FreeMeter: a low-impact system monitor

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FreeMeter is a free system-performance monitoring utility designed to be powerful yet light on resources.

It monitors a number of system activities that most people need, including uptime, drive space, CPU usage, disk access, physical memory available, and page file usage. It can also monitor up to 2 email accounts and present real-time updates for them in the system tray area.

Sometimes it’s necessary to keep an eye on your system’s efficiency; whether you’re just monitoring its performance or you’re trying to find something that’s been making itself known in the background.

The typical problem with this is that system resource monitors usually use up their own fair share of resources. This makes tracking down a problem or continual monitoring a bit of a catch-22. This is also where FreeMeter steps in to fulfill this need.

FreeMeter prides itself on being a low-impact system monitor. Its light-weight performance is a great alternative to a lot of the memory-hungry alternative tools, widgets, or gadgets that are out there. Particularly, drawing graphs and frequently polling for system information seems to normally take quite a hit on a computer and bias the results. Let’s call it a little bit like the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: we can’t measure the performance of the system without affecting the system’s performance by running a system monitor on it. If you understood that last line, congratulations, you too are a nerd! 🙂

FreeMeter allows us quite a variety in the things we can measure and graph, like: uptime, drive space, CPU usage, disk access, physical memory available, and page file usage. You can see a screenshot of it in action below. The professional (paid) version includes some additional meters, but I’ll leave that up to you to determine if those additional functions are useful to you. Of course, you can also turn off any meters that you aren’t interested in.

 

FreeMeter is very flexible in its configuration options. You can minimize a meter within the main window by clicking the button to the right of the meter. You can also configure system tray icons for the individual meters. This would allow you to quickly hover over an icon in the bottom-right corner to find out information without having to restore the full window. Also in the program’s Preferences, you can configure the height and type of graphs (line vs bar). Another, worth-mentioning preference is the ability to configure timers. FreeMeter actually incorporates 3 separate timers. You can set how often the free disk space meter is updated. This can be fairly infrequent as the disk size probably won’t change that dramatically, that quickly, regularly. The other two timers are a bit more frequent and are for the rest of the meters to use. You can configure how often each timer updates, by default every 1 second for timer 1 and every 5 seconds for timer 2. You can then configure each meter as to what timer it uses.

One final choice to cover is one you’ll run into during setup. FreeMeter includes an optional Email plug-in that you can install as well. It monitors when an e-mail account (up to 2 accounts for the free version) receives new mail so you don’t have to have a resource-heavy e-mail client running all the time.

Speaking of resources, FreeMeter comes as a smaller than 900KB download and uses around 3.8MB of memory while in use.

You can also access a statistics summary from FreeMeter to see your computer’s average performance and gather information that way.

statistics

Differences between free and paid versions: FreeMeter contains 9 different meters while the paid version (FreeMeter Pro) contains 19. The the paid version monitors more system activities that advanced users might need, including network performance, running processes, ping meter, memory paging, file cache, file logging, and remote computers. It also has multiple CPU Support (seperate or combined) and allows for monitoring unlimited email accounts.

Version Tested: 2.8.2

Compatibility: Windows All.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 888K).