Digging Deeper with Dedicated System Information Tools

For the most exhaustive inventory of system configuration details in a no-frills text format, Windows offers three tools that provide varying levels of technical information:

• Systeminfo Systeminfo . exe is a command-line utility that displays information about your Windows version, BIOS, processor, memory, network configuration, and a few more esoteric items . Figure 22-2 shows sample output.

Üä Administrator: C:\Windows\systern32\crnd.exe

Figure 22-2 The command-line utility Systeminfo.exe provides an easy way to gather information on all your network computers in a single database.

To run Systeminfo, open a Command Prompt window, type systeminfo, and press Enter. In addition to the list format shown in the figure, Systeminfo offers two formats that are useful if you want to work with the information in another program: Table (fixed-width columns) and CSV (comma-separated values). To use one of these formats, append the /FO switch to the command, along with the Table or Csv parameter. You'll also need to redirect the output to a file . For example, to store comma-delimited information in a file named Info, csv, enter the following command: systeminfo /fo csv > info.csv

Üä Administrator: C:\Windows\systern32\crnd.exe

Figure 22-2 The command-line utility Systeminfo.exe provides an easy way to gather information on all your network computers in a single database.

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The /S switch allows you to get system information about another computer on your network . (If your user name and password don't match that of an account on the target computer, you'll also need to use the /U and /P switches to provide the user name and password of an authorized account.) When you've gathered information about all the computers on your network, you can import the file you created into a spreadsheet or database program for tracking and analysis . The following command appends information about a computer named Badlands to the original file you created:

systeminfo /s badlands /fo csv >> info.csv

• Windows Management Instrumentation Command-Line Utility This tool is better known by the name of its executable, Wmic. exe, which is located in the Windows\System32\Wbem folder. Wmic provides an overwhelming amount of information about hardware, system configuration details, and user accounts. It can be used in either of two ways. Enter wmic from a command prompt and the utility runs in console mode, allowing you to enter commands and view output interactively. If you add global switches or aliases, which constrain the type of output you're looking for, you can see the output in a Command Prompt window or redirect it to a file. For example, the command wmic qfe list brief /format:htable > %temp%\ hotfix.html produces a neatly formatted HTML file; open that file in Internet Explorer to see a list of all installed updates on the current system . To see the full syntax for Wmic, open a Command Prompt window and type wmic -?.

• System Information System Information—often called by the name of its executable, Msinfo32. exe—is a techie's paradise. It provides all manner of information about your system's hardware and software in a no-frills window that includes search capabilities . The following sections discuss System Information in greater detail.

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