Keeping your CPU temperature in check is one of the foundations of looking after your computer. A hot CPU can result in throttling, which can impact the clock speeds of your CPU and therefore slow it down. It can also cause BSoD crashes and your CPU to deteriorate quicker, giving it a shorter lifespan than it deserves.
To help you check your CPU temperature in Windows 10 and 11, this tutorial shows you the best tools to monitor it.
- But First – What's a "Bad Temperature"?
- How to Check CPU Temperature in Windows
- 1. Using Ryzen Master (AMD Ryzen CPUs only)
- 2. Using Throttlestop
- 3. Using HWMonitor
- 4. Using Open Hardware Monitor
- 5. Using Core Temp
- 6. Using Speccy
- 7. Using SpeedFan
- 8. Using HWinFO
- 9. Using MSI Afterburner
- 10. Using AIDA64 Extreme
- Frequently Asked Questions
But First – What’s a “Bad Temperature”?
Unfortunately, it’s not immediately obvious what a good or bad temperature for a processor is. If you see your processor’s idle temperature is 30°C (86°F), is that a good or bad idle temperature? What about 40°C (104°F), 50°C (122°F), 60°C (140°F), or 70°C (158°F)?
Let’s grab a quick summary of your CPU data by looking for “Device Specifications” under “Setting -> System -> About.” Take note of your processor name and details including the GHz frequency.
If you want to know what your processor’s max temperature is, search the Web for the product page of your specific CPU, then find where it lists the max ideal temperature for your processor. If the temperature is listed under something similar to “Maximum Operating Temperature” or “T Case,” then that’s the temperature that you should strive to keep your processor under most of the time.
On the other hand, if it says, “T Junction” (as in the image below), the general advice is to keep things at least 30°C (86°F) under this stated temperature. (In this example, we are striving to stay under 70°C / 158°F.) Either way, if your PC is under this temperature for most (or, ideally, all!) of the time, you’re doing fine.
How to Check CPU Temperature in Windows
Now that we know what the temperature limit is, it’s time to find out how to check CPU temperature in Windows. This requires the aid of third-party programs, to help keep tabs on how hot the processor is getting. Any of the software listed below will allow you to easily check the CPU temperature.
1. Using Ryzen Master (AMD Ryzen CPUs only)
This may only apply to the lucky ones who own a Ryzen CPU, but if you do, then it’s by far the most accurate way to track your CPU temperature, as it uses an AMD proprietary method to read the CPU temperature that other CPU monitoring software doesn’t have access to.
This makes sense, as Ryzen Master is widely used as an overclocking utility, which makes CPU temperature readings all the more critical.
You can download the tool online from the official AMD page. To use it, open the app to see the temperature. It can be compared with the maximum temperature limits supported by your processor.
Tip: want to boost your PC’s performance? Consider getting an eGPU.
2. Using Throttlestop
We’ve discudsed the undervolting tool Throttlestop here at Make Tech Easier. (Check out our undervolting guide.) Briefly, the lightweight tool lets you undervolt your CPU to cool down temperatures and prevent throttling, which in turn allows your CPU to function more effectively.
It’s worth looking into undervolting if you want to cool down your CPU, but as an added bonus, you can also use Throttlestop as a CPU temperature monitor.
You can see each individual core temperature in the main Throttlestop window.
You can also get your CPU temperature to appear in the notification area on your PC. To do this, click “Options” at the bottom of Throttlestop, then in the middle, check the “CPU Temp” box. Now, every time you open Throttlestop, you’ll see a little number in your taskbar notification area showing your CPU temperature at that moment.
3. Using HWMonitor
HWMonitor does much more than just monitor CPU temperatures. On one screen, you’ll find all the information you need and much more.
- After installation, run the app as an administrator.
- In the main HWMonitor pane, scroll down to see your CPU listed with all its information.
You’ll see the voltage of each core, the amount of CPU being utilized, and – most importantly – the temperature of each core. It displays the current temperature as well as the minimum and maximum temperatures.
There’s not a ton to dig into here, as everything is displayed on that one screen. You can switch on a dark mode for those nocturnal monitoring sessions, switch on a status bar, and quickly save a log of your monitoring data with the Ctrl + S shortcut.
