System Information

System Information is located under System Tools in the Computer Management snap-in. System Information collects and displays configuration information to help support personnel diagnose and correct problems. This tool displays the required data to resolve problems, including information about hardware, system components, and the software environment. More specifically, the tool can be used to gather information about the following:

  • Hardware Resources displays hardware resource settings such as direct memory access (DMA) interrupt requests (IRQs), input/output (I/O) addresses, and memory addresses.

  • Components displays information about the Windows 2000 configuration and is used to determine the status of peripheral devices, ports, and universal serial bus (USB) connections.

  • Software Environment displays a snapshot of drivers, environment variables, tasks, and services loaded into computer memory. This information can be used to see if a process is still running or to check version information.



You can use the View menu of the Computer Management snap-in to switch between the display of Basic and Advanced information. The Advanced view shows the information in the Basic view and additional information that might be of interest to more advanced users or to Product Support Services.

System Information Categories

The information displayed by System Information is divided into five categories: System Summary, Hardware Resources, Components, Software Environment, and Internet Explorer 5. The categories and subcategories displayed in System Information can be used for troubleshooting.



Hardware information is not available in safe mode. While System Information can run in safe mode, it is limited to displaying system components and the software environment.

System Information allows you to save, export, and print system information.

System Summary

System Summary provides general information about your computer system. This includes information about the version of Windows that you are running, including the installation folder, the amount of physical and virtual memory, the locale and local time zone, and information about system hardware, including basic input/output system (BIOS), central processing unit (CPU), memory, and other system resources. Use this information at the beginning of the troubleshooting process to develop a basic picture of the environment in which the problem occurs.

Hardware Resources

Hardware Resources displays hardware-specific settings, such as assigned or used IRQs, I/O addresses, and memory addresses. Table 14.1 describes the information provided in Hardware Resources.

Table   14.1 Hardware Resources




Identifies resource conflicts between Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) devices or Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) devices. Use this information to help you identify hardware conflicts or troubleshoot a nonworking device.


Reports the DMA channels in use, the devices using them, and those free for use.

Forced Hardware

Lists hardware devices that have user-specified resources as opposed to system-specified resources. This information is useful when troubleshooting Plug and Play resource conflicts.


Lists all I/O port ranges in use and the devices using each range.


Summarizes IRQ usage, identifying the devices using the IRQs and showing free IRQs.


Lists memory address ranges in use by devices.


Components displays information about your Windows 2000 system configuration, including information about the status of peripheral devices, ports, and USB connections. There is also a summary of problem devices. Table 14.2 defines some of the items that can be listed in Components.

Table   14.2 Component Item Definitions




Lists sound card information, audio and video codecs loaded, and drive letter and model of the CD-ROM drive. With a data CD-ROM in the drive, MSInfo also performs a data transfer test.


Lists video card information and current video configuration.


Lists infrared device information.


Lists keyboard and pointer device information.


Lists modem information.


Lists network adapter, protocol, and Winsock information.


Lists serial and parallel port information.


Lists information on hard disk drives, floppy disk drives, removable storage, and controllers.


Lists installed printers and printer drivers.

Problem Devices

Lists devices with problems. Each device flagged in Device Manager is displayed with the corresponding status information.


Lists USB controllers and drivers installed.

Software Environment

Software Environment displays a snapshot of the software installed on the computer. Table 14.3 defines some of the software components that can be listed in Software Environment.

Table   14.3 Software Environment




Lists all drivers loaded, if they are currently running, and their status.

Environment Variables

Lists all system environment variables and their values.


Lists all open jobs, including print jobs.

Network Connections

Lists all mapped network connections.

Running Tasks

Lists all processes currently running on the system.

Loaded Modules

Lists loaded system-level dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) and programs, along with their version numbers, size, file date, and path. This is for debugging software problems, such as application faults.


Lists all system services available to the system, showing current run status and start mode.

Program Groups

Lists all existing program groups for all known users of the system.

Startup Programs

Lists programs started automatically from the registry, the Startup menu, or Win.ini.

OLE Registration

Lists object linking and embedding (OLE) file associations that are controlled by the registry.

Internet Explorer 5

The information provided by Internet Explorer 5 includes Summary, File Versions, Connectivity, Cache, and Content.

