CPUMon is a lightweight performance gadget

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CPUMon is a simple desktop gadget which can plot CPU usage and display free and used RAM in real time.

You can do this already — and a lot more — in the Windows 10 Task Manager, of course (check the Performance tab), but that’s a bulky dialog which grabs more screen real estate than you might want to spare.

One highlight of CPUMon is the effort it makes to stay out of your way. It plots a real-time graph of CPU usage (overall or by individual cores), displays the current value as a percentage and shows you free RAM, yet does all this in a tiny transparent window which stays on top of other applications by default.

Even small windows can be annoying if they cover a key interface element of another app, like a button, but that doesn’t apply here because CPUMon passes on your clicks to the application underneath. If there happens to be a button under the graph, click and it’ll work as usual.

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Transparency brings its own problems, particularly with the visibility of the graph. It might disappear almost entirely, depending on the colors underneath.

Fortunately, CPUMon offers many visual tweaks and settings. You can change colors, line thickness or alpha-blending, adjust the graph size, automatically open the graph in a “safe” position (the centre of the screen or one of the corners), even lock it in position so it can’t be moved.

If even this doesn’t work you can switch to Tray Mode. CPUMon then displays an icon in your system tray, gives you basic CPU and RAM use figures in a tooltip, but enables toggling graph display on and off with a hotkey.

What you don’t get here is any form of logging, or means of acting on a particular figure (“display an alert if CPU usage > x”). A commercial Pro build gives you more stats on your system, but still isn’t a great choice for detailed analysis of the figures.

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CPUMon is a likeable tool overall, though, lightweight and easy to use. If you’re looking for something which takes less screen real estate than Task Manager or Resource Monitor then it’s worth a try.

CPUMon runs on anything from Windows 98 up.

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