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The day comes to most PC users when you have to re-install windows.  I recently heard it advised that every 18 -24 months you just plan to reinstall a fresh copy of your operating system on your computer.  No doubt it will greatly increase your speed and the functioning of your system to start fresh.  There is however much at stake if you do not plan well in advance of this adventure.

One of the first things you need to do, and this should be done every month or two, is get a current copy of your system stats.  A listing of what hardware and software is installed, right down to the memory chip serial numbers.  But the most important part of this system stat list is the programs installed, the version, and the install key codes.  We all love the key codes, those 16-20 digit codes designed to test our patience as we copy them into the software to “unlock it.”

Now before you all panic and say that the collecting of this information will take you all day, let me share with you one of my favorite FREE tools.  I little gem called THE BELARC ADVISOR.

The Belarc Advisor is a very useful program that automatically generates a detailed report of the hardware and software on your computer. It records essential information such as operating system and processor details, the amount of RAM installed, and drive specifications. The report includes a comprehensive list of the software installed on your system as well as software licence numbers and product keys. It even lists Microsoft hotfixes and lets you know if any of these require reinstalling.

After running the  Advisor you will get a report which opens in your default browser.  Before you even take time to look through it hit [Print] and set that little piece of gold aside.   Now take a little time to scan through the report.  It is clearly formatted to ease understanding and sub divided into appropriate categories. Hyperlinks allow you to quickly navigate to different parts of the document, find out more about a particular hotfix entry or see where a listed software product is installed.

Once installed, the Belarc Advisor can generate new reports as required, so you can easily update your printed profile if your system specifications change.  I recommend  that you run and print a copy about once a month.  It will all seem like overkill until….. you need it and somethings goes terribly wrong.

The Belarc Advisor is free for personal use.

You’ll thank me later for this one!

<>< Craig (aka the UthGuy)