I want to monitor only a process and its children processes on htop. Filtering on the name of the parent process lists only the parent process, not its children. How do I show the children processes too?


3 Answers 3


Under Linux, you can do:

htop -p `pstree -p $PID | perl -ne 'push @t, /\((\d+)\)/g; END { print join ",", @t }'`

where $PID is the root process. This works as follows:

  1. The list of the wanted processes are obtained with pstree, using the -p option to list them with their PID.
  2. The output is piped to a Perl script that retrieves the PID's, using a regular expression (here, \((\d+)\)), and outputs them separated with commas.
  3. This list is provided as an argument of htop -p.

For other OS like Mac OS, you may need to adapt the regular expression that retrieves the PIDs.

Note: It is unfortunately not possible to update the list with new children that are spawn later, because once htop has been executed, one cannot do anything else. This is a limitation of htop (current version: 2.0.2).

  • $PID can be the name of the process, or it has to be the id?
    – becko
    Feb 7, 2015 at 18:23
  • @becko $PID has to be the pid, but you can get the id from the name of the process with pgrep.
    – vinc17
    Feb 7, 2015 at 18:25
  • 6
    this will not update when new children are spawned though... would love to use sth like it for monitoring only stuff in my tmux session Sep 18, 2015 at 10:06
  • @black_puppydog me too!
    – becko
    Apr 4, 2016 at 20:33
  • On macOS with pstree from homebrew: htop -p `pstree -p $PID | perl -ne 'push @t, /--- (\d+) /g; END { print join ",", @t }'`
    – jpsim
    Jul 27, 2017 at 19:12
htop -p $(ps -ef | awk -v proc=15305 '$3 == proc { cnt++;if (cnt == 1) { printf "%s",$2 } else { printf ",%s",$2 } }')

Use awk to create a comma separated list of process id's from the output of ps -ef passing the parent process id as proc and then passing this out to htop -p.

htop -p $(ps -ef | awk -v proc=$PID 'BEGIN{pids[proc]=1;printf "%s",proc} {if(pids[$3]==1){printf ",%s",$2; pids[$2]=1}}')

Where $PID is the root process id.

Use awk to create a comma separated list of the specified process and its descendant processes and pass the output to htop -p.

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