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On the Mac, there is a hugely useful iStat Menus. It displays all kinds of statuses, such as CPU/RAM/Disk utilization, HD temperature, etc...

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Is there something similar for Windows XP?

Edit: I can't believe how crappy and unaesthetic most of these are compared to iStat Menus. Most of the tools mentioned seem to focus on secondary features like skinning and theming rather than being unobtrusive, functional and out of the way. Moo0 SystemMonitor probably comes closest to being functional and easy to use, but it is totally obtrusive and in your face.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've been using Moo0 SystemMonitor for a while, it's handy-dandy:

Moo0 SystemMonitor lets you keep your eye on system resource usages of your PC. It currently supports 36 kinds of information including CPU, Memory, Network, and detailed HDD usages. Using this software, you may discover what is limiting your system performance in each occasion.

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Samurize is a highly customizable system monitoring application.

Samurize is an advanced system monitoring and desktop enhancement engine for Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista. IT professionals, overclockers, gamers and desktop modders alike use Samurize for system information, weather reports, news headlines and much much more. And best of all, Samurize is 100% free!

Samurize's rich feature set includes:

  • an unrivalled set of built-in meters (Disk utilization, CPU usage, network traffic, system temperatures...)
  • ultimate customizing and skinning possibilities with no programming knowledge required
  • monitoring your own computer or others over a network
  • tiny memory footprint and CPU usage
  • the first system monitoring tool with a true WYSIWYG editor
  • full extensibility via scripts and plugins with a powerful plugin SDK/API
  • minimal software requirements (no .NET or Service Packs necessary)
  • multimonitor support
  • many usage options (desktop, taskbar and clock clients, server outputting to XML or image formats, screensaver)

Samurize: The Only Limit Is Your Imagination.

Rainmeter is also a good candidate for this.

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The tool does not actually display anything upon installation. Fail. – AngryHacker Mar 8 '10 at 23:14
You have to configure it. I thought it would not be too difficult to figure out for an angry "hacker"! – Snark Mar 8 '10 at 23:15

Microsoft's ProcessExplorer is also free, but I don't know if it tracks as much stuff as the iStat app you're used to.

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CpuMon, Rivatuner w/gadget, and Netmeter should provide the basic monitoring capabilities in a customizable "unobtrusive" format. I enjoy using all three.

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I sometimes use StatBar. It's also part of Total Commander Ultima Prime.

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