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Being a Windows convert, I am looking for Task Manager equivalent for OS X.

Please do not recommend Activity Monitor, since it misses two important features of Task Manager:

  • per process disk i/o (read, write, other)
  • simple process description (like what is this 'mds' process? where does it live?)

Any suggestions?

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4 Answers 4

atMonitor is a more advanced Activity Monitor. It definitely fulfils the second of your requirements, in that it provides quite a lot of information about each process.

As for per-process IO, the only way I know is the command line tool 'iotop' which comes with the Mac. Open Terminal.app in an administrator account and type:

sudo iotop

There may be some debugging output as the program runs, but it should show the information you want.

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in terminal type

man ps
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There's also a handy widget for your dashboard called iStat Pro. It's not the same as a task manager application but it does allow you to quickly and easily see your most interesting running processes (and a number of other useful stats about your Mac)

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I provided an answer to a similar question on Stack Overflow, and I find that using htop—a tool commonly used in the Linux world—is far better & clearer than the standard tools Mac OS X uses. My fave use is to hit the T key while it is running to view processes in tree view (see screenshot). Shows you what processes are co-dependent on other processes.

enter image description here

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