A+: DxDiag

When it comes to making sure your devices are working properly, one of the most important is the video card, and a utility you can use to analyze and diagnose the video card is DxDiag. To run the DxDiag program, open the Run prompt and type dxdiag. 

First, the utility asks if you want it to check whether the corresponding drivers are digitally signed. A digitally signed driver means it is one that has been verified by Microsoft as compatible with the operating system. After the utility opens, you can find out what version of DirectX you are running. 

DirectX is a group of multimedia programs that enhance video and audio, including Direct3D, DirectDraw, DirectSound, and so on. With the DxDiag tool, you can view all the DirectX files that have been loaded, check their date, and discern whether any problems were found with the files. You can also find out information about your video and sound card, what level of acceleration they are set to, and test DirectX components such as DirectDraw and Direct3D. Windows 7 ships with DirectX 11, Windows Vista ships with DirectX version 10, and Windows XP currently can use up to DirectX 9.0c.

The latest DirectX features are important to video gamers and other multimedia professionals.