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Have you ever wanted to stress test your PC or server to make sure it handles itself well under heavy usage? The first thing that probably comes to mind are the benchmarks that you’ve run on your PC, but stress testing isn’t exactly the same thing. With benchmarks your goal is to see what kind of performance your computer is able to put out, but stress tests max out resources for a given period of time to make sure they don’t crash and are able to remain reliable even under sustained loads.

HeavyLoad is a great freeware app for stress testing both a personal Windows computer (XP, Vista, Windows 7) and server (Server 2003, Server 2008). With the click of a button you can have it max out your CPU by performing complex calculations, write large test files to use up hard drive space, and allocate physical/virtual memory until it is almost filled.

Again, this isn’t something that will tell you how well your computer performs. Instead it just maxes out your CPU, hard drive space, and memory resources so that you can examine how your machine handles itself in a near worst-case scenario. It’s also a good way to test monitoring tools that you may have in place to notify you if specific CPU, free space, or memory thresholds are hit on a server, which many system administrators probably have running.

HeavyLoad Homepage (Windows only; Freeware; Portable)