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WinMSD and SysInfo Reports

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Posted On 2005-11-1 by FortyPoundHead
Keywords: WinMSD Sysinfo
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WinMSD and SysInfo Reports

This time, more about tools that we can and should use to fix problems on servers...

WINMSD AND SYSTEM INFORMATION REPORTS

1. What is it?
2. Running it on NT 4.0
3. Running it on Windows 2000
4. Running it on Windows XP
5. Additional reading

So here we go:

1. What is it?

WINMSD report or "Windows NT Diagnostics" report is a report that you can get from a server/workstation that will tell you about things like drivers, services, memory and all hardware-related information that there is to know about the system. This is obviously very useful, especially when troubleshooting a performance problem or a problem in which you are suspecting that 3rd party applications that are running on the server might influence what you are working on.

As most 3rd party applications that we would worry about are running as NT services, the WINMSD report will show you what of those are installed and what is their status. Trust me, I used this more than once to find a service that was "forgotten" to be mentioned... :)

2. Running it on NT 4.0

You can get the report by doing two things:

1. Running it through GUI:

From the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Windows NT Diagnostics.

Then you can view all of the tabs with information about computer hardware. To save the report, go to File > Save Report. Choose "All tabs", "Complete" and "File" as destination and then hit the OK button.

2. The second way to run this is to start it from the Command Prompt or RUN line as follows:

winmsd [\\computername] [/a /s /f /p]
/a - Causes a complete system report to be generated
/s - Causes a summary system report to be generated /f - Causes the system report to be sent to a file /p - Causes the system report to be send to the current printer

The report will be saved in current directory with name of "computername".txt. This will be a flat text file that will contain all the information that is displayed on the GUI tabs of Windows NT Diagnostics.

I very much recommend always running the "/a" switch as this will give you a full report.

3. Running it on Windows 2000

Again, there are two ways to run the report:

1. Running it through GUI:

Right click on My Computer and choose MANAGE. When window comes up, expand the "System Information". You can save the report from here by right-clicking on "System Information" and then choosing "Save as system information file" or "Save as text file"

I would recommend you save the report as System Information (.nfo) file. This file can be opened up only on Windows 2000/XP machines but it provides you with a structured view of information in this report, much easier to view than flat text file. When saving the report, the GUI might look as if it is frozen; it is not, just give it a few minutes and it will complete.

2. Running it from Command Line or RUN line:

In Windows 2000/XP, you can still run the "winmsd" command from the RUN command, but all it does is actually call the new application that was created to run the report in Windows 2000: msinfo32.exe.

Switches when running Msinfo32.exe:

/? - Displays the Help dialog box

/msinfo_file= - Opens the specified .nfo or .cab file

/nfo or /s - Outputs a .nfo file to the specified file

/report - Outputs a text-format file to the specified file

/computer - Connects to the specified computer

/categories (+|-)(all | ) +|-()... - Displays or outputs specified categories

/category - Sets focus to a specific category at startup

For more information on switches and examples of use, please see Additional Reading section.

4. Running it on Windows XP

1. Running it through GUI:

Go to Start > Programs (or 'All Programs') > Accessories > System Tools > System Information

You can save the report by going to File > Save. If you are saving the report in System Information file (.nfo) from Windows XP computer and wish to read it on Windows 2000 computer, you have to save it as "Version 5.0/60. System Information file".

If you want to save the report in .txt file, then go to File > Export.

What is really cool about running System Information in Windows XP is that (at least in Professional version, this might vary with the Server version) you can run some additional tools from System Information. Under TOOLS menu, you can find Network Diagnostics, System Restore, File Signature Verification, DirectX Diagnostics and Dr. Watson.

2. Running it from Command Line - please see Q300887 for switches if running from Command Line.

5. Additional reading

Q232848 - How to Create a WinMSD Report (for Windows NT 4.0)

Q255713 - Windows 2000 Command-Line Parameters for Msinfo32.exe (for Windows 2000)

Q253534 - Gathering System Information Without GUI Interaction

Q300887 - How to Use System Information (MSINFO32) Switches (for Windows XP)

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