Windows 11 doesn’t actually have a way to monitor your CPU temperature directly, requiring you to download a multitude of programs to get this information from your computer.
There’s also the method of getting to see this information via the BIOS. We’ve got a guide for getting into the BIOS in two ways, so if you’re not fast enough at boot, you can still get into it from Windows!
The methods between Windows 10 and 11 actually match up one to one in regards to software, but nevertheless, you can use this guide to get the results you want in both operating systems.
What temperature should you aim for?
CPUs run hot, they’re going to at all times unless you really invest in a souped-up water-cooled system, so when you see it sat at 50 or 60 degrees celsius, don’t fret too much.
As you begin to put the pressure on the PC with gaming, creative programs and productivity software that’s highly unoptimized, you’ll start to notice that temperature creeping up into the 70s or 80s. If this is happening regularly, you might want to consider checking your BIOS for fan speeds or use the suggested Speed Fan software below.
Recommended CPU Temperature Monitors
While we have this as a guide, there’s no real method to checking the temperature other than telling you where to go for different programs.
A popular program, Speccy, provides detailed information about your entire PC, down to the type of speakers you have.
In the options, you can have it boot on startup or minimise to the tray so you can keep track of the temperature without having to have Speccy open at all times.
This is especially useful on single monitors. If you need more information in graph form, Speccy will let you expand each segment outwards by clicking the little heat measurement off to the side.
However, Speccy isn’t actually all that great for temperature checking for AMD CPUs, it tends to over-exaggerate the heat to dangerous levels, panicking any and all new users to the AMD line. This is due to how Ryzen runs under the hood, which Speccy’s developers haven’t gotten to fixing the bug.
Instead, if you’re on AMD, I’d recommend the Ryzen Master. This program is specifically for AMD’s AM4 Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs, aimed at giving you the most control over the processor through different profiles.
While I don’t personally recommend messing around with it if you’re a novice, a quick glance over gives you exactly the information you need, as well as how fast each core of the CPU is running.
There’s also a running graph if you press the drop-down, allowing you to choose which core to monitor or get an overall average.
Other options include CoreTemp, which provides a lot of detail about your CPU’s temperature. It’s also the perfect, lightweight tool for preventing your PC from killing itself due to overheating.
In the settings, there are options for overheating prevention and it’ll even give you the choice of shutting the PC down in the event of this. While I doubt many will need this, it’s ideal if you’re stress-testing the PC and can prevent a lot of unneeded trouble with repairs or replacing.
A real nice thing that Core Temp has over the others is the display in the tray, which most will just show an average or one core, Core Temp shows everything by user-set colours. In fact, once you get into the thick of the settings, you’ll begin to notice a lot more you can do with it than it first suggests.
Having the option to ping your CPU’s temperature down to a millisecond and also check how much power you’re currently drawing will give you great indicators of any tiny issues that could be plaguing your PC.
SpeedFan and FanControl
SpeedFan lets you directly control your fans, while also measuring temperatures, but should only be used by those who know what they’re doing. This is a great method of getting your computer to cool down without the need for hardware. Sometimes issues just need the simplest solutions.
However, it seems SpeedFan hasn’t been updated properly in a while, so I can only recommend this on the basis that you have an older PC or server that might need some assistance.
While SpeedFan is quite literally older than some of the people that browse this website and unfortunately, it appears that the changes in hardware have now superseded it. So one user has created their own, FanControl. This program acts in a very similar way but is a bit more modern in how it looks – it even does dark mode!
In the settings, you can set it to sit in the tray, but it’ll only monitor one core of the CPU. The upside is it’ll monitor your GPU temperatures and hardware connected directly to the motherboard, usually your hard drives.
Open Hardware Monitor
If you want the same level of information as Speccy, but without the fuss of thinking your entire computer might be reaching oven-like temperatures, Open Hardware Monitor is a lightweight and information-packed piece of software. This will detail things down to the voltage and watts your PC is currently dealing with.
The real nice thing about OHM, is that it doesn’t install, which will probably allow you to open it on PCs that are locked down in some capacity. Also, it just means you’re not clogging up your system with yet more software for a singular task.
Open Hardware Monitor is also great for seeing the specifics, as it’ll allow you to plot on a graph the current condition of your CPU’s temperature (or any other sensors on the motherboard!) for a fairly accurate reading and then data to work off to fix any issues.
Hardware to Consider
Of course, with everything on your PC, it can’t always be software that’s helping you along with different tasks. If you’re really in need of a boost to your cooling system, it might be time to swap out the included fan that came with your CPU or PC.
If you’re on a laptop, you might not be able to do this, so take a look at these best cooling trays for laptops.
While a more in-depth topic for another time, we do have recommendations on the best cooling apparatus for your PC, which can go from ridiculous water cooled solutions to just buying the right kind of heatsink for your CPU.
Extra Information about Windows 11
We’ve been covering CPUs and adjacent topics for Windows 11, so you can figure out if your CPU is compatible with Windows 11 and how to check if you have a TPM enabled CPU in the BIOS. We also have a jam-packed guide of the best CPUs for Microsoft’s upcoming OS and the best motherboards to pair with them if you’re in the market for a proper upgrade.
Want to get into Windows 11 early with your current PC? We’ve got the guide for you to get through the loops into the Microsoft Insider’s Program. If you don’t want to commit the whole computer to it, but get an idea of what’s coming in the Autumn, we also show you how to install it to a Virtual Machine.