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Windows System Information
Well, I decided it was time to write a full fledged article again. When I see a need, I
have to go with my techie geek feeling and write it up. What I have been feeling lately is that too few gamers know what is in their machine, let
alone how to find out. So here I have decided to write a little guide to show you the wonderful tools Windows 98 and ME have to offer and how you can help
yourself when it comes to needing techsupport.
Look it up
Included with Window98 and WindowsME is a handy tool call System Information. Go with me
now and explore this world. In your Start Menu go to Run and type: msinfo32 and hit OK. Give it a minute to come up, it has to take a review of your
system so it can give you the list. Right away it tells you who you are and what OS you are running as well as RAM, type of CPU and how long your computer
has been up and running.
Now you can
poke through all the categories such as Hardware and Components and there you will find what is in your box. One of the most important places to be
familiar with is IRQ's. In Device Manager, it does NOT always show a yellow exclamation mark when 2 devices are sharing an IRQ. Windows does not always
see that as a problem. But, your hardware might. Normally it is a VERY bad idea that your video card and soundcard, or your modem and your video card
share an IRQ. Now there are harmless items like IRQ Holder for PCI Steering, or the USB Universal Host Controller. Normally those are completely harmless
to share. So when you are experiencing problems, take a peek in there at your IRQs and see what is buddied up. Especially if you just installed
So what is your hardware? Well take a look under Components. In Advanced
mode it can be messy. If you just want to know what something is called,
leave it on Basic. But there is important information here. For one thing, the date of your drivers. And sometimes what drivers they
are. Be aware though that devices may be listed differently than you expected. For example, if you have a Voodoo2 card it will be listed under
Multimedia. Your 2D/3D card will be listed under Display. So again, poke through there and see what everything is called. When you need
techsupport, this is the best place to look at the name of your device and the date of your drivers. Then take a look at what happens when you click
on Advanced, it takes you to even more detail on those drivers.
Those are the 2 most important areas in System Information you will need to see. Now
on to Tools.
Tools and go to Directx Diagnostic. First thing you see there is what version of Directx you are running. No, not what you think you installed,
what is actually installed. This is the place to verify that you have not messed up your Directx and that your Hardware drivers function with
whatever version you installed. Once again, there is your CPU, RAM and who you are listed.
Directx Files This tab shows you a list of your
files. If a driver is not certified, it shows with a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it. This doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, but it does
if you have been experiencing Directx problems. There will be a piece of advice in the window below this list.
Here you can check on your Display driver performance with Directx. It is a great place to troubleshoot issues. You can directly check your video
performance in Directx by using the test buttons. It will also list any drivers that are not certified by Microsot as Directx compatible.
Sound Another good testing ground. To test your soundcard drivers in Directx
and discover any issues while playing Directx compatible games.
Network This is a tool not too many people pay attention to. But knowing
that your network is setup for Directplay is important if you plan to play one on one against friends or play any peer to peer games. Directplay drivers
are an important part of that function. It also shows you what games are Directplay compatible, something you may not have known previously.
More Help Exactly what it says. If you are still baffled by errors, you can
troubleshoot problems here.