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I need new Troubleshooting Software!!

Posted on 2004-09-30
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hey Everyone!

I've got a very old troubleshooting program called 'The Troubleshooter' that I got back around 1995 or 1996.  I have this program on a Windows 95 boot disk.  I can boot a computer from the boot disk, type in the program executable (ts.exe) and it fires up.  With this program I can troubleshoot every critical component of a system's hardware from the video card to the CPU...  Great stuff!!

Except that the Pentium Pro was the newest computer out when this software package was written.  Now, since I'm booting into Win95's DOS shell when I run this thing it still works even on newer computers.  It is in fact one of the best software programs I've ever had.  But there has got to be something out there that has a range of tests better suited to modern computer systems.  When I test a P4, this thing tells me it's a Pentium Pro!!  That's not THAT big a deal really because it gets the MHZ right, but I'm sure everyone will understand my desire to have a basic diagnostic utility a little newer than the one I've got.

Has anyone heard of this program?  If so - is there a newer version of it?  Is there another program that does the same thing that works well?  I've seen a lot of crap out there - but very few GOOD hardware diagnostic utilities over the years and even fewer that you can run from a boot disk.

I bit about what I need it for..

I'm the IT Manager for a manufacturing company.  We have quite a few computers that we want to refurbish and sell or give away to employees or whomever might want them.  Personally I'd just assume we ship them to a recycling center and let them melt them, but it's not my call...  So I'm stuck having to refurbish really old equipment.  I've already bought a DOD-compliant program to wipe the hard drives, but I'd like a new program like The Troubleshooter to do some basic diagnostics on these systems just to make sure they are still running OK.  I'll be working with wiped computers, so I need a diagnostic utility that I can boot with or that can run from a boot disk.  And I'd like to have something reasonably recent that recognizes newer hardware correctly.

Ironically, the computers I'm going to be working with are as old as The Troubleshooter, so I don't really need newer software for this task - but I do think it's time I upgrade my diagnostic program.  It's time I shelve this trusty utility next to my old copy of Q-Modem..

Any suggestions???

Thank you in advance!!

Wallace Garneau
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Question by:wgarneau
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16 Comments
 
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Justin Durrant
ID: 12191133
Hi wgarneau,


I use and recommend SiSoft Sandra.




JJ
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 12191214
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:wgarneau
ID: 12192400
JJ,

Sandra looks like a great product, but it is not something you can run off a boot-disk, so it's not going to work.  I really prefer to use hardware diagnostic utilities that can communicate directly with the hardware.  Anything that runs in Windows 2000/XP/2003 has to go through the operating system rather than to the hardware directly.  That means that a good hardware diagnostic tool should be self-booting or capable of running from a boot-disk such that you can run it in an OS that will allow direct hardware access.  If the diagnostic has to go through the OS to get use the hardware, it can't tell you whether the problem you are encountering is hardware related or OS related.  Sandra is probably a great optimization tool, allowing you to see how well different hardware devices are running, but it probably wouldn't be the best tool to see if hardware is physically working, because Windows 2000/XP/2003 won't let it talk directly to the hardware.

Callandor,

Do you have any recommendations for all-in-one products?  I can scan a computer pretty quickly with The Troubleshooter because all of the diagnostics are in one utility.  If there is nothing out there that does it all, I'll probably just keep using The Troubleshooter until hardware moves to the point that The Troubleshooter does not physically work.  I'm not always working with systems that have CD-ROM drives.  Many of them only have floppies.  A single utility that checks all major components is a much better fit than a suite of applications that won't fit on a floppy disk.

Wally

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LVL 20

Assisted Solution

by:DVation191
DVation191 earned 50 total points
ID: 12192427
These are all "all-in-one" diagnostics (mostly)

The Ultimate Troubleshooter 2.33
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4270.html

TuffTEST 1.53
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download674.html

ToolStar Test 2.17k
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download349.html

Bart's PE Builder 3.0.32
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4007.html

BurnInTest Standard 4.0 Build 1019
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4234.html

Dr. Hardware 2004 Build 5.5.0e
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download240.html

My BootDisk 2.71
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3112.html

System Analyser 5.3d
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download339.html

0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:wgarneau
ID: 12192641
DVation,

Thank you!  I'll take a look at them.  The only one I've heard of is TuffTest, and it didn't get very good reviews on ZDNet.

Have you used any of them?  Do you have any recommendations?

Wally
0
 
LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:DVation191
ID: 12192760
I take a different approach than you. It is a rare occasion that I have absolutely no idea which hardware component may or may not be defective. Therefor, I tend to use diagnostic tools specifically built for the hardware I am testing. I find that specialized applications do a much better job than an all-in-one package.

I am not sure which one of the programs will suite you best. You need to see how flexible they are, what kind of interface they provide, how many diagnostics they can do and what kind of depth the reporting goes into. Some also cost more than others. Trial and error will probably suite you best in this case.
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LVL 69

Accepted Solution

by:
Callandor earned 50 total points
ID: 12192816
This has a floppy-based, solution, and it comes from a group that does A+ certification: http://protechdiagnostics.com/scripts/view.pl?page=packagepricing

Maybe you can contact them and get a trial version?  It's hard to know what level you are looking for.
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:wgarneau
ID: 12193936
Mods - I wanted to give Callandor and DVation both 1/2 of the points.  It appears only Callandor got credit.  Can you fix?

0
 
LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:studlyed
studlyed earned 25 total points
ID: 12194796
or how bout the new version of 'the troubleshooter': pc-check. costs money though :( but works really really well. better than any of the others i have seen as it runs from a single floppy and tests everything.
http://www.eurosoft-us.com
0
 
LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:DVation191
ID: 12199511
thanks wgarneau, glad we could help
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:wgarneau
ID: 12199678
Thank YOU!

I've got three good-looking choices to look at now.  Before I had zero.  For whatever reason, Google wasn't much help..  But you guys were a great help!  Now I just have to pick one and get purchasing approval for it.

Wally
0
 
LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:DVation191
ID: 12199724
Just curious, which three are you considering? Which one looks most promising to you?
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:wgarneau
ID: 12200177
I'm considering the Eurosoft package because it appears to be an update to what I already have (and I've been VERY happy over the years with The Troubleshooter), but the protechdiagnostics one and the toolstar test one look just as good and maybe not as expensive (hence the point allocation).  I don't know which I'll get..  There is a package on the Eurosoft site for around $600 or so that includes a full string of Windows diagnostics stuff in addition to the self-booting diagnostic I need - looks pretty cool albeit pricy.

Wally
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:wgarneau
ID: 12201885
Hey Everyone!

After much deliberation I decided to buy the QA+Win32 Pro Bundle from Enrosoft.  This comes with PC-Check, QA+Win32, CD-Check, and their Preferred POST Board.  That should give me everything I need to do the task at hand, and also for more detailed diagnostic needs moving forward with newer computers.  The price is somewhat more than I'd originally planned, topping out at $667.17, but I think it will be well worth it.  Certainly the other experience I have with Enrosoft was pleasant - I'm still using the program after TEN YEARS!!  You can't say anything betterthan that about a software developer!!

Thank you again all!

Wally
0
 
LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:DVation191
ID: 12201997
I tried out PC-Check. I was very impressed. Great choice...glad we could help.
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