A+: Verifying Hardware Details

Windows System Information gives information about your hardware; launch it with {Win-R}msinfo32.exe{Enter}. The earlier winmsd can still be run on Window XP and 2000 as well as msinfo32.

Belarc Advisor is a free download at http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html . It’s extremely quick and painless; all you need to do is double-click it once the download is complete. It will automatically install, look for updates, and create a profile of your computer that runs in a browser window. Here you will find all of the hardware-related (and software-related) information on one screen. It also gives you system security status.

SiSoftware Sandra Lite can also be found at http://www.sisoftware.co.uk .

The Windows 7 Compatibility Center is at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/ and the Windows Logo’d Products List (formerly the HCL) can be found at  http://winqual.microsoft.com/HCL/Default.aspx?m=x

For computers without an installed operating system, use self-booting diagnostic programs such as

    • #1-TuffTEST (available from http://www.tufftest.com/)

    • PC Check (available from http://www.eurosoft-uk.com)

The Windows Vista DVD has a “Check compatibility online” option, but this is meant for upgrades as opposed to clean installations. More on this in the section titled “Upgrading Operating Systems” later in this chapter.