Want to know more about your computer? Many
software download websites offer all kinds of tools, many of them are
freeware or shareware that will help you learn more about how your computer
functions or that help you change your settings.
However, most of these tools are already built into windows and you don’t
need to download extra software to do these things. In this article I will
be discussing one of those tools called MSINFO32.
Go to “start” on your taskbar, then to “run”. Type in or copy MSINFO32 into
the run box. Click okay. A tool will popup. I’ll
go over it with you as you read this article.
Click the plus sign next to “Hardware Resources” Now select
Conflicts/Sharing. This shows you the IRQ addresses your computer’s hardware
is using. If there are any conflicts, it will tell you here.
Next is “DMA” which according to
http://www.x-emi.com/tech_terms.html , DMA is defined as “Direct Memory
Access. A technique for transferring data from main memory to a device
without passing it through the CPU. Computers that have DMA channels can
transfer data to and from devices much more quickly than computers without a
DMA channel. This is useful for making quick backups and for real-time
applications. Some expansion boards, such as CD-ROM cards, are capable of
accessing the computer’s DMA channel.” That explains it better than I could
The next option is “forced hardware”. This is hardware that is not plug in
play compatible and where the user manually configures the settings rather
than the system doing so automatically. legacy Industry Standard
Architecture (ISA) devices are an example of forced hardware. You likely do
not have any forced hardware on your system unless you are an advanced user.
Next is I/O which are Input/output settings." These settings refer to
sending data to and from devices. Again unless you are a very advanced user,
there isn’t much for you to do here.
Now click IRQ. This stands for Interrupt Request and is an electronic
request from a hardware device to your CPU. There should be only one device
hooked up to each IRQ line; doubling up devices on IRQ lines can lock up
your system. Most of your hardware comes with preset settings that do not
conflict with other devices.
If you do end up with an IRQ conflict, you can choose the device in “device
manager” and change the settings assigning a new IRQ address that is not
being used to the problem hardware. Most of the time you should allow a
technician to do that for you.
The next choice is “memory”. This is the memory blocks that your hardware
uses and again your hardware is usually set up so
that it automatically configures this for you.
Click the plus sign by “components” now. Each computer has different
hardware, but information about each piece of computer hardware you have is
located here. Also, there is a “problem devices” choice as well. Hopefully
when you click here
it says, “There are no devices with problems on this machine.”
The history option is good for computer techs because it gives them an idea
of what has been installed and when along with
other important information that can help them fix your computer.
If you click the plus sign next to software environment, you will see
several choices. You will find information about the
drivers that are installed, software updates, and more depending on what
software you have installed.
In this general area you can select Basic Information, Advanced Information,
or History for each of the items we have discussed here. It’s a good thing
to know how to access your computer’s information if you are getting tech
support by phone or in a tech support forum.
Now at the top, go to tools. You will see a “repair Internet Explorer” tab.
Don’t go there unless you are having problems
with Internet Explorer, but if you are, this will help you make repairs to
it. This is also where you can go to add components
to Internet Explorer.
Now the DirectX Diagnostic tool. This is a step by step easy to understand
wizard that will help you make sure DirectX is
working properly on your system or needs to be updated. Run through all the
tests for sound and video.
The windows report tool is where you can contact Microsoft support about
problems. I don’t know if this actually works
anymore or if Microsoft is even listening. Try it out and see.
Most of the other tools I ignore except for the system file checker. This is
a handy tool you should run to check if any system files have been changed
or damaged since being installed. It’s good to run this about once per
month. If it finds damaged or changed system files it will prompt you to ask
you what you want to do. Just follow the instructions. You will probably
need your operating system CD if you want to replace a system file that has
I hope this article has helped you learn a little more about the computer
you use and has helped you to learn that many tools that you need are
already built into your computer if you know how to find them.
About The Author: D. David Dugan personally helps to maintain
their computer support forum at
well as their Spyware Information site