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System monitors
Need, or would like some visible indicator of the resources you have available, on the desktop ? Here's some freeware (too much good ones to even think about paying :) system monitors, monitoring all kinda things, with a decorative touch (most are skinnable), or just plain advanced:
AXE is an online timer with a lot of additional options. Ability to log all details of your connection, bytes in/out, check mail, ping, etc etc... not under active development anymore it seems, but free for 9x/2k (some options 2k only, ignore traces of shareware history :).

Neophile created ConWatch (free, v.0.1.4, 406 kB), a little skinnable indicator that monitors your internet connection. Animation and alpha-transparancy options included! Currently without a page, find it at orphan section of Skinnables.org.

Advanced monitoring, displayed on the desktop: CoolMon (free, Win Me/2k/XP) - requires 2k or up to really show everything that's happening with your computer, and may require some registry editing for it to work exactly as you want it. For powerusers again.

A pretty advanced - memory and more - monitor is Freeram, by BySoft (free, Win 9x/2k). Skinnable, advanced monitoring and option to free some memory.

As found on Desktopian, a monitor aimed at bringing GKrellM to Windows. Inhotus is, besides that, a fully skinnable and advanced system resources monitor!

iPanel, by jayjay, is a simple CPU monitor, also very simple to skin.

L-ement, by Killarny, monitors CPU, RAM and Swapfile, has a clock, checks online/offline status and status of 'bytes in/bytes out'. Currently page is in progress, find it at orphan section of Skinnables.org.

MemViewer, by Gene6 (free, Win 9x/NT), is a simple RAM monitor, can look like anything you want, most simple to skin.

MindBeat made MPower (free, Win 9x/?) - defragments your RAM, but also monitors CPU speed/load, harddisk read/write speed and memory status. Unique: cpu/ram status can be displayed on the active window titlebar!

Oxygenator was a simple, cool RAM monitor, one of the first skinnable apps (free, Win 9x/2k). It's creator discontinued his project ("CU in 30 years") and company, "DigitaL DreamS". We were finally able to reach him, and LiON approves we keep his stuff alive.

There's also QX, by Alazorn. Could be a clock, but can do more, like display free/used space on any drive you've got, and lots more, done with plugins. Latest versions are freeform skinnable.

QWatch is another tool by Alazorn, with a more specific target; it monitors uptime, drivespace, RAM and CPU. Shows as an icon in your systray, which toggles display. With version 2.0 it became skinnable.

[*toptool:] Most likely to take over Sysmeter' position as most popular: Rainmeter is a Litestep module, but functions in explorer too. It's a skinnable CPU/RAM/Swap monitor, does uptime, diskspace too. Plus, it's in development and going strong.

[*toptool:] "Samurize is the successor to the quite popular program CureInfo. It is a system monitoring utility with awesome configuration power. The configuration program is totally separated from the client for minimal memory usage. For the moment Samurize is in beta state. This means: Bugs can and do exist, all optimitions have not yet been done." Yeah, sure - this one is like a paint program, with a palette of monitors, to be painted on the desktop, where, how and in which size, color, kind off display etc etc you'd like! Free, for 2k/XP only.

Then, SkinMem is a freeform skinnable system resource monitor. "The program now gives you the option of displaying physical memory, virtual memory or page file memory and CPU usage." And, very easy to skin (free, Win 9x/2k)!

Almost skinnable (planned) and running as a bar on top of your screen: StatBar (free, all Windows versions). "In the most recent version, these modules are available: battery status, CD door eject/close, CPU usage, exit/lock buttons, harddisk information, locks status, master volume control, memory status, RC5/OGR counter, time synchronization, Winamp controls, Windows uptime, and Windows version".

Sysmeter, by thirty4 interactive, is an CPU/RAM/Swap file monitor, with lots of additional options, advanced skinnability etc. Currently unavailable, we've seen mentioned source code was lost and a new version is in progress ? Anyway, find it (version 1 & 2) at orphan section of Skinnables.org.

Relatively new, yet one of biggest successes already: SysMetrix. What sets it apart ? Versatile, powerful, yes, also a lot of beautiful skins created already. Again, why (?) - maybe it's because it's made by a skinner, and thereby has all inside needed to create eyecandy :). Lovely app!

TclockEx, by Dale Nurden (free, all Win versions), is an enhancement to the clock (such as adding the date), but it also adds the RAM and CPU usages (unobstrusively through small lines). Also the mouseover tooltip can be any number of resources you wish to monitor.
Oh, and check this little gem out (thanks lsdx). TinyResmeter is what it says, tiny, but features quite a lot of stuff to monitor and has just that right balenced set of display and other advanced settings. For the minimalists!
"WinBar is a free and compact program that lets you monitor your system and provides easy access to frequently used controls". Easy and configurable in all kinda ways toolbar, advanced, but easy to use and a smooth look.

And finally, WinPulse (free, all versions). Didn't succeed to summarize this: "Windows resources monitor. Indicators: Drives space, RAM, Swap, CPU, GDI/USER resources, Audio volumes, User, Host, Clock, System name, OS live time, Screen resolution, Ping, MAPI Exchange Mail, POP3 mail, Battery, NT Counters. Every indicator is customizable: hide/show, change look, limits. Features: >1 CPU support, transparency, update frequency, autostart, tray cpu load, system wide shortcut, custom colors, size change."

Also found on Desktopian, a full port of GKrellM (*nix) to Windows, WKrellM. Even themes can be ported by renaming the .png files to .bmp. Advanced toy :).

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