I would like to always show the windows CPU usage graphic in the taskbar near the system clock as it does when the task manager is open. Is there a way to make it always show with no more intervention (such as opening task manager each time I start up)?

Also, any recommended CPU monitors that show just a nice little graphic in the taskbar of the currenct usage?

  • 1
    I don't want to add an answer about 3rd party software because that wasn't your question. But I see there is an answer with 3rd party software and many upvotes so I will leave this comment. superuser.com/a/1467988/490703
    – User42
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 21:09
  • 1
    @User42 I'm not sure why you see that the question doesn't ask for 3rd party software, when it says: "Also, any recommended CPU monitors..."
    – Ooker
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 12:28
  • I'm very surprised no one has mentioned Rainmeter yet?
    – Arctiic
    Commented Feb 17, 2020 at 3:15
  • Many other solutions are provided in this question: How can I constantly monitor my computer's RAM usage?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 16:17

5 Answers 5


you can start your pc up with task manager running minimized

  1. Right click your desktop and select New then shortcut
  2. Type in taskmgr and hit enter
  3. Hit enter again
  4. Right click the new shortcut and go to properties
  5. In the Run dropdown select "Minimized"
  6. Click Start and All Programs
  7. Find Startup and right click the folder and select Open
  8. Drag the new shortcut into that folder

Now the taskmanager will always run - minimized - when the computer boots.

  • 1
    some drawbacks: CPU only, not RAM or network; icon disappears when closing the window
    – Ooker
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 12:34
  • Only worked partially for me on Windows 10 (multiple machines). Task Manager starts, but needs to be maximized and minimized again manually in order to vanish into the tray. Linus' answer addresses that problem.
    – barfuin
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 15:41

I have 4 programs for you. All of them are free:

1. XMeters

Taskbar appearance:


So far I'm satisfied with this program.

2. TrafficMonitor

Taskbar appearance:


3. RAM CPU (+DISK) Taskbar

It turns your taskbar into a dynamic color-changing resource meter.

4. CleanMem Mini Monitor

This one actually display a floating panel and an icon in the notification area rather than in taskbar. It also has more settings than the two above.

  • 2
    XMeters work great. Better than the other apps and shortcuts with a good level of graphics
    – Posse
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 10:10
  • It is sad that XMeters can display the RAM usage only as percentage ... Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 10:54
  • @GeorgiPeev but why isn't that useful to you?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 16:18
  • Note that XMeters is not working on windows 11 Commented Feb 12, 2023 at 10:13
  • XMeter is missing the GPU
    – bim
    Commented May 8 at 15:06

The @Keltari solution looks good, but the 'Task Manager' icon is still displayed in the taskbar. Therefore, a better solution is to start TaskManager using a vbs script with a hidden parameter.

This is how you can do it:

  1. Ctr+R and type "shell:startup", this will open the default user folder to start programs at startup
  2. Create a file called "task_manager.vbs"
  3. Edit the file and paste the code below:

Set objShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

objShell.Run "taskmgr", 0, false

  1. Save it and that's it. You can test it by double clicking the file. enter image description here

You can see there is no TaskManager icon in taskbar :)

  • Does TaskManager only have the one icon? Or are there multiple icons for CPU, memory, network, etc.
    – posfan12
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 16:43
  • 1
    @posfan12 it shows the same icon when you open the "Task Manager", so it only shows one.
    – mb777
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 0:17

Here's a wild hack for you: you start the Cygwin terminal and run a script in it that will set the correct terminal title. From there, you can put whatever information you want into the taskbar.

This will only work if you do not have Settings > Taskbar > "Combine taskbar buttons" set to "Always, hide labels". Because we need those labels; that's where the status information is going to go.

Install Cygwin with the python3 and procps-ng packages. (procps-ng is needed for top.) Then open a Cygwin terminal and run this python script in it:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from time import sleep
from sys import *
from subprocess import check_output

def title(s):
    stdout.write('\033]0;' + s + '\a')

while True:
    output = check_output('top -b -n1 -1'.split()).decode()
    lines = output.split('\n')
    title(lines[2:].join(' | '))

That runs top, gets rid of the first two lines, and prints the other lines to the title! From here, you can do pretty much whatever you want. You should check out powerline for a more powerful statusline printer.

To get even more information into your taskbar, you can increase the max tab width with this registry hack:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics]

I know it says MinWidth, but it actually sets the max width. Well done indeed, Microsoft.

This is what mine looks like right now:

task bar

  • Very cool solution. Would it be possible to use python to keep in a separate window as top stats with multiple cpus?
    – not2qubit
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 22:13

I tried the above for Windows 10, but it just did not work (Task Manager started but not minimised).

I found the possibility of putting

start /min taskmgr

into a batch file and then create a task with the Task Scheduler running this batch file at logon. (See e.g. https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/0065fc23-2578-4165-8f38-c22675ae33ad/run-the-task-manager-on-startup-how or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkNzHnYYrm0)

However, with this method you will always have a minimised Task Manager sitting in your Windows task bar after logon, in spite of you having ticked Options->Hide when minimised in Task Manager. It will only disappear from the task bar -- with the tray icon remaining -- if you maximise it once again and minimised it manually. If this is annoying you, here is another method:

Create a .wsf file with the following content; e.g. C:\Users\Linus\AppData\taskmgr-minimised.wsf

   <job id="vbs">
      <script language="VBScript">
        set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
        WshShell.Run "taskmgr"
        WScript.Sleep 100
        WshShell.SendKeys "% n"

This is a VBScript that opens the task manager and subsequently emulates the button presses of Alt + Space + n, which minimises a window. If you want to test it, you have to run it as administrator! You may open a Command Prompt as administrator and run

cscript C:\Users\Linus\AppData\taskmgr-minimised.wsf

Now, you want this to be executed at every logon, which can again be done with the Windows Task Scheduler (similiar to the above linked batchfile method):

When creating the new task, in the General tab, make sure to tick Run with highest privileges! Task creation: General

In the Triggers tab, create a new "At log on" trigger and make sure to set Delay task for: 1 second! (1 second is not in the drop down menu, but you can just manually type it in.) Task creation: Triggers

In the Actions tab, create a new "Start a program" action and set cscript and the path to your .wsf file in the appropriate fields: Task creation: Actions

You may change the remaining tabs to your liking.

That did the trick at least on my system.

Maybe on a slower system you may have to increase the WScript.Sleep milliseconds in the wsf file or the Delay task for time. Then just try to decrease it as long as it still works.

  • Well, how does it look like?
    – not2qubit
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 22:12

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