If your PCs perform poorly then your employees won’t be able to work effectively. However, it can be a tall task to monitor a network full of computers, which is why you need PC monitoring software.
A good PC monitoring tool can scan your network and check for hardware-related connectivity issues, damaged disks, and underperforming devices to assist you in taking a proactive approach and implementing any precautionary measures.
Here is our list of the seven best PC monitoring software:
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor EDITOR’S CHOICE Network monitor that can automatically discover SNMP devices. Includes an alerts system. Start with the 30-day free trial.
- ManageEngine Endpoint Central (FREE TRIAL) A management system for computers and mobile devices that includes software version tracking and security monitoring. Available as a SaaS platform or for download onto Windows Server. Start 14-day free trial.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL) Network monitoring software that can monitor Windows, Linux, and Mac computers. Includes an alert feature. Download the 30-day free trial.
- Zabbix Open-source network monitoring tool for Linux that monitors the status, temperature, CPU, memory utilization, and more computers.
- HW Monitor Hardware monitoring solution for Windows that monitors the voltage and temperature of computers with sensor chips such as the ITE IT87 Series and Winbond ICs.
- Nagios XI Network monitoring platform that can monitor Windows and Linux computers. Includes a web-based user interface and alerts system.
- Open Hardware Monitor Open-source hardware monitor for Windows and Linux that can monitor temperature, fan speed, voltage, and more.
The best PC monitoring software
Our methodology for selecting PC monitoring software
We reviewed the market for PC monitoring systems and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- A hardware monitor to check on physical device statuses
- Systems that will operate on board or across a network
- Monitors doe device resource utilization
- Scanners to spot processor overload
- Options to monitor software performance and operating systems
- A free tool or a paid service that has a free trial period for assessment
- A paid tool that is worth the money or a free tool that is worth the time it takes to install
By taking into account these criteria and ensuring to include free options, we derived a number of useful PC monitors that we are happy to recommend.
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM), is a network monitoring tool that monitors the performance and availability of nodes throughout your network. The platform automatically discovers SNMP-enabled devices so that you can monitor them. Discovered devices can then be viewed as a map so you can see how your nodes connect to the network from a topological perspective.
- SNMP-based network device status checks
- Constant availability monitoring
- Automatic device discovery
- Alerts for system errors
- Network capacity management controls
From the dashboard, you can monitor metrics such as CPU load, memory utilization, response time, and more. Performance data can be viewed through a range of visual elements including dials and graphs. The range of visualization options develops a clearer picture of what’s going on.
Email and SMS alerts notify you when performance conditions change. For example, if the CPU Utilization of a computer is too high then the program will tell you. These notifications also include additional information to help you kickstart the troubleshooting process. You can turn off non-critical alerts outside of working hours.
- Designed with large and enterprise networks in mind
- Supports auto-discovery that builds network topology maps and inventory lists in real-time based on devices that enter the network
- Has some of the best alerting features that balance effectiveness with ease of use
- Supports both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis, giving you more control over monitoring than similar tools
- Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
- Robust reporting system with pre-configured compliance templates
- This is a feature-rich enterprise tool, small LANs and operations may find it overwhelming
SolarWinds NPM is one of the top PC monitoring software tools on this list. It’s accessible to newbies and offers a complete hardware monitoring experience. The program starts at $2,995 (£2,268). You can download the 30-day free trial.
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is our top pick for a PC monitoring software package because it is able to track the performance of all devices connected to a network, not just PCs. That means this tool gives real value for money because it is able to offer a network-wide monitoring service that includes a system hardware inventory that is constantly updated and it will also generate a network topology map. Watch over availability and response times with this system to ensure that your users always get the best service possible from the network.
OS: Windows Server
ManageEngine Endpoint Central is an endpoint management system that watches over Windows PCs and also endpoints running macOS and Linux. It can also manage mobile devices running iOS or Android. Monitoring services in this package include a security monitoring system and software version tracking. The service also logs device warranties.
- Warranty tracking
- Software inventory
- Desktop and mobile management
- Security monitoring
This package is very big on endpoint management functions, such as automated onboarding, configuration control, software control, and patch management. The main monitoring system in the bundle is a security system. This isn’t a core module but is offered as an add-on for all editions. The main features of this service work on software controls. It locks down configuration and blocks unauthorized applications from being installed. There is also a vulnerability scanner that links through to the patch manager.