4. Using Open Hardware Monitor
Open Hardware Monitor is a nice solution for getting all of your needed statistics in one place. This includes your CPU’s temperatures as well as your GPU’s temperature, the voltages being used in your computer, and even how fast your system fans are going. This makes it a robust tool that allows you to keep an eye on all of your system temperatures.
You can find your CPU’s temperature under the category with your CPU’s name in it. It will list the temperature for each core your processor has.
Many of these temperature monitors allow you to put readings on your taskbar. This is particularly useful if you’re doing system-intensive tasks and want to keep an eye on your temperatures without darting back and forth between the active window and the system monitor.
If you’d like to see the CPU temperature in the taskbar, right-click the temperature itself and click “Show in Tray.”
If the reading ends up hiding in the “additional” icons section, you can drag it onto the main active tray so that it will always be visible as long as you can see the taskbar.
PC slower than usual? Learn how to fix “Windows Modules Installer Worker” high CPU usage with our handy tutorial.
5. Using Core Temp
If you’d like something a little more focused on the processor itself, Core Temp is a good choice when you need to check the CPU temperature in Windows.
Once installed, you can run the app to find everything you want to know about your processor, such as its name, the cores it uses, and its temperature.
It will even inform you of your processor’s T Junction limit, listed as “Tj. Max” above your temperatures. If you’d like to see the temperature in the system tray, it should be enabled by default. If it’s not, click “Options -> Settings.”
Click the “Windows Taskbar” tab, then “Enable Windows 7 Taskbar features -> Temperature -> OK.”
6. Using Speccy
Another all-in-one suite, Speccy, is a nice package of various systems diagnostics, including the ability to check CPU temperature in Windows.
As soon as you open Speccy, you’re shown all of the relevant temperatures you need to know for a healthy laptop. It’s also great for digging up information on your system, so make sure you remember this application, should you need information about your operating system or motherboard, for instance.
If you click on “CPU” on the left, you can get more focused information on your processor.
If you’d like the temperature to appear in the tray, click “View -> Options.”
Click “System tray -> Minimize to tray -> Display metrics in tray,” then select “CPU.”
Now when you minimize Speccy, you can keep tabs on how hot your CPU is running as you do other things.
Need to access Device Manager quickly? There are several methods to do so.
7. Using SpeedFan
This tool is a hardware monitoring software that can change fan speeds according to system temperatures. SpeedFan can read temperature values from your hard disks using your PC’S built-in temperature sensors.
This Intel-recommended system tool is available as a free trialware for 30 days. It supports older operating systems and CPUs as well as the latest versions. There are very few components to install. Always opt for the latest software version.
Once you launch the main SpeedFan screen, you will get a quick glance at all readings, including the hard disk temperature and CPU core temperatures, Core 0, Core 1, and so forth.
If you’re unable to view the temperature values, head to the “Charts” tab and check the labels for various temperature values. After you do this, the temperature readings are immediately visible in the “Readings” tab.
Click the “Configure” menu in the “Readings” tab. This will lead to a pop-up window where you can control the “desired” and “warning” limits for various temperature values. Apart from CPU temperature, you can configure fan speeds, voltage, and other actions on the motherboard.
8. Using HWinFO
HWinFO is one of the most comprehensive free Windows diagnostics software. It supports a complete range of Intel processors, from Xeon/Atom to Core i9 as well as most AMD processors except the latest Ryzen family. HWinFO offers amazing graphic visualization features to alert you when your computer is heating up unexpectedly.
While there is a Pro and a portable version of HWinFO, you get plenty of valuable information from the free download installer.
After launching the dashboard, navigate to the “Sensors” tab. The software will display a warning message, as it uses an embedded controller (EC) sensor on your motherboard. It is safe to disable this warning as you temporarily experience a little bit of latency and delay in performance.
Check the temperature values for the various CPU cores under the “Sensors” status readings.
With a right-click, you can add these temperature values to the system tray. If you want to monitor your CPU’s temperature rise over time, click “Show Graph.” A graph to monitor CPU heat levels will pop up. Any unexpected temperature rise (during a heavy game or application) will trigger spikes.
9. Using MSI Afterburner
Designed with gamers in mind, and for those who want to overclock their PCs, MSI Afterburner doubles as an excellent tool to monitor your PC temperatures. Note that MSI Afterburner doesn’t play nice with all CPUs and is known not to show temperatures for AMD CPUs in particular.
