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Professional PC Diagnostics Tools - Any recommendations?

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June 22, 2009 6:56:42 PM

Professional PC Diagnostics Tools - Any recommendations?

Hi,

This may not be the right thread to ask in so apologies in advance.

I have a small computer work shop and as time has gone on with more and more clients with different hardware, its proving ever more difficult and time consuming to diagnose a fault on a PC or Laptop. The major problem is time.

I'm looking for professional tools or a package that will help me fix PC issues faster and accurately. This will be both software and hardware faults. I'm not really bothered on the cost but really hope someone has used any tools as such and can guide me.

Many Thanks in advance.
Nine.
June 23, 2009 4:11:34 AM

yea ive been a tech for about 4-5 years now and usually it comes down tot he good old noggin. i havent found a great piece of software yet to test hardware. memtest i use sometimes.
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June 23, 2009 1:19:36 PM

Yes, of course the experience can not be beaten but I was simply looking for a faster way of proving a motherboard or mem is faulty.

I'm considering http://www.uxd.com/. Has their stuff been used by anyone?

Thanks
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June 23, 2009 11:42:29 PM

The oldest software in what you've been looking at is Microscope. While not a bad product, I wouldn't waste time with it. If you are a technician, you'll be able to tell when the issue is a bad motherboard. Either it posts or it doesn't. Either it powers up or it doesn't. Boards are easy. Microscope has proved useful to me in only one type of situation, that is when you need to perform loop-back testing of serial, parallel, or PS/2 ports. Of course if you have a bad port, you're replacing the motherboard in most situations to resolve the issue anyways.

Here are the best tools I've used -

Spinrite from Gibson Research. This is hands-down the single best tool I've ever used (besides perhaps Ghost). Spinrite will allow you to identify issues with hard disks, whether they be S.M.A.R.T. failure, file table corruption, data corruption, overheating (if the drive has a temp. sensor, most modern ones do), magnetic/electronic issues with the platters. The great things is, if the drive is not physically broken, Spinrite will almost always be able to repair the issue, save the data, and save you and your customers a lot of headaches. Check it out here:

http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

Memtest 86+. Short of buying a real memory tester for your shop, this is the best RAM diagnostics tool you can have. Bootable floppy, CD, or DVD. You can get it here:

http://www.memtest.org/

Hardware Monitor from the folks that make CPU-Z. Although relatively new, each new revision adds support for more and more motherboards. It gives you power and temperature readouts in real time, which can help find pesky over-heating and PSU issues. It's here:

http://www.cpuid.com/hwmonitor.php

Last but not least would be Prime95. Prime95 is used by nerds all over the world to find bigger and bigger prime numbers, so they can wank it to their meaningless claim to fame after three years of straight processing on 16-way servers and such. You can use it however to fully tax the CPU and RAM in a desktop, thus revealing faulty RAM or an overheating CPU. Useful in conjunction with Hardware Monitor. GIMPS develops and hosts it here:

http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/

P.S. - If you've got the cash, invest in a RAM testing machine, a cable testing kit that will cover RJ11 and RJ45 types, and a Kill-A-Watt. These tools will save you time, but do cost money.

Hope this helps you dude!
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