The process list window is where you see the list of processes and information for each process.
The Process List Window will look something like this.
The memory column shows a bar chart with the physical memory (the leftmost wide portion of the bar) and the virtual memory currently paged to disk (the rightmost skinny portion) used by a process.
When your system feels bogged down, it's usually either because of a CPU “hog” or a memory “hog.” The cpu% column makes it really easy to find processes using a lot of CPU power, and now the memory column makes it really easy to find processes that use a lot of memory, especially when they use enough to cause virtual memory “thrashing” on your system.
You can sort the list of processes by any column. Some of the more convenient columns to sort by are:
Double-clicking on a process in the process list will attempt to bring it to the front, exactly like choosing Bring to Front from the Manage menu or from the toolbar.
If you start typing the name of a process, that process will be selected.
Peek-a-Boo’s View menu controls which pieces of process information are seen in the process list. There is a handful of options immediately in the View menu, and many items in the Built-In Items and PS Available Items submenus.
The items immediately in the View menu are probably the most common and most useful items.
The items in the Built-In Items submenu are items that Peek-a-Boo can find programmatically. Their names are generally very close to the internal Darwin names for these pieces of information. Those pieces of information whose names are prefixed with “meta_” are pieces of information that may be found in different ways, or that are synthesized from other pieces of information. (For example, meta_name may be found from comm or name (Carbon).)
The PS Available Items submenu deserves some explanation. If you are familiar with unix command-line tools such as top and ps, you will see some functionality similarites to Peek-a-Boo. Indeed, in the days before OS X, the OS 9 (and before) versions of Peek-a-Boo were often referred to as “a top program for Mac OS.”
Peek-a-Boo has the ability to query the ps tool, and display in Peek-a-Boo’s process list the results of ps. This is all determined dynamically by parsing “ps -L” and offering all of ps’s options in the PS Available Items submenu.
The Process List is the launchpad for managing processes, whether from the Manage menu, the process list window’s toolbar, or the contextual menu (control-click or right-click the mouse).
The toolbar also has graphics for illustrating total system CPU usage and physical memory usage. (The barbershop-striped cyan/blue on the left of the memory graph displays “wired” memory, or memory that cannot be paged out. The blue section shows normal “in-use” memory. The barbershop-striped gray/blue section is “inactive” memory, and the gray section on the right of the graph is free memory.) There is also a “VM Thrashing” icon which changes color depending on recent pageouts: green for low, yellow for medium, red for high, and flashing red for severe virtual memory thrashing.