Desktop SoftwareSystem Administration

Software Review: Rubber Ducky System Monitor

Today I am reviewing a tiny, free, handy piece of software for end-users: Rubber Ducky System Monitor by MimarSinan International. The program is a tiny application which gives even a novice user a simple, easy to read display which tells them how busy their system is and identify potential problems. Performance MonitorI realize that some of the tools that IT professionals use to diagnose system problems might be a bit daunting to end users. Take Performance Monitor, for example. While this utility provides a lot of useful, detailed information, when most users look at these, they say “What am I looking at? This is too technical,” and shut down. I admit, an end user should not care what “Pages/Sec” or “Avg. Disk Queue Length” mean. Heck, most says I don’t even want to know what they mean!

ducky1Enter Rubber Ducky. This utility presents your system’s performance as an aquarium with five components: water (physical and virtual memory), fish (network traffic), plants (hard drive activity), bubbles (CPU activity), and, of course, the Rubber Ducky.

ducky2Each of these components tells you something about your system. If the water level is too high, it means your computer is using up all of its memory, and the poor little ducky will drown. If the water is muddy, it similarly means that your machine is using too much virtual memory. Both of these are symptoms of not enough memory in your computer and are usually easily addressed by purchasing and installing more. After all, you can never have too much memory.

ducky4The fish represent network traffic. If you are downloading large files, streaming music, etc., you will see more fish than normal. If your computer is not doing anything, and you see a lot of fish, then something else is probably going on the background (possibly some sort of malware, doing things like using your machine to send spam and viruses), and it may be worth investigating.

ducky5The plants indicate hard drive activity. Lots of plants? Your drive may be overused or again, something you don’t know about could be using the drive. Perhaps an automated backup is running, or maybe something has gone wrong.

ducky6Finally, the bubbles indicate the CPU usage. Lots of bubbles? Your system is either underpowered or there may be a runaway program that is monopolizing the processor.

While Rubber Ducky System Monitor is not an in-depth diagnostic tool, it does provide a friendly, easy to read display that anyone can easily understand. I recommend this for users who want to understand their system’s performance without having to dive deep into the guts of Windows to do so. Plus, it makes a squeaky sound like a real rubber ducky when you click on it. How cute is that?

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