Windows XP System Information Fails

By Neil J. Rubenking  |  Print this article Print


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PCMagazine's Neil Rubenking tells a reader what to do when a PC won't let you access system information.

When I try to display the System Information in Windows XP Home, I get the following response: Can't Collect Information. Cannot access the Windows Management Instrumentation software. Windows Management files may be moved or missing. What can I do to correct this problem? The error message does not tell me what files are missing, so I don't know what to look for.

Bruce Piper

The Windows XP System Information utility (Msinfo32.exe) relies on certain services to supply it with information. If the services are not running—perhaps because of an earlier diagnostic start-up—System Information displays the error shown in the figure. To fix the problem, open Administrative Tools in the Control Panel and launch the Services applet. Locate the Event Log service in the list and double-click on it. Make sure its Startup type: is set to Automatic.

If its Service status does not display Started, click on the Start button. Repeat this process for the Windows Management Instrumentation service and for the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service. You may need to log off or restart your computer to regain access to the System Information utility.

Neil J. Rubenking Neil Rubenking served as vice president and president of the San Francisco PC User Group for three years when the IBM PC was brand new. He was present at the formation of the Association of Shareware Professionals, and served on its board of directors. In 1986, PC Magazine brought Neil on board to handle the torrent of Turbo Pascal tips submitted by readers. By 1990 he had become PC Magazine's technical editor, and a coast-to-coast telecommuter. His 'User to User' column supplied readers with tips and solutions on using DOS and Windows, his technical columns clarified fine points in programming and operating systems, and his utility articles (over forty of them) provided both useful programs and examples of programming in Pascal, Visual Basic, and Delphi. Mr. Rubenking has also written seven books on DOS, Windows, and Pascal/Delphi programming, including PC Magazine DOS Batch File Lab Notes and the popular Delphi Programming for Dummies. In his current position as a PC Magazine Lead Analyst he evaluates and reports on client-side operating systems and security solutions such as firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and full security suites. He continues to answer questions for readers in the ongoing 'Solutions' column and in PC Magazine's discussion forums.

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