How to Install and Use GNOME System Monitor and Task Manager in Debian 10

Similar to Windows Task Manager that you might have used for years, Debian also comes with a pre-installed resource and process monitoring tool known as GNOME System Monitor. Along with monitoring, it also allows you to stop, continue, kill, and end processes running on your system. GNOME System Monitor comes installed in most of the Linux distributions. However, in case it is missing from your system, you can install it easily.

In this article, will explain how to install and uninstall GNOME System Monitor in a Debian system. We will describe the installation process both via GUI and the command line. We will also explain some of the basic operations that you can perform with the system monitor.

We have run the commands and methods explained in this article on a Debian 10 system.

Install GNOME System Monitor through the Command Line

Launch the command-line Terminal in Debian. To do so, go to the Activities tab in the top left corner of your desktop. Then in the search bar, type the keyword terminal. When the search result appears, click on the Terminal icon to open it.

Now run the following command as sudo to update the system repository index. It will help you to install the most updated package:

$ sudo apt-get update

When prompted for the password, enter the sudo password as only authorized user can update packages on the system.

Update Packages

Once updated, install the Gnome System Monitor application by running this command in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-system-monitor

Install gnome system monitor

The system might provide you with a Y/n option to continue the installation. Hit y and then Enter to continue installation after which software will be installed in your system.

Launch System Monitor from Command Line

Once installed, you can launch the Gnome System Monitor using the following command in Terminal:

$ gnome-system-monitor


To quit the application from Terminal, use Ctrl+c.

Uninstall System Monitor from Command Line

In case, you want to uninstall Gnome system monitor, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-get remove gnome-system-monitor

You will be prompted with the Y/n option to start the uninstallation process. Hit y and then Enter to continue the installation.

Remove system monitor

Install System Monitor through the UI

For users who are not comfortable working with the command line can install Gnome System Monitor via GUI. Here is how to do it:

Hit the super key on your keyboard and then click on the Software Center icon from the Favorites applications on the left sidebar.

Install System Monitor

In the Software Center window, type task manager in the search bar. When the result appears, click on the Gnome System Monitor icon.

Task Manager

In the following dialog, click on the Install button in order to install the Gnome System Monitor package on your system.

Gnome System Monitor

The following authentication dialog box will appear for you to enter the password for the authorized user. Enter the password and click Authenticate, after which the software will be installed on your system.

Authenticate as admin

Once installed, you can launch a system monitor directly from the software center window by clicking the Launch button.

Launch app

Launch System Monitor from the Desktop

To launch the Gnome system monitor any time from the GUI, hit the super key on your keyboard and search for the system monitor by typing the relevant keyword. Or you can directly access from the list of installed applications.

Uninstall System Monitor from GUI

To remove the Gnome system monitor from your system using the GUI, search and open it in the software center window using the search bar. When the following view appears, click on the Remove button. By doing so, a dialog box will appear asking for confirmation. Click the Remove button in order to remove it from your system.

Uninstall app

It will then prompt for authentication password as only authenticated user can install application on a system. Type the password and then click Authenticate after which the uninstallation process will start and the Gnome System monitor will be removed from the system.

Using the GNOME System Monitor

You might be familiar with the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combo used for opening Task Manager in the Windows machine. However, in Linux, Ctrl+Alt+Del is used for bringing up a Logout dialog. You can set this shortcut for launching the Gnome system monitor by going to keyboard settings and adding a custom shortcut.

In Linux, you can launch the Gnome system monitor either via GUI or via Terminal. Once launched, you will see the following screen:

System Monitoring

The GNOME System Monitor Environment

The Gnome system monitor contains three tabs: Process, Resources, and File Systems.

The Processes tab

The system monitor by default opens in this tab. Here you can view all the processes running on your system. The processes tab lists various information process name, User running those processes, CPU, memory, disk usage, etc. If you right-click any process, you will have access to some options such as:

  • View properties
  • View memory maps
  • Open file
  • Change priority
  • Stop a Process
  • Resume a process
  • Terminate a process
  • Kill a Process

The Processes tab

The Resources Tab

In the system monitor’s Resources tab, you can see various system statistics that help you to monitor the performance of your system. The resources tab gives an analytical view displaying the following information.

  • CPU history
  • Memory and swap history
  • Network history

The Resources Tab

This tab is quite useful in tracking your system’s output however on this tab you can’t customize much other than the graph color.

The File Systems Tab

This tab lists information about your system’s hard disk devices. The File Systems tab displays following information:

  • Device Name
  • Directory
  • Type
  • Total Size
  • Available Memory
  • Used Memory

The File Systems Tab
That is all there is to it! In this article, we have learned how to install and use Gnome System Monitor and Task Manager in the Debian machine. It gives you a complete package by allowing you to monitor and manage processes, resources, and file system information.