How to view CPU and memory usage

Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Word cloud of operating system terms.

Your computer's operating system is constantly allocating resources to different tasks. Consequently, CPU (central processing unit) and memory usage fluctuates constantly. The following sections show you how to view how much of the performance these two system resources are utilizing at any given point. To proceed, select your operating system from the list below and follow the instructions.

Microsoft Windows

There are a few options for checking CPU and memory usage in Windows. Both methods below work equally well, but the second has a cleaner interface and can be set to load automatically when your computer boots.

Using the Task Manager

  1. Press the Windows key, type task manager, and press Enter.
  2. In the window that appears, click the Performance tab.
  3. On the Performance tab, a list of hardware devices is displayed on the left side.

Performance tab in Windows Task Manager.

  1. Clicking any of these devices displays more detailed information on the right side of the window.

Using a third-party utility

There are many third-party programs that display information about your computer's CPU and memory usage. One of our favorites is CAM by NZXT.

  1. Open your preferred Internet browser and go to the CAM page on the NZXT website.
  2. In the middle of the screen, click the Download button for the CAM app. button.
  3. Once the download has finished, install it from your browser and open the program.
  1. A window opens that looks like the image below.

Front menu of the CAM utility.

  1. From here, you can see various metrics about your computer, including CPU and memory usage. Furthermore, the buttons on the left side of the screen allow you to view other details, such as specifics about your computer's hardware.


  1. First, click the Finder icon in the Dock.

Finder icon in macOS.

  1. In the window that opens, click Applications (A), then Utilities (B), and then Activity Monitor (C).

Menu from which you may select the Activities Monitor in macOS.

  1. On the next screen, click a top tabs to view the utilization of different parts of your system, including CPU and memory usage.

Activity Monitor utility in macOS.