Gabriel Topala's System Information for Windows is widely known as SIW. It's also widely known as a very good (and free) system information utility. It detects just about everything that can be detected about your hardware, software, operating system, and peripherals and displays it in a tree view for easy access. It includes some useful extras, too, such as a broadband speed test, MAC address changer, and network ping and trace tools. As we noted, it's free, but you can buy the developer a cup of coffee right from the toolbar.
SIW's Explorer-style interface features colorful icons on its toolbar and the tree view in the left-side navigation panel. The tree view groups entries under three main headings: Software, Hardware, and Network.
The Software menu has more than 30 entries, counting submenus, ranging from Operating System to Certificates. Selecting an entry opened its submenu in the main window. Some entries, such as Browser Helper Objects, have a list view; others, such as the Event Viewer, use tree views. The Hardware heading offers similar entries, beginning with a System Summary. It displayed information about our motherboard, BIOS, CPU, memory, and everything in our system that is active and reporting. There's a Battery heading for laptop users. Modders will appreciate the System Slots view, which shows which of your motherboard's PCI slots are occupied and by what. The Network view includes a Neighborhood Scan for home network users, an Open Ports display, and a Search Network Neighborhood submenu with a wide variety of scanning options. We could copy, paste, print, and save system reports, including creating HTML-based Quick Reports.
SIW does more than simply extract and display system information. Some of its most useful extras are available right on the toolbar, such as the Broadband Speed Test, Network Traffic, and the interesting Eureka password tool. SIW gives users access to many of Microsoft's useful system utilities, too. It offers Wake on LAN, a Convert tool, a Monitor test, a MUIcache Viewer, a URL Explorer, and a Test menu with Debug Info, Dump BIOS, and SAPI Test tools. Our only question: regular or decaf?