Other services in the endpoint security monitoring module include Web browser security and removable device controls. This is a partial DLP system that also provides file access logging for data privacy audits. A function in the package containerizes sensitive data so that it can only be accessed by trusted applications. This demands that application access is then tightly controlled through access management.
- Attachable device controls
- Sensitive data security monitoring
- Activity logging
- Vulnerability management
- No PC performance monitoring module
ManageEngine Endpoint Central is available in four editions, including a free version that manages up to 25 endpoints. The top two editions offer WAN management capabilities. You can access the service in the cloud as a SaaS package or download the software onto Windows Server. Assess the Endpoint Central package with a 14-day free trial.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is a network monitoring platform that displays information from your computers including CPU utilization, temperature, memory usage, and bandwidth in real-time. The user can monitor Windows, Linux, and Mac computers through the dashboard and view performance data in the form of sensors.
- A customizable package
- Monitors networks, servers, and applications
- Includes system problem alerts
- Automatic network device discovery
Sensors show you performance data for specific metrics with dials that highlight live and historical performance data. For example, if you want to monitor the CPU of SNMP- enabled computers you could use the SNMP CPU Load Sensor. The SNMP CPU Load Sensor displays the load of multiple CPUs on a table.
Sensors can also be configured with alerts. For instance, you can set an alert to receive a notification if CPU usage matches certain trigger conditions. The program will then send you an alert via email, SMS, slack message, push notification, SNMP trap and more.
- Utilizes SNMP, NetFlow, and a variety of other protocols to create the most accurate picture of network traffic
- All sensors can be customized, even the preconfigured sensors
- The dashboard is customizable through a series of widgets and feels intuitive out of the box
- Supports a completely free version for up to 100 sensors, making this a good choice for both small and large networks
- Pricing is based on sensor utilization, making this a flexible and scalable solution for larger networks as well as budget-conscious organizations
- PRTG is a feature-rich platform that requires time to fully learn all of the features and options available
PRTG Network Monitor is ideal for organizations looking for a premium hardware monitoring solution with competitive scalable pricing options. It’s available for free for less than 100 sensors. Paid versions start at $1,600 (£1,211). You can download the 30-day free trial.
Related: Best CPU Temp Monitors
Zabbix is an open-source infrastructure monitor that can monitor a range of performance and health metrics. Zabbix shows the user device status, temperature, CPU, memory utilization, fan state, power supply, and more. Getting starting monitoring with the program is also very easy due to the autodiscovery feature, which automatically discovers devices throughout your network.
- Free forever
- Monitors networks and servers
- Watches server hardware statuses
Similarly, device templates allow you to configure the platform to monitor devices more efficiently. There are templates for a range of high-profile vendors including Cisco, Intel, Netgear, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and more. There are also plugins available from the Zabbix Share site with additional templates
Email, SMS, Jabber, eZ texting, and custom alert scripts allow you to receive notifications when performance conditions change. Alerts are customizable so that you can enter information such as Date and time, Hostname, Item value, Trigger value, Host profile, User macros, Escalation history, and more. Custom alert messages give you the information you need to be able to follow up effectively.
- Open-source transparent tool
- Uses both SNMP and IPMP for a broader monitoring range
- Can detect new devices and configuration changes immediately
- Offers useful templates for quick insights
- Robust notification system supports SMS, email, custom script, and webhook
- Could use updated and modernized
- Would like to see better alerting features, specifically more intelligent alerting features
Zabbix is one of the top open-source tools on this list and is highly recommended for users that want a PC monitor that’s easy to configure and customize. Zabbix is available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Raspbian, and more. You can download the tool for free.
See also: Best Hardware Monitoring Tools
HW Monitor is a hardware monitoring tool for Windows that monitors the voltage, temperate, and fan speed of PCs. It can monitor PCs with sensor chips including the ITE IT87 Series, Winbond ICs, and more. The standard version is available for free, and there is an upgraded version called HWMonitor Pro that offers additional features.
- Reports on server hardware statuses
- Checks voltage and temperature
- Works on devices running Windows
The Pro version provides you with additional features like remote monitoring, which allows you to monitor multiple PCs or Android devices remotely. You can also create graphs to view performance data in context. The Pro version supports up to 20 connections. Prices start at $22 (£16.66) for 10 connections and $38.77 (£28.78) for up to 20 remote connections.
