1. The article [Q308549] describes the System Information tool (Msinfo32.exe) used to diagnose issues or to access other tools and to gather information about your computer such as devices that are installed or device drivers that are loaded, and provides a menu for displaying the associated system topics (Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools or Start, Run, type msinfo32.exe, and then press Enter). System Information is divided into the following five categories:
Note: If you install an update from the Update site and it fails to meet your expectations, restore the original files by running the Update Wizard Uninstall from the Tools menu. If your computer worked fine yesterday, but is not working properly today, try restoring yesterday's configuration files by running the System Restore utility from the Tools menu in the System Information tool.
a. Click Start, Help and Support. Click the Support button on the toolbar, and then, under Tools and Links on the left side of the window, click Advanced System Information. In the details pane, click View detailed system information.
Note: The Tools menu contains several tools: WMI Controls, System Restore, Network Diagnostics, DirectX Diagnostics Tool, Update Wizard Uninstall, Signature Verification Tool, Registry Checker, Automatic Skip Driver Agent, Dr. Watson, System Configuration Utility, and ScanDisk.
(1) In the Find what box at the bottom of the window, type the word or words that correspond to the system information wanted.
Note: If the Find options do not appear at the bottom of the window, on the Edit menu, click Hide Find to clear the check mark and restore the options.
(2) Select the appropriate search option:
(a) To search only through a portion of the console tree, select the Search selected category only check box. This starts the search at the top of the currently selected category and searches all of its subcategories. To start the search at the root, clear this check box.
(b) To search only the categories in the console tree for a match, ignoring any matches in the details pane, select the Search category names only check box. To search both the console tree and details pane, clear this check box.
(c) To search all categories in both panes, clear both check boxes.
(d) Click Find.
b. To open a saved System Information file:
(1) Click File, Open and in Look in, click the file location.
(2) In Files of type, click the type of file that you want to open -- default is .nfo.
(3) Click the name of the file, or in File name type the name of the file, and then click Open.
c. To print the system data from a System Information file:
(1) Click File, Print and in the Print range, specify the system data that you want to print:
(a) Click All to print all of the system data.
(b) Click Selection to print the currently selected category and all its subcategories.
(c) Click Pages, and then specify the page numbers in from and to, to print a range of pages of the system data.
d. Printed output, especially when exporting multiple categories can be very large. Check the options to limit categories.
2. The article [Q307733] warns that when you click Find information about the hardware installed on his computer under My Computer Information in Help and Support Center, the following error message may be received and occurs when the information collection is 9 percent complete (when Help and Support is collecting local disk information). When this occurs, the collecting of information stops, and the mouse pointer becomes a "busy" (or hourglass) pointer. However, you can still move the mouse pointer and continue working in Help and Support Center:
'all.part2' is null, or it is not an object
Note: Since this tool is supposed to displays information regarding direct memory access (DMA) channels, free and used interrupt request (IRQ) lines, device conflicts, and resource sharing and hardware resources, I would have to assume that if there is major problem in one or more of these areas which the tool cannot sort out, it may not run.
a. The article [Q310751] states that when attempting to configure the direct memory access and programmed input/output (DMA/PIO) settings for a device on a WinXP-based computer, the settings may not be found in the Properties dialog box. This behavior occurs because the DMA/PIO settings are configured for each controller instead of for each device. Depending on the option set for Transfer Mode, simply changing it from PIO Only to DMA if available and then back again may cure certain anomalies.
b. The article [Q304853] states that when upgrading a Sony computer from WinME to WinXP HE, the startup sound may plays irregularly when the computer starts, and can occur because direct memory access (DMA) is not the default setting for integrated device electronics (IDE) devices.
c. The article [Q327805] states that after installing WinXP SP1, ATA-133 (Ultra DMA Mode 6) devices are not enabled even though SP1 supports it. Since Ultra DMA Mode 6 devices were not supported prior to SP1, they are not installed/reinstalled in the process.
d. The article [Q310592] describes the subkeys contained in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Enum for the specific hardware components entries for Plug and Play components of the BIOS (this includes timers, controllers, and direct memory access [DMA] chips). Each BIOS subkey starts with the string *PNP and is followed by a four-digit number that represents classes by which the components are grouped.
e. Supplemental reading:
(1) "HOW TO: Manage Devices in Windows XP (Q283658)."
(2) "Abit Hot Rod DMA 366 IDE Expansion Adapter Does Not Work After Windows XP Upgrade (Q305028)."
(3) "HOW TO: Configure Devices By Using Device Manager in Windows XP (Q307970)."
(4) "Description of Ultra DMA (Q308541)."
(5) "Explanation of Error Codes Generated by Device Manager (Q310123)."
(6) "Programming of Transfer Mode Speed Is Not Supported by Atapi.sys When You Hot or Warm Swap Drives (Q323760)."
3. Task Kill (Tskill.exe) is a command-line tool used to end one or more processes. You can end processes by using a command-line parameter to Tskill.exe that specifies the process identifier (PID) or any part of the process name, such as the title of the application's main window. Use Task Kill for troubleshooting when you suspect that faulty services or applications that stop responding or consume excessive system resources might be adversely affecting the performance of your system. Symptoms typically include sluggish performance, slow screen updates, delayed response to network requests, or slow response to keyboard and mouse input.
a. You can obtain a list of process names and IDs by using a related tool, Task List (Tasklist.exe). This command-line tool allows you to obtain a list of active processes that are running on a local computer. For each process, Task List displays the process name and process identifier (PID). A process can be terminated by specifying the PID number as a command-line parameter to process-ending tools such as Task Kill or Process Viewer to rule it out as the cause of a problem.
b. For more information about the Task List or the related Task Kill and Process Viewer tools, click Tools in Help and Support Center.
4. In part, "Systeminfo" (Systeminfo.exe) is a command-line tool that displays computer configuration information. Use this tool to gather information useful for troubleshooting, such as the firmware version and any hotfixes applied. This tool is separate from the GUI-based System Information tool (Msinfo32.exe) but provides similar information. The following is an illustration of output:
BIOS Version:...............................BIOS v4.51PG
Total Physical Memory:............27.00 M
Available Physical Memory:....8,976.00 K
Virtual Memory: Max Size:.........443,176.00 K
Virtual Memory: Available:........190,580.00 K
Virtual Memory: In Use:..............252,596.00 K
Hotfix(s):..........................................1 Hotfix(s) Installed.
5. Supplemental reading:
a. "How to Troubleshoot Unknown Devices Listed in Device Manager (Q244601)."
b. "How to Manage Devices in Windows XP (Q283658)."
c. "How to Use System Information (MSINFO32) Switches (Q300887)."
d. "Troubleshooting Device Conflicts with Device Manager (Q310126)."
Note: The DevCon utility is a command line utility that acts as an alternative to DM, and allows a user to enable, disable, restart, update, remove, and query individual devices or groups of devices, [Q311272].
e. "The Processor Speed May Be Reported Incorrectly in Windows XP (Q316965)."
f. "Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Might Be Corrupted (Q319101)."
g. "Msinfo32.exe Generates a "Can't Collect Information" Error Message (Q323209)."