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Finding out exactly what is on your Windows system with "msinfo32"


RV_

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On another thread Stan reminded me that I meant to pass along a good and easy way to find out what exactly is on your Windows computer systems. You simply run a command line elevated to admin privileges and type in msinfo32.exe!

 

I know, all the non tech types just rolled their eyes. It is really simple on Windows 8.1 or any other version to get a run command bar and elevate it. First you will need to use task manager. If you don't know what that is, it's time you learned. It shows a lot of info and you can explore it later.

 

To open task manager in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 just press the Ctrl/Shift/Esc keys at the same time and it pops up. We are only going to read the top line and click on the "File" menu tab. It is above "Processes" in 8.1 and 8, and 7 too I think. A small menu will drop down with only two choices, "Run a new Task" and under that "Exit." Click on Run a new task and this screen pops up:

 

 

In that pic I have already typed in msinfo32.exe, you will need to type in msinfo32.exe yourself then under it you need to click on the checkbox to "Create this task with administrative privileges." Then click OK. Up pops a screen with several selections on the left side and you can safely scroll through them all.

 

System Information lists categories in the left pane and details about each category in the right pane. The categories include:

 

• System Summary. Displays general information about your computer and the operating system, such as the computer name and manufacturer, the type of basic input/output system (BIOS) your computer uses, and the amount of memory that's installed.

• Hardware Resources. Displays advanced details about your computer's hardware, and is intended for IT professionals.

• Components. Displays information about disk drives, sound devices, modems, and other components installed on your computer.

• Software Environment. Displays information about drivers, network connections, and other program-related details.

 

To find a specific detail in System Information, type the information you're looking for in the Find what box at the bottom of the window. For example, to find your computer's Internet protocol (IP) address, type IP address in the Find what box, and then click Find.

 

Note

You can save System Information by clicking File, clicking Save, typing a name for the file, and then clicking Save again. Windows saves this information in the NFO file format. If you have trouble opening this file, you can save System Information in the TXT file format by clicking File, clicking Export, typing a name for the file, and then clicking Save.

 

Now before you close task manager just reduce it so it is now active on the task bar at the bottom. Now pin it to the task bar by right clicking on it and then clicking on "pin to task bar." Then just left click on it to open task manager again and close it. The button stays there. Now, if you see a suspicious amount of activity when surfing with whatever browser, or thing you clicked on a button that is downloading ,and want to quickly pull the plug on it and stop it before it finishes, just click on Task manager and click processes and under that will be what ever Apps are running, Apps in this case meaning Applications and Apps from the start screen. You'll see your browser there, in my case Internet Explorer, then just quickly left click on it once to highlight it and at the bottom right you will see the End Task button activate. Click it and it shuts down your browser. Don't worry you can reopen it again.

 

I keep task manager as a fast bailout if any application is in a loop, or any program starts acting up and I want it closed until I can figure out how to fix it.

 

There are many ways to get task manager open as you can see here: http://www.7tutorials.com/7-ways-launch-task-manager-windows-8 But I just pin it to the task bar because I use it a lot. That is fastest. One click on its button on the taskbar.

 

Warning. Do not start clicking on stuff in Task manager to see what happens. Look up task manager here for a full explanation.

 

Task manager can also show what is starting up when you boot in the "Startup" tab. It does not hurt anything to look around at each tab in Task manager, but disabling things in startup, or other processes you don't know, just to see what happens, can get you in deep trouble.

 

But if you are looking for a way to fix something and an article says to open a CMD line and run XXXX program escalated to administrator privileges you now know an easy way to do that, and use task manager too.

 

Questions?

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