inside the mind of a linux admin

Change a processes’ priority with renice

You can change the default priority that an application runs with by starting it with the nice command, but if you want to change the priority of a process that is already running, the command to use is renice.

Renice can be used to change the priority of a single process, or of all the processes owned by a specified user. As with the nice command, the priority values range from -20 to +19 and negative numbers raise the priority of a task while positive numbers lower it. Yes, that seems a little backwards, but the higher the priority the less resources are devoted to it. Only the superuser can specify negative numbers (thus raising the priority of a process).

renice 5 some_process

This command will change the priority of some_process to 5.

renice -5 -u erik

will change the priority of all processes owned by user erik to -5.

renice -5 -u erik -p 699

will chance the priority of all processes owned by erik and process with PID 699 to -5.

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