InfoSpotter. (utility software) (evaluation)
by Tony Roberts
Do you treat your computer like any piece of office equipment, flipping it on in the morning and off when you head for home? Or do you regard your PC as a powerful tool that can always be tuned for a little more speed, a little more power? If you consider yourself a power user, a program like Merrill & Bryan's InfoSpotter takes the guesswork out of souping up your system. It's a utility lover's utility.
InfoSpotter provides a multifaceted view of your system. You get information about system configuration, diagnostics, detailed memory maps, IRQ tables, disk and serial port tests, and various utilities including a file locator and a global file delete function.
The program, which can run either as a stand-alone or memory-resident utility, features a menu bar across the top with choices including Config, Memory, Interrupts, EMM, XMM, DOS, BIOS, Tests, Settings, and User. From each of these, a dropdown menu offers several choices.
In short, it's hard to imagine what InfoSpotter doesn't offer. The program has value for every level of user. InfoSpotter proved indispensable recently for installing network hardware and software on several systems. During that installation, InfoSpotter helped resolve several conflicts that occurred involving IRQ settings, port addresses, and interrupts, generally lowering my level of anxiety.
The Config menu provides options to display a screenful of information about your system and what's installed, including memory, drives, devices, and ports. InfoSpotter also examines your system startup files and will make suggestions for modifying CONFIG.SYS if such changes would improve performance. InfoSpotter also includes a utility for modifying CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files.
The program provides a great deal of information regarding memory deployment--a big help in successfully blending conventional, extended, and expanded memories. Being able to "see" the results of experimentation with memory managers makes obtaining the desired results faster and less agonizing.
On a more advanced level, InfoSpotter offers tools for a wide range of exploration. Disk and memory dumps are available; boot, partition, and BIOS tables can be examined; and interrupt usage can be monitored. Programmers will be able to see how their software affects the system and can use InfoSpotter's Templates feature to display easy-to-read memory dumps of the data structures their programs have created.
InfoSpotter is easy to use and supports a mouse, as well as the keyboard. The program provides context-sensitive, online help as well as a complete help index, creating a friendly environment for less technically inclined users. In fact, the program's documentation encourages the use of InfoSpotter as a tool for learning about computers.
No PC environment should be without some system analysis software. InfoSpotter is one of the most extensive programs of this type available, and its versatility and ease of use make it worth considering for any software library. After all, why pass up an opportunity to get everything possible out of your system?