Inspector Gadgets: Windows 7 Gadgets for Monitoring Your PC

It’s been nearly two years since Windows 7 was released, and yet there are still some features that Windows 7 users may not be taking full advantage of — such as desktop gadgets. Similar to the Mac’s Dashboard Widgets, Windows desktop gadgets are mini-applications that reside on your desktop and can display live data, perform simple functions like search or password generation, or give you a sneak peek inside the inner workings of your PC.


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The center of attention, however, is its temperature readings: Core Temp shows how hot it is inside your processor in surprising detail. The gadget displayed not only the temperature in each of my processor’s four cores, but graphed them in a line plot. It’s excellent information for trying to troubleshoot an intermittent overheating problem.

On top of adjusting the size of the gadget, you can change what information to show, the colors to use and how the graphs are set up. The gadget works with recent AMD and Intel processors, although some Phenom and Phenom II chips have a single temperature sensor and provide only one reading for the entire chip.

In the event that your system does start to overheat, Core Temp has your back. It will display “(!)” next to the temperature reading, open a pop-up warning and even start shutting the system down if you want it to.

Think of it as free insurance for your computer.

Download Core Temp Gadget (389KB)

Process watch

Top Process Monitor

Inside a PC there are thousands of individual software processes running, including those that interact with your computer’s CPU, RAM and hard drive. The fabric of a working computer is the sum of these processes.

Top Process Monitor gadget

Use Top Process Monitor to keep an eye on software processes that are using lots of system resources.

The Top Process Monitor gadget acts as your PC’s greatest hits chart, showing which processes are using your computer’s resources the most. It can show the top processes for various operations including CPU use, memory use, virtual memory use, input-output operations and drive reads and writes.

You can also choose to view any individual process along with its usage data, or have the gadget cycle through any group of them. It’s the ultimate snoop to see what’s going on inside your computer.

On top of letting you adjust the size of the gadget, Version 2.5 of Top Process Monitor lets you choose which type of operations to display and customize the number of individual processes to show (up to 20) and the colors used.

A nice touch is that Top Process Monitor lets you set a threshold for the amount of system resources any process uses. If it’s exceeded, the software gives you a warning. It’s a great help if, for example, a sloppy program is using too much virtual memory.

Download Top Process Monitor (139KB)

Connection info

Network Meter

Having connectivity problems? The Network Meter gadget can help you keep an eye on your connections.

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