Computer processors can get damaged or crash when they get overheated (e.g in a stress test). The following free tools allow you to avoid this problem by monitoring the CPU temperature in your Windows PC or laptop.
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Core Temp is a lightweight, easy-to-use temperature monitor for Windows computers. It works with most processors and displays the temperature for each individual core. You can also view other basic system information such as the processor model, platform, and frequency.
The application displays the temperature in real time and does not use a lot of resources. You can leave it running in the background without slowing down your other programs.
Note: You might need to click on ‘show hidden icons’ in the task bar to see the temperature for each core.
Besides the basic Core Temp program, users can install add-ons to increase its functionality. For example, there are several add-ons that allow you to remotely monitor the CPU temperature from another device.
The developer of Core Temp also released mobile versions of the application for Android and Windows Phone devices.
Speed Fan offers convenient CPU temperature monitoring and several other useful features. Besides the CPU temperature, the program also displays the temperature of the system, graphics card, and individual cores in a multi-core processor.
It works on all versions of Windows from Windows 95 to Windows 10. Speed Fan also supports both x86 and 64-bit processors.
With this application, you can view and control fan speeds for compatible processors and motherboards. You can reduce the speed of the fans until you no longer hear extra noise. When the program detects high CPU temperatures, it automatically raises the speed to 100%.
Advanced users will also find a variety of features and data for monitoring their systems, including access to SMART hard drive info and hard drive temperatures.
HWMonitor is a detailed hardware monitoring program from the developers of the popular CPU-Z freeware software. It works with both 32-bit and 64-bit processors and receives frequent updates for continued support with the latest CPUs.
Users can download an installable version of HWMonitor or a non-installable version in a ZIP folder. The installable version adds HWMonitor to the start menu while the ZIP folder allows you to run the program without installing.
The program reads the various health sensors inside your system. You can view the temperatures of the CPU, hard drives, motherboard, and graphics card. You can also monitor the voltage, fan speeds, and SMART info.
There are two modes for monitoring the CPU’s health. You can either choose the summary-only mode or opt for sensors-only.
The sensors-only mode gives you a long list of details that tell you about the system’s health. While all the information mentioned in this monitor is useful, the mode is not ideal for use during gaming. In such scenarios, you can use the summary-only mode.
Overall, HWMonitor is one of the most reliable, lightweight temperature monitors for Windows PCs.
Real Temp provides a streamlined view of the CPU temperature, including the temperature for each individual core. However, it only supports Intel Core-based processors. It will not work with AMD processors or Pentium 4 processors.
If you have an Intel Core processor, you can install this program on a Windows PC running Windows 2000 to Windows 10. It also works on both 32-bit and 64-bit processors.
Real Temp includes a few features for improved temperature monitoring. It logs the minimum and maximum CPU temperatures, uses test sensors, and includes a high-temperature alarm and shutdown feature.
While Real Temp does not display additional system info, it offers a simple method for viewing the CPU and GPU temperatures.
AIDA64 Extreme is a comprehensive hardware detection engine designed for power users. People who like to overclock their computers may enjoy the advanced diagnostic functions of this program.
Users can download and install a free 30-day trial of AIDA64 Extreme. However, the full version is a paid program. While this is not a free program, it provides the greatest range of features for monitoring your system.
You can view the temperature of each component along with the memory read, write, and copy speeds. The program also displays detailed information for running applications, helping power users determine the best settings for overclocking.
AIDA64 Extreme is compatible with all modern 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, including Windows 10.
Open Hardware Monitor provides a simple interface for monitoring temperature sensors, voltages, fan speeds, and the clock speeds of your computer. It also displays SMART hard drive info.
This program is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows PCs, including all versions from XP to Windows 10. You can also install it on x86-based Linux operating systems.
One of the benefits of this program is that it works with both Intel and AMD processors. It also supports ATI and Nvidia graphics cards.
Open Hardware Monitor is an open source project, which means that other developers can use the source code for their own projects. It also does not require installation. You simply download the ZIP folder, extract the files, and run the program with Administrator rights.
CPU Thermometer is a lightweight monitor that works with most Intel and AMD processors. It also supports 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems including Vista, 2008, 7, and 10.
The latest version includes a basic list of the CPU cores and their temperatures along with the total CPU load capacity for each core. You may also choose to display the CPU temperature in the system tray instead of needing to leave the window open.
CPU Thermometer also provides a few basic options. You can set a maximum CPU temperature. When the temperature reaches the max value, you can choose to display a warning message, shut down the computer, or reboot the computer.
Speccy is a free PC monitoring program from the developers of CCleaner. It displays detailed system info related to the CPU, RAM, motherboard, operating system, graphics card, storage disks, and other hardware. You can also view the temperature for key components including the CPU and motherboard.
Speccy can also be used to create detailed reports. You can view the performance of your hardware over a set period. The program is not as lightweight as some of the other options. However, it offers more information about the type of hardware installed in your computer.
Besides the free version of Speccy, the company offers a premium version with customer support and automatic updates. There is also a bundled package that includes Speccy, CCleaner, Recuva, and Defraggler.
Enhanco is a general tweaking tool for Windows. This tool has its history going back to Windows XP but the developer created new versions since then to cover Windows version Vista, 7, 8 and now Windows 10.
The tool can help you with tweaking a multitude of hardware and software components on your computer such as security, disk cleaner, defragment, registry cleaner etc. Among these features, it offers also system monitoring such as CPU temperature, CPU speed frequency, RAM information etc.
Last but not least is HWiNFO. This Freeware app will provide more information about your computer than you will ever need, including ofcourse temperature of your CPU.
It runs on all Windows operating system versions (from Windows 98 up to Windows 10) and supports monitoring of literally hundreds of different hardware components, from CPUs, Graphics cards and Chipsets.
What I like about this software is that you can customize alerts and get notifications on any parameter monitored, plus you can get reports and integration with external and 3rd party add-ons and extensions.
For a freeware app, it is one of the best in our list.
How to Reduce CPU Temperature
There are many ways to fix overheating problems. You can use simple techniques such as dusting the CPU fan, using a more powerful air cooler fan on your CPU or applying new thermal paste.
Since liquid cooling is more effective at transferring heat compared to air, liquid cooling can reduce the CPU temperature by 50-60 °F (10-15°C).
Although not every CPU requires liquid cooling, air cooling can overheat the CPU if it doesn’t match the CPU’s requirements.
For instance, if you are using a 150W air cooler in a CPU that requires 200W, then the CPU will overheat and throttle. Besides liquid cooling, you can use any of the following simpler techniques to lower and maintain normal temperature for CPUs:
- Don’t do overclocking if not necessary.
- Improve airflow inside the case.
- Put your computer in a cold environment.
- Clean your computer regularly to get rid of dirt and dust.
- If you have a defective fan or heatsink, replace it.
- Apply thermal paste on CPU and heat sinks.
- Close unused background programs.
- Buy cooling pads for your laptop.
You cannot go wrong with any of these options. All of these programs are free (or offer free-trial) and easy to use on any Windows PC. Install one of these CPU monitors today to keep an eye on your CPU processor because it’s one component that its health is vital for your computer system.