Add a system monitor to the Windows desktop


Back in the days of Windows 7, we had desktop gadgets. These were mini applications that had floating windows on the desktop, and they provided useful information or tools. Microsoft abandoned gadgets with Windows 8 and I was disappointed to lose some useful tools. However, now I have found a replacement for a couple of gadgets I had.

Wise System Monitor is a free utility that displays information in a floating window on the desktop. This is a small borderless bar that shows several indicators. The first is the download speed, the second is the upload speed, the third is the memory, then finally the CPU usage and CPU temperature.

The mini window can be placed anywhere and it can be dragged and dropped at the bottom, the top or anywhere else. I found it best at the top of the screen in the middle.

Each of the items is clickable and clicking the temperature displays a bar that shows how hot the CPU is. The colour changes and green is OK, but other colours are shown when the temperature rises. Some people get to see the hard drive and graphics card temperatures too, but I only see the CPU temperature.

The CPU shows a list of programs that are using the most processing power. This makes it easy to see if a rogue app is hogging the CPU and slowing down everything else. There is a nice scrolling history chart – a mini one in the floating bar and a larger one when it is clicked.

 Wise System Monitor for Windows

RAM is displayed as the percentage used in the floating bar, but click it and a list of the apps using the most memory is displayed. A coloured chart at the bottom shows the free and used memory.

The upload and download speed indicators were a disappointment because they would not work on my computer. They just showed zero up and down and no apps list.

 Wise System Monitor for Windows

There is a screen shot showing this working on the website, so I guess it is just my PC. This is a shame, because it is important information. I really find it useful to be able to see upload and download activity. You can see how fast big files are downloading, or why a website is slow (other things downloading in the background), and so on. The network indicators must work on some PCs, so try it and see.

The floating window can be right clicked to access a short menu. Check Details opens a large window with three tabs. The first is Process Monitor and this is like an alternative version of Task Manager. Clicking the headings enables you to sort the processes by CPU, memory and network activity, so you can see which ones are hogging the resources.

The Hardware Monitor tab provides detailed information about the hardware in the PC, such as processor, mainboard, memory, graphics card. There is a lot of detailed information here and it is useful to know. The Operating System tab is less useful and it just shows a few details about Windows.

If the network monitoring worked, this would be an excellent utility. It is small and takes up little memory and processor time. It automatically loads with Windows too. Try Wise System Monitor, if it works on your PC you will find it very useful. On mine, it only partially works. Hopefully the next update will fix the bugs.

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