Tools to Detect Problems on a Computer

by Suqing Wang

There are various issues or problems regarding computer hardware, software and networking from time to time. It is useful to understand and master a few simple troubleshooting tools to address commonly encountered problems. When your computer has problems and you don't know the causes, these detection tools are appropriate choices.

System Information

System information is a Windows-based tool which gathers and shows configuration information to assist diagnosis and fix problems. This tool can rapidly illustrate the required data to existing problems regarding the following categories: System Summary illustrates main information about the system including version of the operating system, the computer's NetBIOS name, model type and memory information. Hardware Resources include hardware resources settings such as direct memory access and memory addresses. This tool also provides information about software environment, components and applications. To use this tool, from the Start menu click "Run," and then enter "msinfo32." You can now view the aforementioned system information in an opened window. Click on the different categories to view required information.

The DirectX Diagnostic Tool (DXDiag)

DXDiag is another Windows-based DirectX tool which detects and reports information about the DirectX components and drivers installed on your computer system. DirectX is a set of multimedia Application Programming Interfaces (API's) defined by Microsoft. This DirectX tool is used to assess sound and graphics output and DirectPlay service providers. To use this tool, click "Start" and "Run," and then type "dxdiag." There are four tabs in the DirectX Diagnostic Tool, including "System," "Display," "Sound" and "Input." Click on a tab to view related information. "System" shows system information about your computer and the DirectX version installed. "Display" shows information about graphic card, display mode and drivers. The "Sound" tab displays sound setting while Input lists the input devices and drivers' status.

Registry Mechanic

The registry in Windows operating systems includes information regarding how the hardware and software on your computer run. The information is organized and kept in a list of database files and shown in a tree format by the registry editors. Although you are allowed to edit the registry information, you don't usually do so, as inappropriate alterations can make your system crash. Registry Mechanic is a good alternative tool for safely scanning, cleaning and fixing registry problems. Windows registry problems are a common cause of Windows crashes and error messages. Registry problems can take place for many reasons, including untidy uninstalled programs and faulty hardware drivers. Registry Mechanic can scan your whole registry, detect any invalid entries and report the errors found. You can then try to repair these problems after backing up your system.

About the Author

Suqing Wang started writing professionally in 2008. Her writing expertise is in education and information technology. Wang's articles have appeared in "The Engineering of Computers" and in various online publications. She has spent many years lecturing on information technology. Wang earned a Master of Engineering in computing from Shandong University in China.

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