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What's on your PC? It's a fairly innocuous question, one that even the most tired of geeks should be answer without a moment's hesitation. But let's face it -- you sometimes spend a decent amount of time between upgrades. So much so, that you might have very well lost track of the exact names of the parts and pieces inside your system. Do I personally remember the exact model name of my motherboard? Nope! I won't tell you the manufacturer, but I've definitely had to pop off the side of the case and scan around, flashlight in hand, just to find my motherboard's actual model number for a firmware update search.
Don't let that be you. Furthermore, now's as good a time as any to get a solid inventory of not only the parts and pieces attached to your rig, but a full list of your installed software (and running services) as well. Why's that? Suppose your rig crashes tomorrow--I'm talking about the big one. No hard drive. All your data's wiped out. Can you honestly tell me that you'll remember each little freeware app or utility you installed on your system when you go to rebuild your machine? Wouldn't it be nice to have a little checklist to help you along?
And thus enters this week's download of the week--an application that goes above-and-beyond the call of duty to give you a full load-out of every little thing, hardware or software, that's in any way connected to your system. It's called LookInMyPC, but it's not just the name of this freeware app that's clever. The program starts by listing out every possible element of your computer, everything from the brand and size of your hard drives, to all the software you've installed, to your networking information. This baseline report is a key element of LookInMyPC, as you can then come back to the application months later (presumably after you've made some changes) and compare specific elements of your new system against the baseline you previously established.
It's a great tool for analyzing just what's changed about your system over time. More importantly, it's an excellent (and portable) tool for troubleshooting your friends' systems. With but one click of a mouse, you'll have a full read-out of all the hardware and software details you'd need to know in order to make even a wild guesstimate about what's affecting their PC. Best of all, LookInMyPC is fully compatible with Windows 7!
Each week, Maximum PC picks a new free or shareware download as its favorite of... the week. Have a nifty application that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.