Tools Menu

The Tools menu lists several key support tools that can be used for troubleshooting. The Tools menu is available in the Computer Management snap-in.

Disk Cleanup

Sometimes Windows 2000 uses files for a specific operation and then retains them in a folder designated for temporary files. You might also have previously installed Windows 2000 components that you are no longer using. To avoid running out of space on your hard disk drive, you can reduce the number of files on your disk, or create more free space. Disk Cleanup searches your drive and shows you files that you can safely delete. You can choose to delete some or all of those files.

Dr. Watson for Windows 2000

Dr. Watson for Windows 2000 detects errors in programs, diagnoses errors, and logs diagnostic information. The Dr. Watson for Windows 2000 log file, drwtsn32.log, can be sent to support personnel to help diagnose problems. If a program error occurs, Dr. Watson for Windows 2000 starts automatically. To start Dr. Watson manually, click Dr. Watson in the Tools menu. For more information about Dr. Watson for Windows 2000, see Windows 2000 Server Help.

DirectX Diagnostic

The DirectX Diagnostic Tool is a Windows-based DirectX tool that presents information about the components and drivers of the Microsoft® DirectX® application programming interface (API) installed on your system. The DirectX Diagnostic Tool helps you test the functionality of DirectX, diagnose problems, and configure your system to optimize DirectX performance. Administrators and users can test sound and graphics output, test DirectPlay service providers, and disable some hardware acceleration features. You can use the DirectX Diagnostic Tools to gather information for a support technician.

Hardware Wizard

If a device is not Plug and Play, you might have to use the Hardware wizard in the Tools menu to tell Windows 2000 what type of device you are installing. After the device is detected or you identify the device using the Hardware wizard, Windows 2000 might ask you to insert the Windows 2000 Setup CD or the manufacturer's disk so it can load the proper device drivers. After the device drivers are loaded onto your system, Windows 2000 configures the properties and settings for the device.



Allow Windows 2000 to configure the device properties and settings, don't do it yourself, unless absolutely necessary. If you manually configure properties and settings, the settings become fixed, and Windows 2000 cannot modify them in the future if a problem arises or if there is a conflict with another device.

You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group to configure a device using the Hardware wizard.

Network Connections

Network Connections opens the Network and Dial-up Connections folder which contains network connections for your computer and a wizard to help you create a new connection. From this folder, you can open a connection, create a new connection, access the settings and components of a connection, identify your computer on the network, and add additional networking components.


Backup protects data from accidental loss in the event of hardware or storage media failure. You can use Backup to create a duplicate copy of the data on your hard disk and archive the data on another storage device such as a hard disk or a tape. If the original data on your hard disk is accidentally erased or overwritten, or becomes inaccessible because of a hard disk malfunction, you can easily restore the data from the archived copy.

For more information about using Backup and creating a backup plan, see Windows 2000 Help and "Backup" in this book.

File Signature Verification Utility

If system files are overwritten by unsigned or incompatible versions, system instability can result. The system files provided with Windows 2000 have a digital signature which indicates that the files are original, unaltered system files or that they have been approved by Microsoft for use with Windows 2000. The file signature verification utility ensures system integrity by detecting changes to critical system files digitally signed by Microsoft. The Advanced option in the File Signature Verification dialog box allows you to save the file signature verification results to a log file and to search using the following criteria:

  • System files that are not signed.

  • Other files that are not digitally signed.

Update Wizard Uninstall

Update Wizard Uninstall is a tool that you can use to remove a patch, driver, or system file that was installed from Windows Update and to restore the previous version of the file.

You can also remove a patch, driver, or system file and restore the previous version of the file by connecting to the Windows Update Web page and following instructions to uninstall. However, if you do not have an Internet connection when you want to restore a previous version of the file, you can use Update Wizard Uninstall to accomplish the task instead.

Windows Report Tool

The Windows Report Tool collects information about your computer that can be used by support personnel to diagnose and troubleshoot problems. This tool provides a description of the problem, the expected results, and the steps required to reproduce the problem. The Windows Report Tool collects system files to help technicians make their diagnoses. You can also change system file selections.

The Windows Report Tool takes a snapshot of your computer settings and selected system and application files. This snapshot can be submitted to a computer manufacturer, software vendor, or support personnel, such as by e-mail.