Launch a web browser and visit Gtopala.com. This is the System Information for Windows (SIW) developer's website. When the page appears, click the Purchase/Download link at the top right of the page. Scroll down the next page to find the ‘Freeware Version' heading, and then click the Download link. If the File Download Security Warning dialogue box appears, click Save and then choose a location for the downloaded file. Firefox users should select Save File to save the download to Firefox's default download folder. Once the download is complete, locate and double-click the file (called ‘siw-setup.exe').
If Windows displays a security warning, click Run to allow SIW to install. Work through the installation wizard, accepting the licence agreement and clicking Next at each screen to proceed. When you are offered the chance to try Realplayer for free, we strongly advise choosing the ‘Do not install Realplayer' before clicking Next. On the penultimate dialogue box, click Install followed by Finish. Skim through the ‘readme' file for the latest information about the program.
To launch SIW, click Start, point to All Programs followed by the SIW program group then click SIW. The program will spend a few moments interrogating your PC's hardware and software setup before displaying a two-pane view. The left-hand pane lists specification categories, sub-divided into Software, Hardware and Network, while the right-hand pane reflects details of the item selected in the left-hand pane. To see this, click the Operating System entry under Software in the left-hand pane.
SIW will again spend a few seconds gathering information before displaying its findings in the right-hand pane. In this case, it shows that our test PC is running Windows Vista Home Premium. Scroll down the right-hand pane for even more information.
There are countless possible uses for a tool like SIW. You might, for example, have mislaid one or more product/activation keys for installed software. In such a situation, a click on the Licenses category under Software in the left-hand pane will do the job: SIW will list the serial numbers for all the applications it can find installed on the PC.
SIW can also produce detailed reports that can aid troubleshooting. Indeed, information assembled by SIW could prove useful to technical support staff, if you have involved in them in trying to resolve a particular problem. The free version of SIW offers two reporting options: in printed form or as a HTML file. To print a report, just choose Print from the File menu. To produce an HTML file, click File, point to Create Report File and then choose HTML. Select a location for the generated file and then click Save. It may take a few minutes for SIW to generate the file. To view the contents, open the HTML file in your preferred browser.