Keep an eye on your programs with Usage Monitor

Monitor running processes with this free tool that alerts you when resources are exceeded.

Veign's Usage Monitor is freeware that monitors how individual processes use a variety of system resources and alert you when levels you set are exceeded. It monitors Memory Usage, GDI Usage, and User Objects. It's good for many things, such as determining which program is hogging all the memory when you have several programs open. Developers will appreciate its ability to keep close tabs on multiple running processes and see instantly which are affected when changes are made.

Usage Monitor's small, plain, and unassuming user interface is a model of efficient design, combining up-to-date features such as transparency with an old-school layout. Usage Monitor opened with all our running processes displayed in a list view we could sort by View, ID, Memory Usage, Priority, GDI Objects, and User Objects. Hiding unwanted headings is easy: Just drag another heading over it.

A Tools menu accessed basic controls like Start and Stop processing and Snapshot Report, which saves the log file. Options included Always On Top, CSV logging, and five alarm choices: Small Popup, Messagebox, Flash Taskbar, Execute a File, and No Alarm. The Watches menu let us set watches, but we found it easier to right-click processes and set our watches directly. And this could hardly be easier: Select Memory Usage, GDI Usage, or User Objects; click Set, Clear, or Set Priorities; enter limits in the pop-up; click OK. Usage Monitor also has a system tray icon, but it just toggles open the main view and accesses the About file, which includes a Help file and Web link.

Usage Monitor's controls and options made it incredibly simple to configure the processes we wanted to monitor and hide those we didn't. Once we'd set our limits and alarm types for the processes we wanted to watch, we simply checked the box labeled "Hide all non-watched processes" to clean up the view. Any improvements? It would be nice to have the ability to change hot-key combos. As it stands, we think Usage Monitor is just the tool for an important job.

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