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I believe I have read some time ago how you can make top stop sorting the tasks so that they stay in the same line (easier to read) but still get updates for their values (in contrast to simply stopping the screen refresh by pressing e.g. k or r).

Now I tried to find this info in both the online help and the man page but couldn't find anything like that. Of course, it's possible that I have just dreamt reading something like this.

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Is using an alternative out of the question? Perhaps htop? – slm Mar 3 '14 at 21:50

You can just sort by anything that doesn't change that much, like the process ID ( Fa)

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But that (probably) collects the wrong tasks in the window (I have two windows thus the space is limited). – Hauke Laging Mar 2 '14 at 16:10
The other thing I use 'e' for user name, but that only works if there are a limited number of process for the username and that it is at the extremety of the sorting spectrum (ie. starting with 'a' or with 'z') – Anthon Mar 2 '14 at 16:24

Did you try one shot top with

top  -n 1
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"but still get updates for their values"... – glglgl Apr 2 '14 at 5:47

I don't think there's a simple feature like that since intentionally you have to sort the process list somehow - I think by default it's the cpu load - otherwise it would be just a random pick. What you are might looking for is the p (PID monitoring) flag that lets you select the set of processes you're interested in. But even they will be sorted by one or another category.

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