If you want a reliable box, you need to monitor your critical hardware. Here is how to keep an eye on your hard disk, processor, and fans.
First, a caveat: I do not use Windows myself, so what follows is a list of software I have investigated or installed for Windows-using clients who don’t always give me feedback.
Job one is to identify your hard disk and processor and determine what their minimum, maximum, and recommended operating temperatures are. I cover this subject in a separate article.
The following is by no means an exhaustive list of all that is available, but only what I’ve found so far.
Unknown license. Monitors processor temperature, frequency, and load, and RAM usage. Appears in system tray. Gadget and other add-ons available. Under active development. Easy to set up and occupying little space, it’s my choice for Windows.
Open source. Monitors processor, hard drive, and network use, and more. Can access data collected by SpeedFan to also display temperatures, voltages, fan speeds, and more. Can perform actions upon alarm conditions such as overheating. Many plug-ins and themes available. Appears on desktop; can be set to appear above other windows. Multiplatform and what I use on Linux.
Open source. Monitors SMART data. Multiplatform and what I use on Linux.
Unknown license. Monitors voltages, temperatures, fan speeds, SMART data, and video card GPU temperature. Under active development. Appears in an application window.
Unknown license. Monitors voltages, fan speeds and temperatures, SMART data, and hard disk temperatures. Optionally adjusts fan speeds and voltages, making it potentially dangerous. Appears in system tray. Could run as user on Vista and earlier, but current version requires administrative privileges, making it troublesome to set up as a monitor for average users, who should neither run in administrative accounts nor have access to potentially dangerous tools. Under active development.