Xfce: Gnome System Monitor

If you’re like me and you’ve mostly been experienced with using the Gnome System Monitor to look at the status of your machine and running applications, you’ll find it missing if you decide to change over to a different desktop environment such as Xfce.

I just recently installed the Xfce version of Linux Mint on one of my PCs, and the first thing I always do is set CTRL+Alt+Delete to open System Monitor. Searching for System Monitor in the menu gave no results, so I searched online for xfce system monitor. The only pertinent result that I found was of someone explaining to install Gnome System Monitor in Xubuntu using CLI. I’m assuming Xubuntu’s repositories have Gnome System Monitor in them to give you a result when searching in the Software Center, so you can install it just as easily through the software application with a UI rather than worrying with CLI, but I personally only installed it from the Software Manager in Linux Mint. I also wanted to know if there was any default application for monitoring running processes, and luckily the same post mentioned Xfce Task Manager.

As the post suggested, Gnome System Monitor is a more appealing application than Xfce Task Manager, but I actually like the simplicity of Xfce Task Manager as well. I also like the fact that it shows you the load on the CPU and memory above the list of running processes, rather than requiring you to switch between tabs to view the two separately as in Gnome System Monitor. Either way, I still installed Gnome System Monitor, but I decided to map keyboard shortcuts to both.

You can map keyboard shortcuts in Xfce by opening All Settings from the corner shortcut icon of the main menu and scrolling down to Keyboard under the Hardware category. It’s pretty straightforward. You’ll a tab titled Application Shortcuts. Just click the Add button at the bottom of the pane listing current shorcuts.

I personally chose to make Xfce Task Manager the common CTRL+Alt+Delete shortcut, and then made Gnome System Monitor CTRL+Shift+Alt+Delete. The commands for running the two applications are xfce4-taskmanager and gnome-system-monitor. You’ll be prompted that CTRL+Alt+Delete is already set for the command to lock the screen. Just click the button that says to map it to whichever monitoring application you want it to run, if you don’t want to use a different shortcut altogether.

Another plus I’ll give to Xfce Task Manager is that it defaults to create a minimized icon on the panel next to the clock that you can click on to relaunch the application in a window or hover over to view current loads on the CPU and memory. This can be disabled in the Preference settings of the application, and if you run it using the keyboard shortcut again while it is already minimized in the panel, it will actually launch a second instance (including an additional minimized icon in the panel). Not a huge deal, but a slight annoyance.