The top 10 PC hardware monitoring tools in 2023

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January 11, 2023

On October 17, 1979, a software publisher called VisiCorp launched a product that would change offices forever: VisiCalc, a spreadsheet program that turned the personal computer (PC) from a mere curiosity into a legitimate business tool.

It quickly became the first “killer app”, one so compelling that companies were willing to spend US$2,000 on Apple II computers for their finance and accounting teams, just so they could run VisiCalc, which retailed at US$100.

More than 700,000 copies of VisiCalc were sold until 1985, with maybe 1 million copies sold throughout its history. Needless to say, it opened the doors for competitors like Lotus 1-2-3, on DOS, and eventually Microsoft Excel on Windows.

Through the decades, the use cases for PCs in the workplace increased: word processing (WordStar), database management (dBase), design (PageMaker), stock keeping, sales, etc. Today, in our hyperconnected society, these programs are the cornerstone of the modern workforce. From a cashier at the local supermarket to a data analyst at a giant corporation, there are few jobs that do not require the constant use of a PC in some way.

Of course, such a powerful and essential tool cannot be left unmonitored. There is a need for ways to monitor the status and performance of all the PCs attached to a company’s infrastructure, to ensure they are performing as they should and detect and correct issues before they arise.

In this article, we will present some of the main monitoring options available in the hope that we can help you chose the best one for your needs.

Frequently asked questions about PC monitoring

What are PC monitoring tools?

The field of PC monitoring is vast. Here we will cover hardware status monitoring, or more specifically, tools used to monitor the hardware parameters of PCs and workstations on your network. This includes data such as CPU load, memory and disk usage, temperature, battery health, and many other items.

Keep in mind that many of the tools mentioned here can also do software monitoring, including software inventory, patch management, remote processes and applications, control license auditing, and much more. If this is something that appeals to you, the choice of an integrated solution may make more sense.

Why should you monitor your PCs?

We can think of 5 reasons to monitor the PCs in your infrastructure:

  1. To ensure that the machines are running as smoothly as possible.
  2. To keep an inventory of all the hardware on premises.
  3. To detect problems that may impact business continuity before they even arise. For example, Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) data can show you when a disk drive is near its point of failure, giving you time to replace it, and maybe even do a backup before the failure happens.
  4. To detect bottlenecks that can hamper the productivity of your employees, like the machines used by the design team that constantly run at 100% CPU or memory utilization.
  5. To better distribute resources. You may find out that a PC is being underutilized, giving you a chance to reallocate it for a more demanding task.

What to look for when choosing a PC monitoring tool?

In our opinion, there are five main characteristics you need to look for when choosing a PC monitoring tool. They are:

  1. The capability to monitor many parameters at once.
  2. The capability to monitor remotely
  3. Customizable alerts and automated notifications when alerts are triggered.
  4. Native (and preferably automated) reporting features.
  5. A suitably long trial period, so you can test how the tool works with your infrastructure.

How to do PC monitoring?

There are many PC monitoring tools from many different vendors. Some focus solely on hardware monitoring or offer it as a subset of a wider range of features. Below you can find a list of some of the best options to fulfill your PC monitoring needs.

The best PC monitoring tools

Paessler PRTG

Paessler PRTG is an all-in-one monitoring tool which can monitor everything from machines on your local network to your cloud infrastructure. The information gathered by the tool is provided on a centralized dashboard with all the relevant metrics. You can set customizable alerts based on threshold values, and there is an automatic reporting feature, so you can keep management and coworkers informed.

Paessler PRTG is based on basic monitoring elements called “sensors”. One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, for example the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive, and so on.


CAPTION: The CPU load sensor on Paessler PRTG.

There is a wide variety of sensors for hardware monitoring, covering parameters like CPU load, disk space, disk I/O, memory usage, and so on. And there are many ways to get this information: you can choose to use Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) framework or even via SSH on Linux machines.

It is worth mentioning that, in addition to hardware monitoring, Paessler PRTG also has dedicated sensors to monitor Windows services (via WMI or using SNMP) and Windows processes. There is even a sensor that can keep track of Windows updates.

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor runs on Windows machines (running Windows 11 or Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, or Windows Server 2022), but can remotely monitor machines running other operating systems (OSs), like Linux or macOS. There is a 30-day free trial with all features available during this period, no credit card needed.


SysGauge is a flexible utility that can monitor CPU, memory and disk space usage, disk and network activity, operating system performance, and much more, either running locally on a computer or by remotely monitoring several machines on your network.

The application has a configurable graphical user interface with many modules, each one dedicated to a specific monitoring task. The user can specify how the information collected by each module will be shown, and for how long historic data will be kept.

The Sysgauge main user interface, showing current and past CPU load

A rule-based system can trigger alerts, send e-mails, or take action if certain conditions are met or values exceeded. Reports can be generated on a variety of formats like HTML, PDF, Excel, plain text, CSV, XML, or even saved to an SQL database.

