Setting a “Task Manager” keyboard shortcut in GNOME

If you’re much of a Windows user, you’re probably aware that Ctrl-Shift-Esc will quickly open the task manager there, which is a handy thing to be able to access quickly – take care of an out-of-control app, see what’s pulling so much CPU power, etc. On GNOME (for instance, Ubuntu Linux), the System Monitor does the same task, but there’s no equally quick way to open it by default. You can add the system monitoring applet to your panel which will give you one-click access, but if you’re like me, you find yourself reaching for Ctrl-Shift-Esc first anyway.

Without further ado, how to make Ctrl-Shift-Esc do the same thing! (This is on Ubuntu Lucid, but should be pretty similar on most GNOME desktops.)

  1. Open the Keyboard Shortcuts control panel. For me, it’s in System, Preferences. (This is a per-user setting.)
  2. You might want to collapse all the existing groups so you can see where your new item will be added.
  3. Click “Add”, and enter:
    • Name: System Monitor
    • Command: gnome-system-monitorCustom Shortcut Window
  4. Click on the newly-added entry, and press Ctrl-Shift-Esc to record the new shortcut.Keyboard Shortcuts Window
  5. Close the control panel and try it out!

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