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Windows XP System Utilities Overview

When you computer is not functioning properly it can be a stressful, temper raising experience especially when you don’t know what is causing the computer to have a meltdown. When a computer is not responding or working as it should be there can be many reasons that the problems are occurring such as defective hardware or rogue software.

The hardest part is trying to determine what is causing the issue so the problem can be corrected. In some instances the problem is apparent such as a hard drive failure or when a software package displays and error message but in many instances there is no apparent reason for the problem – this makes diagnosing the issue difficult – but not impossible!

There are several utilities in Windows XP that can be used to determine what is causing the problems but be warned that even with these utilities it can still be a challenge to find the problem – look at these utilities as help and not die-hard solutions to a computer issue.

Below is a quick outline of two utilities that provide information tools to help find what is wrong with your system. Because the utilities provide so much information and detail they will each be explored in more detail in future articles – this article is an introduction to the utilities which are the System Information and System Configuration Utility.

Launch System Information
  1. Click Start | Run

  2. Type msinfo32

  3. Click OK

The system information utility will be displayed and will list the different resources, components, software environment, Internet setting, installed software and settings for the computer. This information is useful for diagnosing and fixing issues with the computer or if you just need an overview of the configuration.

To determine different settings for various categories click on the + next to the category to expand the list of subcategories available for review. The information provided will vary depending on the component selected. For example a device driver might provide the driver name and manufacturer while software information may include the version and configuration.

Launce System Configuration Utility
  1. Click Start |Run

  2. Type msconfig

  3. Click OK

The system configuration utility allows you to configure various settings and services on your system. The system configuration utility allows the user to view the various configuration files including the SYSTEM.INI, WIN.INI and BOOT.INI along with configured services and startup information.

This utility is great for detecting issues with rogue software that may be slowing down or causing your system to crash. It is also very useful for finding software or services that are running that should not be installed on the system such as viruses and spyware.

Feel free to try each of the utilities out to see what they offer for information and troubleshooting tools. You can learn a lot about your system by just seeing what is installed for hardware, software and services running on the system.

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