SysGauge is available in four versions, including a free one for personal use (with limited features), Pro, Ultimate, and Server. The Ultimate and Server versions also include a command-line utility that can be incorporated into your scripts to automate system monitoring tasks.

The main negative aspect of SysGauge is that the only OS supported are Windows, from Windows XP to Windows 11, and Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2022.

Nagios XI

Nagios XI is a complete IT infrastructure monitoring tool that can monitor your PCs and much more, including applications, services, OSs, network protocols, and network infrastructure. Its web-based interface is configurable and easy to use, providing at-a-glance access to monitoring information.

It is possible to create multiple users with different levels of access to the web interface, so stakeholders can have easy access to only relevant information. As with other tools, in case of outages, alerts can be sent to IT staff and end users via email or mobile text messages.

Nagios XI
Nagios XI showing CPU stats, disk usage and bandwidth info on a machine.

One of the highlights of Nagios XI is a robust ecosystem with “thousands of community-developed addons that extend monitoring and native alerting functionality”[2], alongside multiple APIs that facilitate integration with in-house or third-party applications.

Nagios XI is available in two editions, Standard and Enterprise, and there is a fully-functional 30-day free trial. One thing that sets it apart from other tools mentioned in this article is that it only runs natively on Linux, and more specifically distributions like CentOS, RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Ubuntu, or Debian. However, it can be run on Windows servers using virtualization solutions like VMware, VirtualBox, or Hyper-V.

SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

The SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is an SNMP monitoring tool that is more suitable for large scale networks. It can monitor device performance, availability, and faults of each node and is able to automatically discover network devices and quickly start monitoring them, “simplifying the detection, diagnosis, and resolution of network issues before outages occur”.

The information collected by this tool is shown on customizable dashboards and charts. There is a customizable alerting system, with intelligent alerting features to reduce the number of incoming notifications. It is even possible to set alert rules for specific times during the day or for days of the week, and route alerts to specific sysadmins.

Solarwinds NPM
Details on a network node being monitored by SNPM

According to SolarWinds, NPM “is built to monitor any device that sends syslog messages or responds to SNMP, Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), API, and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)”[3]. However, monitoring using the WMI framework requires another SolarWinds product, Server & Application Monitor.

NPM can be deployed on the cloud or on premises and requires Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, or Windows Server 2022. There is a free, all-features-included 30-day trial available.


Zabbix is an open-source monitoring package that can be used to monitor your PCs, the services and applications running on them, in addition to your whole network, servers, and cloud infrastructure. It can tell you the device status, CPU and memory utilization, temperature and fan status, and even give you detailed information about power supplies.

There are many templates to ease integration with hardware from dozens of vendors and the capability to create custom integration with bespoke hardware. As with other tools, the alert system is customizable, with alerts that can be triggered by a variety of conditions, with custom messages delivered by email, SMS, or even instant messaging services like Jabber.

Zabbix dashboards can be customized with a variety of widgets

This tool promises “unlimited scalability” through distributed monitoring. Agents are deployed on the machines to be monitored and report to a central server. The collected information is available on a central web UI. There is a multi-tenancy system where admins can define user groups and assign them different access roles. It is even possible to create unique dashboards for different tenants.

Agents are available for Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and UNIX systems like AIX and Solaris. However, the server can only run on Linux, either on premises or in the cloud. Supported distributions are AlmaLinux, CentOS, Debian, Oracle Linux, Raspberry Pi OS, RHEL, Rocky Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Ubuntu, both for x64 and ARM64 architectures.

As mentioned previously, Zabbix is open source and free, but you do need to pay for technical support. There are five support tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Enterprise, and Global I), each with different levels of availability, response times, and number of incidents and support contacts. 

TeamViewer Remote Management

Device monitoring is part of a broader package of solutions offered by TeamViewer called TeamViewer Remote Management, which also includes network monitoring, asset and inventory tracking, patch management, endpoint protection, backup, web monitoring, and more.

With it, you are able to monitor disk space, disk health, CPU and memory usage, network traffic, online states, and more. There are also software-related features like monitoring windows processes and services, system updates, status of antivirus software, event logs, and more.

Teamviewer Remote Management
The TeamViewer Management Console

There is also support for custom monitoring policies, with individual thresholds and recipients for alerts, allowing you to assign policies to individual devices or device groups. Alerts can be delivered via instant push notifications on a phone, the TeamViewer Contacts List, or by email. There is even an API that allows for the development of a custom monitoring interface without the use of the TeamViewer Management Console.

TeamViewer Remote Management can monitor computers running Windows (Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11), Windows Server (Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, 2 Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server 2022), Linux (Debian-based distributions, on x64 or ARM platforms), and macOS Sierra (10.12), macOS High Sierra (10.13), macOS Mojave (10.14), macOS Catalina (10.15), macOS Big Sur (11.2-5) and macOS Monterey (12), on Intel or ARM (M-series) processors. There is a 14-day free trial available.


