Windows 7 gadgets can be a lot more than a pretty interface for your clock or news feed. Several Windows 7 gadgets exist solely as monitoring tools that show constantly updated data about your system resources like CPU, memory, hard drive and network usage.
Below are the best free Windows 7 gadgets (they work in Windows Vista too) that can be used to help keep track of system resources:
In a hurry? Take a quick tour of these Windows 7 gadgets to see which ones you like best.
Need Help? See How To Install a Windows Gadget for help getting your gadget installed in Windows 7 or Vista.
Important: Microsoft no longer supports Windows Gadget development so they can focus on native apps for Windows 8. However, all of the gadgets below are still available, do work with both Windows 7 and Windows Vista, and are completely free to download.
The CPU Meter Windows gadget for Windows 7 displays two dials - one that tracks your system's CPU usage and another that tracks physical memory usage, both in percentage format.
This is a pretty basic Windows 7 gadget in that there are no fancy options, but it does what it does well.
If you like to keep track of how much memory and CPU is being used at any given time, give the CPU Meter gadget a try.
The DriveInfo Windows 7 gadget monitors the free space available on one or more of your PC's hard drives. It displays the free space in both GB and percentage. The DriveInfo gadget is very easy to configure and is an especially attractive addition to your other Windows gadgets.
The DriveInfo gadget is available as a free download from Softpedia for your Windows 7 desktop or Windows Vista Sidebar.
If you frequently check the free space available on your hard drives, the DriveInfo gadget will definitely save you some time.
The System Control A1 gadget is a fantastic resource monitor gadget for Windows 7. It tracks CPU load and memory usage.
The System Control A1 gadget is freely available from the gadget developer.
The best thing about the System Control A1 gadget is that it supports up to 8 CPU cores, making it fully compatible with the latest multi-core CPUs. The interface is superb as well which helps balance out the fact that there are absolutely no user options.
The best thing about the Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor gadget for Windows 7 is that it looks cool. You can see available wireless network connections, verify wireless coverage, and lots more in a unique interface.
Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor packs a lot of useful information into a single gadget, maybe too much. For me, the Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor gadget seems a bit "heavy" with the radar display running all the time and the huge Xirrus logo. Still, it's powerful gadget and you might find it really useful.
The Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor gadget is a free download from Xirrus.
The System Monitor gadget for Windows 7 is an excellent multifunction monitor. System Monitor can track CPU usage (up to quad core) and RAM usage but also can display internal and external IP addresses, the current time, battery usage, and even has a wireless network monitor.
System Monitor is very well designed and has numerous options. Nearly every aspect of this gadget is configurable.
I highly recommend that you try the System Monitor Windows 7 gadget.
The margu-NotebookInfo2 Windows gadget has a funny name but it's serious about packing a lot of system monitoring into a single gadget.
With the margu-NotebookInfo2 gadget, you can track system uptime, CPU and RAM use, wireless network strength, battery level, and much more.
margu-NotebookInfo2 is put together very well and should be an excellent addition to any Windows 7 or Windows Vista PC.
The iPhone Battery Windows 7 gadget has to be one of the coolest gadgets around. The battery indicator is an excellent knock-off of the glowing battery level indicator on the iPhone and looks great on a Windows desktop.
With the iPhone Battery gadget, you can also mimic an antique meter, a Duracell® battery, among other cool things.
The iPhone Battery gadget is free from Softpedia and installs on your Windows 7 desktop or Windows Vista Sidebar.
If you're on a laptop or other portable Windows 7 device, the iPhone Battery gadget should definitely help you keep a closer eye on your available power.
The Network Meter Windows 7 gadget provides all kinds of useful information about your wired or wireless network connection like current internal and external IP address, current upload and download speed, total bandwidth usage, SSID, signal quality, and more.
There are several useful configurations available with Network Meter including background color, bandwidth scaling, network interface card selection, and more.
The Network Meter gadget is a free download from AddGadget and installs on your Windows 7 desktop or Windows Vista Sidebar.
If you're troubleshooting a local network issue or are always checking your external IP, the Network Meter gadget could be very useful.
The All CPU Meter gadget keeps track of CPU usage and your used and available memory. What makes ALL CPU Meter stand out from the crowd is its support for as many as eight CPU cores!
There are only a few options but background color is one of them. That might seem like a small advantage, but if you're a regular user of Windows 7 gadgets, you know that making it fit with your desktop scheme is an important factor.
I also like the quick 1 second update time and well designed graph in All CPU Meter.
The All CPU Meter gadget is available for free from AddGadget for your Windows 7 desktop or Windows Vista Sidebar.
10. Memeter Gadget
The Memeter Windows 7 gadget monitors all sorts of things about your CPU, RAM, and battery life. It's a great gadget to use to keep track of the major hardware resources currently being used by Windows.
The Memeter gadget is also freely available from Softpedia.
If your memory, CPU, or battery usage is something you need (or like) to watch, the Memeter gadget will really come in handy.