Microsoft Diagnostics

MSD (Microsoft Diagnostics) was a software tool developed by Microsoft to assist in the diagnostics of 1990s-era computers. Users primarily deployed this tool to provide detailed technical information about the user's software and hardware and to print the gathered information, usually for use by support technicians in troubleshooting and resolving problems.[1][2][3] The assumptions made by the program were valid until the late 1990s: it does not handle plug-and-play USB or other new technologies that appeared around 2000.

Microsoft Diagnostics
Screenshot of the MSD utility, displaying operating system version information.
Operating systemMS-DOS, OS/2, Windows
LicenseProprietary commercial software

In PC DOS 6.1 and above, QCONFIG.EXE provides similar functionality.[4][5] Commercial alternatives include Manifest MFT.EXE from Quarterdeck's QEMM.


MSD first shipped with Microsoft Word for Windows, and was later included in Windows 3,[1] MS-DOS 6,[1][2][3] and on the Windows 9x CD-ROMs. Because OS/2 and Windows NT contain code forked from DOS at the DOS 5 level, the versions of MSD included here correspond to that of that era (i.e. version 2.0).

Windows NT 3 and 4 have WINMSD, a program with similar features.[6] However, the DOS/Windows specific functions were replaced by similar Windows NT concerns.[6] WINMSDP.EXE, included in the resource kits, provides the print functionality of MSD for WINMSD. Since NT 5 (Windows 2000), WINMSD.EXE has been a loader for MSINFO32.EXE.


Users generally started the program from the DOS Command Prompt using the command MSD.EXE.[1] Starting the program under a DOS window in either Windows or OS/2 shows only the DOS details allocated for that DOS session, not for the machine in general.[1]


Aspects of the system for which MSD provided technical information:

  1. computer brand and processor information[1][2][3]
  2. memory (total, EMS, and XMS)[1][2][3]
  3. video (type such as VGA and manufacturer)[1][2][3]
  4. network[1][2][3]
  5. operating-system versions[1][2][3]
  6. type of mouse (if installed)[1][2][3]
  7. disk drives (and partitions), excluding CD-ROM drives etc.
  8. LPT ports[1][2][3]
  9. COM ports[1][2][3]
  10. IRQ status[1][2][3]
  11. TSR programs[1][2][3]
  12. device drivers[1][2][3]
  13. other adapters[1][2][3]

Successor software

Microsoft replaced MSD with MSINFO32.EXE.[7] This has similar features, but targets more recent machines. It first appeared in MS-Word, and later was distributed with Plus! for Windows 95 and Windows 98.[7] MSINFO32.EXE under Windows XP stores system history from WMI in the XML files in Windows\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Datacoll.[8] In the interest of backward compatibility, WINMSD became a loader for MSINFO32.

See also


  1. Franken; Frater; Kebschull; Raymans (1993). MS-DOS 6.0 Professional Edition - Die neuen 6.0-Tools - Kommunikation, Datensicherung, Windows und DOS, Optimale Konfiguration [MS-DOS 6.0 Professional Edition - The new 6.0 tools - communication, backup and data security, Windows and DOS, optimal configuration] (in German) (1 ed.). bhv Computer Bücher - BHV Verlag - Bürohandels- und Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. ISBN 3-89360-306-9.
  2. Born, Günther (1993). DOS 6 Tuning - Praxisbuch - Das ganze Anwender-Wissen - Tips, Tricks, Utilities. Zur Installation, zur Konfiguration und zur Batchprogrammierung, noch bessere Nutzung der neuen Möglichkeiten von MS-DOS 6.0 [DOS 6 tuning - Tips, tricks, utilities. On the installation, on the configuration, and on batch programming. Better utilization of new MS-DOS 6.0 features] (in German) (1 ed.). Markt & Technik Buch- und Software-Verlag GmbH & Co. ISBN 3-87791-495-0. 9-783877-914953.
  3. Maslo, Andreas; Tornsdorf, Helmut; Tornsdorf, Manfred (1994). Das Superbuch - MS-DOS 6.2 [Super book - MS-DOS] (in German) (1 ed.). Data Becker. ISBN 3-8158-1026-4. 9-783815-810262.
  4. Averett, Margaret; Liburdi, Dana (January 1995). IBM PC DOS 7 - User's Guide (PDF) (1 ed.). IBM Corp. 83G9260, S83G-9260-00, P83G9260. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  5. Heinzel, Edgar (1995). PC-DOS 7: Befehle, REXX, Utilities [PC DOS 7: Commands, REXX, utilities] (in German) (1 ed.). tewi Verlag GmbH. ISBN 978-3-89362-404-1. 3-89362-404-x.
  6. Bailey, Greg; Collins, David; Dragich, Chris; Etchevers, Peggy; Groves, Jim; Jacobs, John; Kay, Sharon; McGimmis, Gary; Moore, Sonia Marie; Moynihan, Doralee; Pearson, Annie; Purcell, Jim; Sheppard, Laura (1996) [1995]. Microsoft Windows NT Version 3.5 - Die technische Referenz - Expertenwissen zu Windows NT Workstation und Windows NT Server - Grundlagen [Microsoft Windows NT Version 3.5 - Technical Reference. Expert knowledge on Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server - Basics (Windows NT Resource Guide)]. Microsoft Windows NT 3.5 - Die technische Referenz (in German). 1/5 (1 ed.). Microsoft Press Deutschland, Microsoft Corporation. ISBN 3-86063-235-3.
  7. Immler, Christian; Lüders, Jürgen; Salomon, Norbert; Wehr, Hendric; Ziegert, Michael (1998). Windows 98 intern - System-Tuning und Technik-Referenz [Windows 98 internals - System tuning and technical reference] (in German) (1 ed.). DATA BECKER GmbH & Co. KG. ISBN 3-8158-1097-3. 9-783815-810972.
  8. "Description of Windows XP System Information (Msinfo32.exe) Tool". Microsoft. 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-12. System Information in Windows XP provides a new view of changes to the computer. ... History Information is provided by WMI, and is stored in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) data files located in Windows\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Datacoll.

Further reading

  • Cooper, Jim (2001). Special Edition Using MS-DOS 6.22, Third Edition. Que Publishing. ISBN 978-0789725738.
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