- Freeware, with paid options for remote monitoring
- Open-source transparent project
- A great option for home labs and smaller networks
- Available for both Linux and Windows
- The interface isn’t customizable making it difficult to track only the metrics you want
- Could use better visualization features when reporting over longer periods of time
- Not designed to monitor more than one machine at a time
HW Monitor is recommended if you’re looking for a basic temperature monitoring solution for your desktops. It doesn’t have the range of features that a larger network monitoring suite offers, but it is still a very useful tool. You can download the program for free from this link here.
Nagios XI is a widely-used SNMP monitoring solution that can monitor Windows and Linux devices. Through the web-based GUI, you can monitor the CPU, Memory Usage, Uptime, Disk Usage, and more on connected devices. Visualization options like graphs enable you to have a complete perspective of what is going on.
- Monitors servers, applications, and networks
- Extensible by thousands of free plug-ins
- Includes alerts for system problems
The tool can be configured according to your requirements with relative ease. Configuration wizards walk you through the process of configuring monitoring elements and discovering devices. You can also configure email and SMS to let you know about changes to your devices.
The software is also highly extensible with a range of plugins available on the Nagios exchange. The Nagios Exchange features plugins that have been submitted by users. Plugins include ChA modern enterprise is only as good as it’s infrastructure. Check Linux CPU Process Scheduler and I/O Stats, Check UNIX Memory Usage, Check Physical Memory, and more.
- Open-source transparent tool
- Simple, yet informative interface
- Flexible alerting options support SMS and email
- Available on both Windows and Linux operating systems
- Open-source version lacks quality support found in paid products
- Installation can be technical and complex
Nagios XI is a very high-quality network monitoring tool, that has enough flexibility to support the needs of most enterprises regardless of their size. Nagios XI starts at a price of $1,995 (£1,510) for a 100-node license. You can download the free trial version here.
Open Hardware Monitor is an open-source hardware monitoring tool for Windows and Linux that can monitor the temperature, fan speed, voltage, load, and clock speeds of a computer. You can view performance details broken down into a table view that details the Minimum and Maximum value of the metric you’re monitoring.
- Free forever
- Checks device statuses
- Runs on Windows and Linux
The platform can monitor Intel and AMD core sensors, as well as NVIDIA and AMD GPU sensors. For monitoring computer temperature, Open Hardware Monitor is compatible with SMART temperature sensors. All the data captured by the program is published to WMI so that the data can be read by other applications.
- Is a free open-source project
- Can measure other metrics like fan speed, clock speed, and voltage alongside temperature readings
- Better suited for home PCs and enthusiasts
- Only available for Windows
- No management console, cannot monitor multiple machines at the same
- Not ideal for a business environment
Open Hardware Monitor is a great utility for monitoring the performance of your computer. It’s free and provides you with a basic hardware monitoring experience. You can download the program for free.
Top Choice: PRTG Network Monitor
Monitoring computers can get tricky very quickly, particularly if you’re working with lots of devices. Trying to stay on top of performance, availability, CPU usage, and disk usage without reliable software is an uphill struggle. PC monitoring software makes the process much easier by giving you a centralized location to monitor your devices.
We’ve included a range of tools on this list from complete network monitoring suites to smaller hardware monitoring tools. Our editor’s pick is Paessler PRTG because of its autodiscovery capabilities and simple sensors system. Other notable alternatives are SolarWinds NPM and ManageEngine OpManager.
PC monitoring FAQs
Does my computer have monitoring software?
Windows PCs have a native activity monitoring system that can be found in the Task Manager. To get to this utility, right-click on the task bar at the bottom of your screen and select Task Manager from the pop-up menu.
What is the monitoring software of a computer?
Monitoring software can be onboard, reporting on the processes and resources of that computer only. It is also possible to get a networked computer monitor that can aggregate the monitoring of all computers on a site. This type of software is useful for businesses that can’t rely on the users to check on monitoring software loaded on the device. A wider monitoring opportunity is presented by remote monitoring tools that enable one central office to monitor the performance of computers on multiple sites.
Is remote system monitor safe?
Monitoring systems that are designed to enable remote monitoring have encryption protection built into them so that data traveling across the internet between sites is secure. Therefore, as long as you protect access to the console of the system with credentials, these remote monitoring tools are safe to use.