HWiNFO is billed as a “professional system information and diagnostics tool” which used by NASA to “monitor computer systems for failures in high radiation fields”[4]. This tool offers a comprehensive overview of hardware information, shown in a deeply detailed hierarchical tree, alongside real-time monitoring of hardware parameters covering processors, graphics cards, motherboard chipsets, peripherals, and more.

Data collected can be shown in customizable tables, graphs, tray icons, and on-screen displays, and there are addons for integration of this data with other software and even with LCD displays.

HWiNFO offer comprehensive hardware information and was used by NASA.

There is also a customizable alert system and a reporting feature that can generate XML, CSV, or HTML reports. HWiNFO also offers something that few other tools have: versions that can monitor MS-DOS (or compatible, like FreeDOS) systems and 32-bit versions of Windows (like Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows XP).

HWiNFO offers a variety of products. HWiNFO 32 (for 32-bit Windows) is freeware. HWiNFO 64 is freeware for non-commercial use. There is also HWiNFO Pro, which allows commercial use and has better remote monitoring features and command-line support. There is no support for machines running Linux or macOS.

AIDA64 Business

Well known among PC enthusiasts for its hardware information and diagnostics capabilities, AIDA64 is also a powerful tool for PC monitoring on a corporate network. It offers sensor monitoring and logging, allowing you to monitor temperature, fan speed, voltage, and power draw over time.

One module worth mentioning is the System Stability Test. By applying a stress test to all major system components (CPU, caches, memory, hard disk drives), the program lets users find potential issues that are not evident during regular use. There is also a benchmarking feature, which helps determine a “baseline” of a machine’s performance for future reference.

The information gathered by AIDA64 can be shared on an OSD, a customizable “SensorPanel”, or on compatible external LCD displays. Alerts can be triggered if threshold conditions are met or exceeded, with notifications being sent via email.

CAPTION:IDA 64 is well known for its hardware information and diagnostics capabilities.

The tool is available in four versions, with a unique naming scheme and different levels of features. AIDA64 Business runs on Windows and requires at least Windows 95 but there’s an extension that supports Linux clients monitoring.

AIDA64 Extreme is geared towards home users, AIDA64 Engineer is for IT technicians and engineers and there are two versions geared for businesses: AIDA64 Network Audit and AIDA64 Business. But despite the name, only AIDA64 Business has the features desired by most IT administrators, such as remote monitoring, remote control, and remote reports.

HWMonitor PRO

Built by the makers of the famous CPUID processor identification tool, HWMonitor PRO offers detailed information about CPUs, GPUs, memory modules, SSD/hard disk health (via S.M.A.R.T.), battery status and health, and much more.

Sensor labels can be edited for clarity, so you won’t need to remember that ST3120026AS is the main hard disk on a machine. There is also a graph generator that displays sensor data on a variety of graphs, with customized sample rates and multi-curve graphs, all saved as bitmap files (.bmp).

Remote monitoring on an Android smartphone or tablet is one of the defining features of HWMonitor Pro.

HWMonitor PRO also allows for the remote monitoring of machines through your network, including the monitoring on your Android smartphone or tablet, using a dedicated Android app. However, the machines to be monitored must be running Windows.

There is no trial version of HWMonitor PRO, but the plain version of HWMonitor is free to use with no time limit and offers the same feature set, minus the remote monitoring capabilities. This gives you ample time to decide if the data it provides fits your needs.

Open Hardware Monitor

The Open Hardware Monitor is an open-source tool that can monitor the temperature, fan speeds, voltage, and load and clock speeds of a computer. This includes core temperature sensors embedded in processors, mainboard sensors, GPU sensors in AI and NVIDIA cards, hard drives, and fan controllers.

This is done using WMI, which allows other applications to read and use the sensor data. There is even preliminary documentation explaining to programmers how this can be done.

Open Hardware Monitor
CAPTION:Open Hardware Monitor can run on PCs with Windows or Linux (above).

The Open Hardware Monitor is written using the Microsoft .NET Framework and can run on Windows or Linux machines (using the Mono framework). It is free to use but lacks remote monitoring, a crucial feature for large scale networks, limiting its use cases.


There are PC monitoring tools for all kinds of needs, no matter how you use them. However, our favorite is Paessler PRTG, for a few reasons.

First, it streamlines your workflow by enabling you to monitor all your infrastructure with a single tool. It can not only monitor your PCs but also your network, services, servers, cloud infrastructure, and much more. It really is the Swiss Army Knife of monitoring tools.

That means you can do away with having to rely on a variety of individualized solutions, which carries potential risks such as incompatibility with your current workflow and even security issues.

Second, it comes with built-in sensors that cover many of the main use cases, without the need to purchase extras. Third, it is extensible, which means you can deploy third-party sensors, or even develop your own, to cover specific needs.

Besides that, it ticks all the boxes in our list of desired characteristics in a PC monitoring tool, making it, in our opinion, the best overall choice.