Once you’ve installed and opened Afterburner, you should see a graph on its home screen showing your GPU temperature, CPU temperature, and various other data.
If you don’t see the temperature as an option, then your CPU might not be supported, but there is still hope! Open the app’s properties from a Settings icon. Under the “Monitoring” tab, click the three-dotted menu icon below.
You’ll see a list of plugins and can link MSI Afterburner to another tool that monitors CPU temperatures or check the “CPU.dll” option to pull in CPU temperatures.
To reorder the graphs and prioritize CPU temperature so that it appears near the top, click “Settings” in Afterburner, then the “Monitoring” tab. You’ll see a menu where you can tick which things you want to be displayed on the home screen and drag to the top the things you want to appear near the top.
Drag “CPU1 temperature,” “CPU2 temperature,” and all of the other CPU temperatures near the top of the graph and click “OK.” They’ll appear on the home screen in the order you chose.
When you select the “CPU” temperature, you can also tick the “Show in LCD Display” box so that it appears in the corner whenever you enter the shortcut for bringing up the OSD. (You can choose what key you want this to be by going to the “Profiles” tab in Afterburner’s settings.)
10. Using AIDA64 Extreme
AIDA64 Extreme is another all-inclusive diagnostics software with a special focus on CPU temperature values. There is a trial and evaluation version, which is free for 30 days. Apart from Windows, it also supports Ubuntu, iOS, Google Play, and other operating systems.
The AIDA64 Extreme software supports both Intel Core 13000 and AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors. It is one of the best system tools on the market for the latest GPUs, RAM, and SSD level.
Once you’re able to view the AIDA64 Extreme home screen, click “Computer -> Sensor.”
Under “Sensor,” you can view various sensor properties including CPU temperatures, CPU package temperatures, CPU IA Core temperature, and CPU GT Core temperature. But due to the usage of sensors, the CPU temperature rises very quickly. It is not advisable to keep the processor overheated for a very long time.
Want to do more laptop maintenance? Read our guide on how to fix Wmpnetwk.exe high CPU and memory usage in Windows.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does gaming impact CPU temperature?
Gaming is an important variable when it comes to CPU temperature. If you’re playing graphically intensive modern games, then not only will your GPU be under load, but your CPU too.
Again, CPU temperature limits vary greatly, but under heavy gaming load, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to soar into the 80s (176 °F). In most cases, this is perfectly safe (if a little hot on the palms for laptop users), and you only need to start worrying if you’re creeping up into the 90s (194 °F).
How long can a CPU run at high temperatures?
A healthy non-gaming laptop CPU is equipped to handle occasional spikes for several minutes when you’re performing a CPU stress test, playing GPU-intensive heavy games, or hooking your laptop to an external monitor. But prolonged exposure to very high temperatures can lead to thermal throttling, so it is not recommended to run a typical computer in this state for very long.
If you have a non-gaming laptop, try to avoid temperature rises beyond 80°C (176°F) for several hours at a stretch. Gaming laptops can take it up a few notches, but anything continuously over 90°C (194 °F) is not recommended even for these devices. Most gaming laptops have an internal safeguard mechanism to cool the CPU down to more manageable levels. You can operate them in their high 80s for much longer than a non-gaming one. You can also buy an external USB cooling pad to control an unpredictable temperature rise.
Can a CPU overheating damage it?
It is an urban myth that an overheated CPU can get permanently damaged. The CPU would shut itself off before that happens. But continuous high-temperature exposure surely leads to a decline in raw PC performance. That is why gaming laptops may become incredibly slow in just a few years’ time.
Being a vital part of your laptop, an overheating processor is a cause for concern. With third-party apps, however, you can easily check CPU temperature in Windows and ensure your processor is working as cool as it should.
How can I permanenly delete Ryzen Master from my PC?
Ryzen Master is one of those persistent programs that won’t remove itself from your Windows Apps or Control Panel. To uninstall it properly, open the Command Prompt in Administrator mode.
wmic. This creates a command-line environment.
product get name, which will give you a complete list of software and third-party apps installed on your device.
product where name ="AMD Ryzen Master" call uninstall.
- If prompted for a further “Yes” or “No”, enter
Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sayak Boral.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox