System information utilities scan your system to extract information about its hardware, software, and usage. They're usually free and often portable, and they tend to extract the same sort of information, just more or less of it, depending on the tool. Where they differ most is what they do with that information, which essentially means how they present it. Free PC Audit from MIS Utilities is portable freeware that places more emphasis on convenient presentation and ease of use than on fine detail and endless options.
Free PC Audit runs when you click its executable file, which means you can install it on a USB drive or other external device or source and run it in any Windows version from 98 to 7. It scanned our system and presented the results in basic but clean interface with three tabs: System, Software, and Processes. File, Edit, and Help menus actually do little but save and copy results and access the program's Web page. Free PC Audit takes a slightly different approach to presenting data than many other apps we've tried. Under the System tab, the program listed hardware, software, logical drives, shares, accounts, and even hot fixes all together in an alphabetical, semi-hierarchical view organized by Parameter and Value. Entries displaying a small arrow could be expanded for more detail, but there was no way to change, edit, rotate, or even drag the column headings to make access easier. Unfortunately, the same was true for the Software tab: we couldn't click on Install Date to order the list view by the latest programs to be installed, or by publisher, or size; nor was it possible to resize or reposition the columns. The Processes tab listed our system's running process alphabetically, but since you'd have to open the Task Manager to terminate or modify any one of them, it's of limited value.
Free PC Audit displays a lot of information in a unique way, and it's very easy to use. Other free tools offer more detail as well as options, especially in presentation. We certainly recommend giving Free PC Audit a try if you're looking for a system information tool; you have nothing to lose, and the balance it strikes between detail and simplicity might just suit your needs.