- should be freeware
- should be portable (no installation needed)
- should be as small as possible
- should have some customisable features
It didn’t take me long to find, use and now recommend SysTrayMeter.
It meets all the criteria set out above – weighing in at a measly 15 KB (That’s right! Fifteen kilobytes.), and occupying only between 1 and 2 MB of RAM while running. It resides in your notification area (sometimes, mistakenly referred to as the system tray) and displays the stats in realtime.
The top half displays CPU usage as a percentage while the bottom hald displays the amount of RAM in MB currently available i.e. unused RAM. Of course, the accompanying INI file can always be modified as per a user’s requirements, allowing the sections displaying CPU usage and RAM availability to be interchanged, or even for only a single stat to be displayed.
The colours can also be modified and can act as a visual aid to show when your RAM might have dropped to a significantly low level or to show very high CPU usage. The thresholds can be adjusted from within the INI file. Details on modifying the INI file are available on the author’s page.
I recommend creating a shortcut to the executable in your “Startup” folder because it’s a fairly usefu icon to have around. Oh, and there are no context menus so don’t expect to find on if you right-click the icon. Double-clicking the icon will make the app exit.
Works well and tested on Windows XP SP3, Vista and Server 2003.