MenuMeters is a set of CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring tools for Mac OS
X. Although there are numerous other programs which have similar functionality, none
have such an effective blend of capabilities and display convenience. The MenuMeters
monitors are true SystemUIServer plugins (also known as Menu Extras). This means
they can be rearranged using command-drag, and they remember their locations in the
menubar between logins and restarts. The MenuMeters are open source freeware released
under the GNU General Public License.
MenuMeters requires Mac OS 10.2 (Jaguar) or Mac OS 10.3 (Panther). My usage is based
The application can be downloaded as a .dmg file from VersionTracker, Mac Update
or the developers
site. To install
MenuMeters, just run the included installer application. If you are a first-time
MenuMeters user, then once installation is complete, you can simply open your System
Preferences application (in 10.2.8 it is located in the "Other" section
at the bottom of the panel) and click on the MenuMeters icon to start using MenuMeters.
If you are updating from an older version of MenuMeters, you must logout and log
back in to load the new version of MenuMeters. Terminal confident users can 'kill
-HUP' the SystemUIServer process, but be aware that this will restart/logout other
Menu Extras like iChat.
MenuMeters uses a combination of numeric and graphical icon to display real-time
system conditions on the menu bar. The functions that are monitored are CPU utilization,
disk activity, memory usage and network activity. You can choose to display any combination
of the monitors through the control panel accessible through System Preferences.
Clicking on the menu bar display opens a window with detailed information about that
activity and provides direct access to OS native utilities that manage the process.
CPU Meter Preferences
The CPU Meter can display
system load both as a total percentage, or broken out as user and system time. It
can also graph user and system load and display the load as a "thermometer".
The menu for the CPU Meter contains several bits of useful information like processor
number, type and speed, uptime, load average, and direct access to Process Viewer
and the Console.
Disk Activity Meter Preferences
The Disk Activity Meter
displays disk activity to local disks on the system. It is hotplug aware, and will
show activity on FireWire and USB disks as they are mounted. The Disk Meter menu
shows volume space details for local drives (it does not display mounted network
volumes for speed reasons).
Memory Meter Preferences
The Memory Meter can display
current memory usage as either a pie chart, thermometer, history graph, or as used/free
totals. The Memory Meter menu shows a breakdown of current memory usage and VM statistics.
The Memory Meter can optionally display a paging indicator light.
Network Meter Preferences
The Network Meter can
display network throughput as arrows, bytes per second, and/or as a graph. Both the
arrows and the graph are scaled using a user-selected scaling factor and calculation.
Scaling can be done on the basis of actual link speed reported by the network interface
or peak traffic and can use one of several scaling calculations. The Net Meter menu
shows current interfaces and their status. Interface information is gathered from
the SystemConfiguraton framework and thus is Mac OS X network location aware.
My Menu Bar Display with Menu Meters
Typically I keep the Net
Meter, Memory Pie Chart, and CPU Thermometer on my Menu Bar. I find the Net Meter
to be most useful in keeping me informed of transfer speeds when I am processing
uploads or downloads or just viewing web pages. The ability to directly open the
Process Viewer and the Console from the CPU display is also very helpful when trying
to diagnose sluggish or problematic processing activities. The use interface is quite
intuitive and easy to interpret. The Preferences (accessible through the System Preferences)
allow the user to adjust the type and color of indicators that are displayed in a
variety of ways. Though there is probably some speed affect form having these active
graphics on the screen, it is not noticeable even on older machines (266 and 400
MenuMeters are a useful and effective compliment to the Menu Bar in OS X. They provide
a variety of information on system hardware and network performance. Since they are
true "Menu Extras" (the standard Menu Extras can be found in /System/Library/CoreServices/),
they behave like the built in Sound and Display extras which means they are easily
rearranged and do not interfere with other, higher priority Menu items. They are
easy to install, appear to be quite reliable and provide useful and rapid access
to other Utility applications like the Console, Process Viewer and Network Utility.
I highly recommend it as a compliment to any Jaguar or Panther user.
- Very OS Compliant in
appearance and operation.
- Provide frequently used
- Do not consume much screen
- Adjustable to the user's
- Does not display CPU
temperature on some systems and not at all on 10.3.5 (this is really a hardware or
5 out of 5 Mice