COMPUTER REPAIR GUIDE: How to Check Your Computer’s CPU Temperature
Updated: Mar 21
The temperature of your computer’s processor is pretty vital for keeping it healthy. After all, being the hotspot of calculations within your computer, it’s a good idea to keep it cool! Processors that get a little too hot can cause all kinds of issues with your computer. It might throttle itself to keep cool, which will mean less processing power overall. In dire situations it will cause the computer to BSOD, freeze, or even shut down or restart itself.
As such, it’s a good idea to check on your temperatures every so often. This is especially true if you put your laptop in situations where it might overheat, such as on your blanket or duvet as you use the laptop in bed. In this article we’ll explore the different ways you can check CPU temperature in Windows 10.
How to monitor your computer's CPU temperature?
The fastest, easiest way to check your CPU temp is using the aptly named Core Temp. Be mindful during installation though! Like many free programs, it tries to install bloatware unless you uncheck some boxes during setup.
Once installed, open Core Temp to see a no-frills look at the current state of your CPU, including an average temperature reading at the bottom of the window. If you want even more detail, click the Show hidden icons button in the system tray located at the right edge of your Windows taskbar. You’ll see a temperature listing for every individual CPU core in your computer.
Designed with gamers in mind, and for those who want to overclock their PCs, MSI Afterburner doubles up as an excellent tool to monitor your PC temperatures. Once you’ve installed and opened Afterburner, you should see a graph on its home screen showing you your GPU temperature, CPU temperature, and various other data.
To reorder the graphs and prioritize CPU temperature so it appears near the top, click “Settings” in Afterburner, then the Monitoring tab. Here you’ll see a menu where you can tick which things you want displayed on the home screen, and drag to the top the things you want to appear near the top. Just drag “CPU1 temperature”, “CPU2 temperature”, and all the other CPU temperatures near the top of the graph, click OK, and they’ll appear on the home screen in the order you chose.
Open Hardware Monitor
Open Hardware Monitor is a nice solution for getting all your needed statistics in one place. This will be able to tell you what your CPU’s temperatures are as well as your GPU’s temperature, the voltages being used in your computer, and even how fast your system fans are going. This makes it a robust tool that allows you to keep an eye on all your system temperatures. You can find your CPU’s temperature under the category with your CPU’s name in it. A lot of these temperature monitors allow you to put readings onto your taskbar. This is particularly useful if you’re doing system-intensive tasks and want to keep an eye on your temperatures without darting back and forth between the active window and the system monitor. If you’d like to see the CPU temperature in the taskbar, right-click the temperature itself and click “Show in Tray.”
If you’d like something a little more focused on the processor itself, Core Temp is a good choice when you need to check CPU temperature in Windows 10. It gives you everything you may want to know about your processor such as its name, the cores it uses, and – most importantly – its temperature. It will even inform you of your processor’s T Junction limit, listed as “Tj. Max” above your temperatures.
If you’d like to see the temperature in the system tray, it should be enabled by default. If it’s not, click “Options,” then “Settings.”
Click the “Windows Taskbar” tab, then “Enable Windows 7 Taskbar features,” followed by “Temperature,” then “OK.”
Another all-in-one suite, Speccy, comes as a nice package of various systems diagnostics, including the ability to check CPU temperature in Windows 10. As soon as you open Speccy, you’re shown all the relevant temperatures you need to know for a healthy laptop. It’s also great for digging up information on your system, so make sure you remember this application should you need information about your operating system or motherboard, for instance.
If you click on “CPU” on the left, you can get more focused information on your processor.
If you’d like the temperature to appear in the tray, click “View,” then “Options.”
Click “System tray,” then “Minimize to tray,” followed by “Display metrics in tray,” then select “CPU.”
Now when you minimize Speccy, you can keep tabs on how hot your CPU is running as you do other things.
What’s the best temperature for your CPU?
The maximum supported temperature varies from processor to processor. Most of the free monitoring software mentioned above lists the information as “Tj. Max.” That stands for the temperature junction, or the highest operating temperature of the hardware. If you don’t see the information for some reason, search the CPU World website for your CPU’s model number to find the information. Every program listed above displays your processor’s model number, so it’s easy to find.
But that’s the maximum temperature—the point at which your processor freaks out and shuts down to avoid damage. Running anywhere near that hot regularly is bad for the long-term life of your hardware. Instead, follow this general rule of thumb regarding CPU temperatures under load.
Under 60° C: You’re running great!
60° C to 70° C: Still running fine, but getting a bit warmer. Consider cleaning the dust out of your PC if CPU temperatures continue to creep up over time.
70° C to 80° C: This is hotter than you want to run unless you’re pushing an overclock. If you’re not, definitely check to make sure your fans are working and there aren’t dust bunnies clogging up your system’s airflow.
80° C to 90° C: Now we’re getting too hot for long-term comfort. Check your hardware for broken fans or dust build-up, and if you’re overclocking, dial back your settings—especially the voltage if you’ve tweaked it. One notable exception: We sometimes see more powerful laptop processors hit the low 80s during gaming sessions when plugged in, at which point they start throttling back performance. This is expected, but if temperatures cross 85° C, be concerned.
Over 90° C: Danger, Will Robinson!