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Here’s one of the most elegant ways to keep tabs on your system’s resource utilization without getting in the way while you use your PC or installing anything extra.
Task Manager provides a great overview of your system’s performance, and even offers a condensed summary view, it also blocks you from using Task Manager itself and entails carefully and constantly resizing the view. If you want to keep it visible at all times, well good luck: it’s going to obscure part of your screen at all times. And minimizing it to the taskbar notification area only provides the absolutely most basic of CPU utilization monitors in icon form.
A popular alternative is to install software like RainMeter, which provides robust customizable widgets for your desktop. But if you want an option that doesn’t involve any additional software, try out an option built-in to Windows 10.
This functionality is squarely aimed at gamers, but anyone can use it – and it couldn’t be easier to try out. Here’s how to get the text overlay seen at beginning of this article:
- Hold down the Windows logo key and type the letter G to open the Game Bar (resembling a full-screen overlay HUD).
- The Performance widget should be visible, but iif you don’t see it, turn it on from the widget menu (the bullet-list icon just to the right of the clock at the top of the screen).
- Click the options button at the top of the widget, check “Override default transparency” and set the slider to 100%. While you’re there, pick the performance meters you want to keep an eye on (I personally use all except the FPS display). Close the options window when you’re ready.
- If you want text-only instead of graphs, click the 🔼 button at the bottom-right corner of the performance widget to collapse it to a smaller size.
- Click the pushpin/thumbtack icon in the Performance Options title bar to keep it visible, then drag it to where you want it on your screen (I move it over the taskbar).
- Finally, in the Game Bar menu (very top of the screen), make sure there is a \ slash mark through the mouse icon towards the right end: this indicates that click-thru is enabled so widgets do not respond to the mouse when Game bar isn’t open.
With that out of the way, press Windows-G once more or click anywhere on your desktop to dismiss the game overlay. The performance widget background will become transparent and provide real-time display of your system’s performance — without getting in the way.
No matter where you put it, it will float over your screen but be otherwise completely out of the way — you can’t accidentally click on it or move it.
As a mostly Xbox-based gamer, this is essentially all the functionality I care for in the Game bar, but this functionality can certainly help me tell if my system is getting low on memory or if some program is really hogging my CPU time so I can adjust accordingly.