Video Transcript

Hi, this is Jeff Hicks. Today I want to show you some ways to use some tools in Windows 7 to gather some advanced system information. This is the type of information that could be of great assistance in troubleshooting a problem or just trying to identify areas where something might be going wrong in the future, so you can nip it the bud.

First thing I want to bring up here in my Windows 7 Desktops is the Windows Control Panel | System and Security | System. Most of you have seen these WinSat scores, which as you can see on my virtual machine the video doesn't give me a great score. That is a good place to get started. One thing you can do with this, if you look at this experience index you have an option here to view and print. So, there is a little bit of information here about hard drive storage, graphics, and network that you could print and save to a file. If you have a PDF printer, that is a great way to get some electronic digital documentation. But I want to come over here to Advanced Tools and the first thing I want to show you is Generate a system health report. This brings up a new tool in Windows 7 that will gather information, takes about a minute or so, with performance counters and a snap shot picture of what your computer looks like performance-wise and also some good configuration information. I'm going to let that run.' Let's minimize that.

Let's look at another tool. I want to open up here to view Advanced System Details in System Information. This is a terrific tool that you can use to build some baseline information. The first part here you get is a nice summary of local computer and its configuration. You can see on the other pane here I have a navigation to look at other components regarding my computer. I can look at Adaptor information and it will review this. A lot of this information comes from WMI which means we could also get a lot of this with PowerShell and the Get-Wmiobject cmdlet, and also jumping down here to the software environment, there is a great way to discover all about the system drivers on this machine. You can come here and save this information in a special NFO file. So you can create NFO files from your machines and then bring them up and open them when you want to see what has changed. There is also an option here to export if you want to save all the information to a text file. Personally I prefer the NFO option.

What I like about this tool is that you can also connect to a remote computer. I am going to connect to the domain controller in my test network, \\coredc-01. There are no provisions for alternate credentials, so you will have to make sure you are logged on appropriately. I get the same information, the software environment, and the system drivers on that machine. You can click on the column heading, again you have the same exporting and printing and saving information that you had before.

I'm going to go back to my performance and this should be finished here. What you end up with is this System Diagnostic Report that you can save or email to someone. You have here some nice warnings about what is going on. I am jumping down here to things like hardware configuration, I can look at disk checks and look and expand the smart disk status. I can look at logical disks. I can go down here to BIOS and see what the BIOS is.' You can see a lot of this comes from WMI and I can keep whittling down and get some terrific detailed information. This is all fantastic information that will help you see what is happening on the computer.

Unfortunately this does not work remotely.' You would have to do this in an interactive Windows session to do a lot more with remote diagnostic or system information. I would resort to Windows PowerShell or use msinfo32 which is that system information I just showed you. Come here and do msinfo32 /computer \\coerdc01 and now I'm connected to that computer. So you can run that from a command line and there are some options to save that information to a file as well.

So there is a quick peek at using some advanced tools in Windows 7 to gather some very detailed system information. I hope you find it useful, thank you.