Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/164484/10-useful-system-tools-hidden-in-windows/
Whether you’re using Windows 7, Windows 8, or an older version of Windows, Windows contains a variety of system utilities that are well-hidden. Some are buried deep in the Start menu, while others can only be accessed via a command.
Very interesting article HTG! I made a note of Memory Diagnostic and System Information tools as I know I will be using them in future.
If I may add, a check disk (command
chkdsk) and system file checker (command
sfc /scannow) are great tools as well, saved my hard drives and Windows OS quite a few times thanks to which I avoided running a system restore.
It's always interesting to look at this info--but honestly, I have no idea what any of it means. And the built in cleaner is more hit or miss--sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And I know one computer company who said that NO third party apps like CCcleaner should be used with Windows 8. And the article the other day about not having ready access to opening in safe-mode seemed downright inadvisable given a computer malware like FBI MoneyPak which freezes the computer and turns the computer off before any malware program can clean the machine or before system restore can fix the computer. Precious time is wasted. And then to blatantly say that no third party apps should be used with Windows 8--well, that seems to me like someone not living in the real world.
I noticed you included command names for some of the toools. You might want to add:
MdSched.exe for Windows Memory Diagnostic
resmon.exe for Resource Monitor
perfmon.exe for Performance Monitor
compmgmt.msc for Computer Management
cleanmgr.exe for Disk Cleanup
msinfo32.exe for System Information
I personally prefer knowing the command names rather than the program names, since the former changes much less often. For example, I know appwiz.cpl will take me to the Control Panel applet I know as "Add/Remove Programs" regardless of what OS version I'm running or what Microsoft decided to rename it to in that release.
Useful tools.. but I wouldnt say they are hidden...
Add the Reliability Monitor, which is by far the most useful tool for troubleshooting
Reliability Monitor is really excellent.
I bet most people are unaware of the number of Troubleshooters available either. Technet lists twenty two for W7.
There are a whole bunch of such things at the Microsoft TechNet Windows Sysinternals Utilities page: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb545027.aspx
I downloaded Process Monitor, and played around with it a little, saw it had a log feature and thought why not, might come in handy one day, so I turned it on. Didn't occur to me that I might need to specify a maximum file size for it, though. I had a full system virus scan and backup scheduled to run during the night, and the next morning found a screen message warning that my hard drive was full. Panic ensued. Could only run chkdsk at reboot, and that took about 2 hours. It found nothing wrong. Finally resorted to a desperate act: using Norton AV Disc Clean utility, which suggested that a good way to free up disc space might be to delete the 185 gb procmon.log file. Which, of course, worked like a charm!
Don't forget psr.exe "Steps Recorder" this has saved me many headaches when someone is trying to get me to help them fix their system.
No more of that "Well I clicked on the google/internet and a thing popped up how do I fix it?" crap....
@patrick_outhier: That Steps Recorder is a beautiful program. Somebody knows how to write code! I teach a Seniors class in how to use a computer, and this is suddenly my favorite tool. Thanks for pointing it out.
And a question: where did you find this little nugget of gold? Does Microsoft (silly me to even hope) publish a list of such tools somewhere? Or is it just hunt around and get lucky?
dxdiag.exe - DirectX diagnostic tool
iexpress.exe - Create self extracting/self-installing package (it could be a very useful tool)
eudcedit.exe - Windows Font Editor
winver.exe - Show Windows version
Holy crap. How did I not know about this one, yet?!
Wow, this was very helpful! Thanks a lot!
I am trying to learn Windows 8, This article says I can find these utilities by entering certain phrases on the start screen but this does not work. I discovered that I can access the specific command via the command prompt but I was looking for something more higher level. Is there a way to access utilities other than by the command prompt?
You should have no problem using these tools via the search bar in the Start menu (Windows Vista/7), or via the Run dialog (Start->Run, or Win+R).