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Informative tool

Analyze your system and view your hardware information.

Casual users might not see the allure of this simple freeware, which not only detects hardware and other system information but also lets you benchmark your system's performance. Users with an interest in what goes on under the hood, however, will appreciate this easy-to-use and informative tool.

PC Wizard 2008 goes to work as soon as it's installed, quickly gathering general system information. The interface has a familiar feel with its easily recognizable icons on the toolbar to save, print, and refresh the data. While it looks like little effort was made to dress up the interface, it is serviceable. The left-hand menu gives easy access to view Hardware, Configuration, System Files, and Resources by category. The main display depends on what you select.

Under Hardware, a system summary is displayed first, and includes all the typical hardware, from the processor to the CD-Rom drive. More detail is available for each, and if you highlight one, the program displays the category to look in. Categories are easily understood, and include Multimedia, Drives, and Mainboard. PC Wizard 2008 supports an impressive five formats to save data, including PDF, HTML, and text. You can copy and print, too, in case you need more options. We were equally impressed by the other menu options, especially under Configuration, which displayed installed Updates, TrueType fonts, and other interesting system information.

The Benchmark tool is set up in much the same way, allowing you to pick a category and run a performance scan. Options include benchmarks for RAM, Video, and MP3 Compression. A graph shows how various elements in a category perform, and you can compare the data over time. This was the icing on the cake as far as this free tool goes. PC Wizard 2008 worked its magic on us, and we recommend this freeware for any user who wants to see what's going on behind the scenes.

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