If you are a big fan of the gadgets sidebar in Windows 7 and would like to know where you can get your hands on some very decent stuff, you’re in the right place. One of the biggest problems people have had was the lack of an ability to track system health individually without using the task manager or some cheesy CPU meter gadget. If you’re one of those people, I’m about to show you a few desktop gadgets that might make you want to reconsider doing away with the sidebar.
Sometimes, you want to know whether your hard drive, network, or GPU are being overused without having to deal with a ton of third-party applications that simply take up screen space. With the sidebar, you get control over the information you want while saving that screen space. Let’s have a look!
1. The Giant CPU Meter
You don’t know if your CPU is truly being abused by an application if you’re not sure whether it’s using an entire core of your CPU. With multi-core CPUs, applications rarely use 100 percent of your CPU power, but they could use 100 percent of one core. Figure out whether one of your cores is taking abuse with a multi-core CPU meter like the “All CPU Meter.”
With All CPU Meter, you get your BIOS information and other stuff like motherboard model, CPU temperature, CPU usage per core, RAM usage, free RAM count, and total RAM quantity. The information is more than enough to diagnose issues that happen with your hardware-software interactions.
2. Network Meter
Your computer isn’t complete without a way to monitor your network easily and track the connection you have. If you have a laptop and use free WiFi hotspots, this will be a godsend. The gadget will tell you the speed of the network you connected to, test that speed, show you how much signal you have, track your input/output, show you your IP, and even determine whether the network is secure or not. If you’re on a metered connection, it will show you how much bandwidth you have left until you reach the limit!
3. GPU Meter
Oh, how I hate downloading applications just to see how my GPU is doing. This is absolutely horrible! I’m also wondering why the Task Manager has never included this. Knowing how your GPU is performing can help you tweak issues in games and overclocking experiments. Well, a gadget now exists that can show you all this and give you information like temperature, shader clock, and fan speed.
4. Battery Meter
Yeah, you have a battery meter on the bottom right corner of your taskbar. It’s nice and pretty, but does it tell you how much current the battery is getting while it’s charging? With the battery meter gadget you can tell how much charge is actually going into your battery and even tell how much juice it’s got left. I’m not talking about that useless percentage value Windows puts to the battery level. I’m talking about the milliamp hours (mAh) you have left on the battery itself. This gives you a much much more accurate depiction of what’s going on. Added to this, you can also tell if Windows is giving you false alarms with its battery level warnings by seeing if you still have juice left by the time the computer shuts down.
5. Drive Meter
The drive meter gadget shows you every tiny bit of information about your drives that you could possibly imagine. It doesn’t just display hard drive information. You get to see how your flash drives and DVD/Blu-Ray drives are doing, too. And don’t think this is just a drive space gadget, either. It shows you all your drive activity, just so you know how fast you’re transferring data. Of course, Windows 8 will have this integrated into the taskbar. For the meantime, you can download the drive meter here.
Got More Gadgets?
I’d like to see what other gadgets you have that could be useful. Leave a comment below to discuss about these gadgets and some new ones you’ve also found. Let’s hear from you!