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Registered: 06-2006
Location: Castle Belgalor
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What's In My Computer: Diagnostic Utility

PCs are wonderful until they go wrong and you have to deal with telephone technical support. Once you’ve mastered the call-waiting system which can be a nightmare in it's self emoticon, you get hammered by a barrage of questions from a technical expert who doesn’t seem to realise you neither know nor care what’s inside your PC.

Before this happens, start up ‘What’s In My Computer?’ program. It provides information about the most important hardware components inside a Windows XP PC. With enough technical know-how, the same information can be gathered manually, but ‘What’s In My Computer?’ does it all automatically for you emoticon

On each of the first four screens of the setup wizard click on Next, and on the fifth screen click on Install. Installation takes only a few seconds, after which you should click on Finish. The program then starts automatically.

Down the left-hand side of the screen is a list showing seven key features of the PC, and on the right is a window where information about the currently selected feature is displayed.

By default, this window automatically displays information about which version of Windows XP is installed, and whether any service packs have been added to it.

The first thing technical support will want to know (after determining which version of Windows you’re using) is how much memory is inside your PC. To find out, click on Memory on the left of the screen. In the picture below, two memory modules of 512MB are installed in each of the memory banks, making a total of 1024MB (equivalent to 1GB). Both modules are of the same speed (333MHz, which is as it should be, and unless you run very demanding software, this is ample for Windows XP.

If Windows is to run smoothly, disk capacity is almost as important as memory: a system that is starved of either will soon become unstable. Click on Hard Drives and you’ll find everything about the storage drive inside the PC. The two most significant facts are its size (152.66GB in my example below) and whether it is partitioned.

Partitioning is a way of logically dividing a drive so that each division is treated by Windows as a separate disk. If there are genuinely two hard disks inside your PC, they will be listed one after the other.

The speed and type of processor inside a PC has an impact on overall performance, and some programs will only run effectively if the processor meets certain specifications. A tech-support specialist will be able to make good use of the details displayed by a click on Processor.

Incidentally, don’t be alarmed if the speed implied by the processor’s name (in this case Athlon 2000+) is not matched by the current clock speed (1660MHz). It has long been the norm for processor manufacturers, especially AMD, to badge processors by their perceived speed rather than their actual speed.

The other three items that can be examined with the program are the network adapter, video adapter and motherboard. It’s not unusual for the program to only partially succeed in listing some of their features, especially with motherboards. This isn’t a problem with the program, it’s just that some manufacturers don’t make their hardware easy to identify.

However, with a make and model number it’s usually not too difficult to fill in the gaps by searching the internet, using a search engine such as Google.

Image << Click to download the program

emoticon Wiz's Tip
Choose to save the file rather than open it, and in the Save As dialogue box select Windows Desktop as the location for the file. If the Save As dialogue box does not close automatically, click on the Close button in the top right-hand corner.

To start installing the program, double-click the file called Setup.exe on the Windows Desktop.
10/2/07, 11:38 Link to this Post Send a PM to this person Blog

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