Five Best Computer Diagnostic Tools

By Jason Fitzpatrick posted on Lifehacker – May 30th 2010

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite diagnostic tool. Below we’ve rounded up the top five answers, and now we’re back to highlight the most popular computer diagnostic tools among Lifehacker readers.

Hiren’s BootCD is an impressive toolkit rolled into one packed DOS-based LiveCD. Sporting over a hundred separate diagnostic and repair tools, Hiren’s BootCD can help you do everything from diagnose a memory problem to clone a disk to speed test your video card. If you can’t find out what is wrong with your computer after running through all the tools on Hiren’s BootCD the diagnostic answer you may end up at is “Time to buy a new computer.” A note about Hiren’s BootCD: many of the diagnostic tools gathered on the disc are abandonware or older versions of still produced commercial software. The legal status of Hiren’s BootCD is murky so Hiren doesn’t directly host the disc image himself. You’ll need to search Google to find locations like here and here where the disc is hosted.

  • SIW (Windows, Free)

If things haven’t gotten bad enough that you’re forced to take refuge with a LiveCD, SIW is a Windows-based diagnostic tool that can help you get to the bottom of things. SIW is incredibly detailed in its analysis, next to nothing is left uncatalogued from the timings of your memory modules to the DLL files loaded to what applications you have set to autorun at startup. Even if you’re not currently experiencing any computer issues SIW gives you a really interesting peek inside your computer.

For the other three tips and more, visit

(Editor’s note: Hirens CD IS ILLEGAL.  Period. There is no ‘murky.’)