Check Windows 7 Performance with Open Hardware Monitor

January 19, 2011, By Christian Cawley

While there are various ways in which you can check your Windows 7 PC’s performance with Task Manager and the CPU gadget, these are relatively basic options that only deliver part of the true picture about what is going on inside your PC.

Almost all motherboards include hardware monitoring chips that are designed to detect temperature, load, voltage and more – but sadly there is not easily accessible native way to collect this information in Windows 7.

This omission has opened the way for independent developers to fill the gap, and one such solution is Open Hardware Monitor, a free tool that can be used to display a range of important information concerning the internal performance of your PC.

Open Hardware Monitor for Windows 7

Download and Install Open Hardware Monitor

A free copy of this open source application (which is also available for Linux users) is available from openhardwaremonitor.org. Once the 279kB file has been downloaded, you will need to extract the contents. Open Hardware Monitor can be run via the OpenHardwareMonitor.exe file; in Windows 7 you will need to permit User Access Control to run the executable.

Once running, Open Hardware Monitor displays a range of useful information. For instance it will display the speed of your processor as well as the core temperature.

There is no better cure than prevention, so installing and using this utility in conjunction with any other monitoring or even benchmarking tools you might have is a good way to really get to know your PC and how it reacts to certain situations.

System Requirements

Not all motherboards and processors are suitable for running Open Hardware Monitor. If you don’t have Intel Core 2, Core i3/i5/i7 or AMD K8 (0Fh family), K10 (10h family) CPUs, then you will be unable to view information about your CPU temperature, for instance.

Information available from Open Hardware Monitor includes internal temperatures, fan speeds, CPU clock speeds, load and temperatures, graphics card clock speed, temperature and fan and hard disk drive temperature.

However you shouldn’t feel restricted to viewing these details via the utility window – you can keep tabs on any or all information via a desktop gadget.

The Open Hardware Monitor Desktop Gadget

It makes sense that Open Hardware Monitor should feature a desktop gadget, and this can be accessed via the View menu – simply select Show Gadget.

Doing this will great an empty gadget which you will need to “load up” with sensor information, which you can do by finding a sensor in the main Open Hardware Monitor window, right-clicking it and selecting Show in Gadget.

If you prefer to forego the gadget in favour of displaying the information in the Windows system tray, then use the Show in Tray option instead.

A particularly good use for this might be to display CPU and GPU clock cycles in the system tray when engaging in graphic-intensive work, for instance.

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