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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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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 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

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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to see the Time that a process has taken so far use (as root)

    ps aux |grep (processName) 

at least on linux should be similar on Mac, but this will show you the start time and the following grep process will give you the current time although you could run 'date' command

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Showing the process start time is not quite as good as showing the elapsed wallclock time, but it might be the best you'll get. –  Michael Hampton Sep 3 '14 at 23:11

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