I’m sure at some point or another we’ve all noticed our system slowing down due to a “runaway” application using up all your CPU or memory. Then we go scrolling through the task manager to find and kill whatever that application may be, and then continue on our merry way. If you’ve found yourself in a situation like that then you may want to take a peek at SystemMonitor.
This free Windows utility lets you display a skinnable vertical, horizontal, or box layout (as seen above) of your system’s resources. It can show you dozens of different metrics from your system including CPU speed, CPU/GPU temperatures (if supported), fan RPM, memory usage, hard drive performance/usage, network usage, processes, threads, handles, and more.
Those stats may be useful, but my favorite thing is that SystemMonitor will actually highlight in red anything that may be causing a bottleneck on your system. In the screenshot above you can see that in this instance the hard drive was the bottleneck, and that it was being triggered by an Internet Explorer process. I was able to intentionally trigger this by initiating the playback of a YouTube video that uses Flash… so in my case this bottleneck didn’t live very long (about 2-seconds), but this can definitely an effective way to see where the limitations lie on my system.
There are also two ways for you to play around with this: through the standard installer or through a portable version. Given that this has a portable version available I’d say it’s definitely worth keeping around even if you don’t plan on running it 24×7.
SystemMonitor Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)