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DOS utility to analyse a PC

Posted on 2006-04-03
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Hello
We rebuild all sorts of old PCs at our center where we help people who are out of work etc and I'd like to find a small DOS utility that I could put on my boot disks which would tell me immediately if the box is a P I, P II or PIII - or just the processor speed, RAM and Hard disk size.
Hope there is something like this that we could use
All the best
Keith
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Question by:keithbraithwaite
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Steve Knight earned 1200 total points
ID: 16366285
DOS (and I think at least Win95) used to come with MSD.EXE but I doubt it knows about any recent processors... might see them as P6 etc. or something though which might give you a clue?

A quick google turned up this: http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/J.Steunebrink/chkcpu.htm

Mem.EXE can potentially give you the amount of RAM -- think it is effected by config.sys paramaters though.
CHKDSK.EXE can give you the hard disc size as can FDISK.EXE

Steve
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by:GuruGary
GuruGary earned 600 total points
ID: 16367883
We use the DOS version of Astra from www.sysinfolab.com.  We have the registered version, but I think the free demo will give you the information you want.
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by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 16368617
Thanks for those answers.
1. I have a problem here. I cut down the size of my boot disks in order to add SMARTDRV.EXE. I took out a certain number of programs including probably MEM.EXE and MSD.EXE
I'll try to find them again and put them on a separate floppy - would that work?

2. I've downloaded chkcpu.zip and I'm going to try that out

3. I've downloaded the Astra utility, but of course it's time limited and I need a tool I can use constantly.

I should say that I use a fairly primitive method for partitioning and formatting these old boxes. Floppy bootdisk, Fdisk (or in extreme cases KILPART/KIL, and then SMARTDRV. I launch the windows installation from DOS with WINNT.EXE

There are probably much better ways...

I'll be back to you  
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by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 200 total points
ID: 16369536
how about bootable CDs, such as BartPe
http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ - but they require a moderately modern bios to boot from CD.  

or even an old reliable bootable hard disk that you just fit as the primary master

Most BIOSes will tell you about memory size and hard disks

MemTest86 will also give you some stats, and do some memory tests too, which may be useful:
http://www.memtest86.com/

hth,
Danny
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by:Steve Knight
ID: 16373501
>> I'll try to find them again and put them on a separate floppy - would that work?

yes.  You can change to a different floppy either directly or put in your batch file:

b:   (will prompt user to change floppy)
msd.exe etc.
A: (will prompt to change back)

But I'm sure some of the other ways above are probably better, was just offering the 'built in' answer.

Steve
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by:paraghs
ID: 16378096
Identifies 486 - K6-2/Pentium III cpu's :
http://motherboards.mbarron.net/download/chkcpu16.zip

Maximum Processor Clock Speed Tester for 286-586 :
http://motherboards.mbarron.net/download/maxspeed.zip

Hard Disk Diagnostic does intensive tests on hd's :
http://motherboards.mbarron.net/download/hdat.zip
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Expert Comment

by:paraghs
ID: 16378110
High precision memory speed tester & cpu freq-meter :
http://motherboards.mbarron.net/download/gmemspd4.zip
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 16379490
That's given me a lot to do and a lot to think about.
I've made myself a floppy with mem.exe, msd.exe and chkcpu.exe - thanks dragon-it (it's the same file as the one on the mbarron site)

My copy of the free time-limited Astra gets stuck in the first phases, but I'll probably invest in that or something like that in the near future. Thanks Gurugary

I'm interested in the idea of bootable CDs - I think most of the boxes we are given have sufficiently recent BIOS' to be able to boot from a CD though I suppose I'd have to use a floppy to install MSCDEX ? Thanks danch99

I'll split the points

Many thanks
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by:Steve Knight
ID: 16385294
Thanks for the points etc.  glad to help

Steve
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Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 16396950
If you want to make your own bootable CDs, here's how:
http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com/bootable_%20CD_page1.htm
no need for a bootable floppy, mscdex or that malarky.  

If you do want a bootable floppy, the ones on www.bootdisk.com are pretty good.  Personally I like the Windows 98 - Custom, No Ramdrive option, and the Oak CDrom driver that comes with it is pretty good at seeing any cd drive - so, even if the BIOS won't support a bootable CD, you could still access the tools via a floppy boot, then switch to D:

also for more system info, you may want to use Belarc
http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html
ta for the points, btw.
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Author Comment

by:keithbraithwaite
ID: 16398677
Many thanks - I just sent this letter to Belarc:
****************************
I do voluntary work for a charitable organisation in France – Emmaüs. We house and feed people who have lost their jobs and who have for one reason or another dropped out of society – drink, drugs or whatever. Financially the system ( 300 centers in France, 50 in Belgium, a dozen in Britain and in many other parts of the world) works on the basis of furniture, clothes, books, domestic appliances and, increasingly, computers, which are given to us which we repair or improve and sell at low cost.
For the past two years I’ve been building a computer section which has now grown into quite a sizeable affair, giving work to our ‘inmates’ as well as to four other voluntary workers like myself.
We need a good system to analyse quickly and completely the more recent computers we are given, and your product was recommended to me by one of the counsellors on the Experts-exchange site.
We would be very grateful to have a free copy of Belarc to help us with our work.
Sincerely
Keith Braithwaite
****************************
I presume from the write-up that it doesn't work in a DOS environnment.

Effectively the bootdisks I make come originally from bootdisk.com with the necessary changes to make them speak french which I got off the french version of the Win98 floppy and the addition of SMARTDRV.EXE to boot the windows installation from D:\ or E:\I386\WINNT - primitive but effective and fairly quick. I am bound legally to eliminate all partitions (often using kilpart/kil) and to reformat the hard disk.
Many of the boxes we get are quite capable of booting from a CD though I haven't much experience of that.
I've read the bootable CD's article you indicated and though I'm a bit lost for the moment I'm going to try at least to make a CD using Nero (if my version allows it) to make a CD which does at least as much as my bootdisks.
I may decide to put up a question on this subject and if so I'll let you know in advance
Many thanks
Keith
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