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I just ran the top command to observe the following process

chown -r me:me allMyMusic

And it's been running for about 5 minutes, however the TIME+ column in the top command has reported it as running for about 0:12.10 seconds. It's also incrementing quite slowly.

Has anyone experienced the TIME+ column of the top command incorrectly report the time elapsed?

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The column displays CPU time spent per process rather than real time. I can't see if this is specified in the man page but here is some copy-pastage from about.com:

"TIME Total CPU time the task has used since it started. If cumulative mode is on, this also includes the CPU time used by the process's children which have died. You can set cumulative mode with the S command line option or toggle it with the interactive command S. The header line will then be changed to CTIME. "

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Ah, i'm on Mac hence my man page was different. As Khaled posted, the man page on Linux describes this as above. –  Breadbin Jan 10 '12 at 10:12
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The manual describes the TIME column as:

TIME
  Total CPU time the task has used since it started. If cumulative mode is on, this also
  includes the CPU time used by the process's children which have died. You can set 
  cumulative mode with the S command line option or toggle it with the interactive
  command S. The header line will then be changed to CTIME. 
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