You use diagnostic software programs to analyze a computer system and provide information about attached hardware, memory use, and system information. This information can help you decide to upgrade a computer, or it can help uncover what ails the computer. This exercise uses the diagnostic utility Sandra 1.1 by SiSoft from the Student Resource CD-ROM found in the back of this workbook. This utility was developed by Catalin Adrian Silasi and was released on April 30, 1997. SiSoft Sandra is freeware, a free public-domain software utility. Most of the software that is available on the Internet, online services, and electronic bulletin boards is shareware, or "try-before-you-buy" software. The original zip file, SANDRA.ZIP, is also on the Student Resource CD-ROM.
Sandra provides in-depth benchmarks and low-level information about your PC. Sandra can graphically display system statistics such as drive benchmarks, CPU speed ratings, and DOS memory and physical memory bank information. Sandra is an excellent way to sum up your system performance. SiSoft's Web page can be found at http://www.city.ac.uk/~ax515/sandra.html.
Check off each step as you complete it.
1. With the computer turned on and Windows running, install Sandra from the Student Resource CD-ROM.
For example, select Run from the Start menu. Then type
and press Enter (x being the CD-ROM drive). Click the Install Program button and follow the prompts. SANDRA typically is installed in the C:\Program Files\SiSoft\Sandra folder and places icons directly off the Program menu called SiSoft Sandra.
2. Start Sandra.
From the Start menu, select Programs and then click Sisoft Sandra. Click Cancel to close the Tip box. An icon box of choices appears onscreen. The information for each choice is displayed by an icon and description. For example, the second icon displays information about your CPU's performance.
3. From the View menu, select All Modules.
This displays all 35 Sandra modules (see Figure 1.3).
The SiSoft Sandra main screen.
4. Choose the System Summary icon (see Figure 1.4).
The System Summary provides a "snapshot" of your computer.
Information about your PC is displayed. Complete the following information:
The Processor in this computer is a ____________, operating at a speed of ____________ MHz.
The system bus type is ____________.
This screen shows information about the BIOS–the software that makes your computer IBM-compatible and gets it working before any operating system is even loaded.
The BIOS is made by _______.
The date/version of the BIOS is _______. (This date gives you the approximate age of the computer.)
The total memory is _______M.
The monitor is _______.
The video adapter is _______.
The first, or A:, floppy disk drive has a capacity of _______M.
The second, or B:, floppy disk drive has a capacity of _______M.
The size of drive C: is _______M.
The size of drive D: (if applicable) is _______M.
The size of drive E: (if applicable) is _______M.
The number of serial ports is _______.
The number of parallel ports is _______.
The Windows version is _______.
5. Click OK to return to the main screen. From the File menu, choose Exit to exit the Sandra program.
Is the equipment that is shown as available on the system actually present? Verify each item. Find the manuals for the computer or the original invoice that lists its features. Sometimes software utilities are not always accurate, but they give you a good start in analyzing a specific computer. Without such a utility, how else would you discover what CPU a computer has?