Windows has always come equipped with troubleshooting and diagnostic tools, but in Windows 7 Microsoft has done something it should have done a long time ago and put them all together in one place in Control Panel.
To find them you go to the Control Panel and under System and Security you'll see Find and fix problems.
The troubleshooters are divided up into eight categories:
- Programs - Run programs made for a previous version of Windows - Browse the web with Internet Explorer - Display my music and video library in Windows Media Player
- Devices - Configure a device
- Network - Connect to the Internet - Access shared files and folders on other computers
- Printing - Use a printer
- Display - Show the Aero theme
- Sound - Record sound - Play sound
- Performance - Make your computer run faster
- Windows - Run maintenance tasks - Improve power usage
Some of the options are predictable. for example, Run maintenance tasks will clean up unused files (user and system), broken shortcuts, unused desktop icons, volume errors and resets the clock with a time server.
Make your computer run faster carried out a number of tasks, from checking to see if you have multiple antivirus programs installed to seeing whether Super Fetch is enabled.
I set it a few challenges. First, I ran Configure a device. This found an updated device driver, and I let it make the necessary changes, which were done successfully.
Next I disconnected the network adaptor used Connect to the Internet to see if it could figure out what the problem was. It spotted the problem, gave some basic advice as to what to do and then rechecked.
Let's see if it can figure out why Aero isn't working using Show the Aero theme? Yep, it figured out why pretty quickly and again offered some basic troubleshooting information.
Basically, it seems to work, on simple stuff at any rate.
These tools are all written using Microsoft's PowerShell scripting language, so I can see these being augmented by third-party scripts. Maybe third-party vendors such as Symantec will hook into this.
These tools are certainly not aimed at the power user, but they do allow power users to provide simple instructions to basic users on how to find some useful diagnostic tools.
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