP consumption, and Network usage details.

System Resources Usage Details - GNOME Resource Monitor
System Resources Usage Details – GNOME Resource Monitor

Processes

The processes tab has a list of all running processes in the session.

System Processes Running - GNOME System Monitor
System Processes Running – GNOME System Monitor

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