Add CPU and memory meters to your Windows 7 taskbar
Scott Hanselman (@shanselman), for example, tipped users about a slick addition to your Windows 7 taskbar that you'll find over at Codeplex called Taskbar Meters.
Download developer Jeff Key's .zip file and extract the contents to a folder on your hard drive. Inside you'll find two executables - one for CPU and one for memory. Launch them, and the result is what you see in the screenshot.
The meters make use of the Windows 7 taskbar's progress indicator kung fu. Using the sliders in the ultra-simple options screens you can choose the update frequency and set at what percentage of utilization your indicators switch from green to yellow and then to red. Pin 'em to your taskbar and you've got a simple, Win7-friendly heads up display of your PC's vitals.
They're jumplist enabled as well, though right-clicking only gives you access to task manager (which you've always had by right-clicking the taskbar anyway) and the Windows Resource Monitor.
Each meter uses about 18Mb of ram and worked for me under both 32 and 64-bit builds of Windows 7.