Utility Review: SWI – System Information for Windows

AIDA32 use to be my dearest love for system information, until it turned into Everest Home and then it vanished from the freeware scene into payware. The Ultimate edition is $30 up front, with $20/year maintenance to get updates. They recently offered an “Engineer” edition that is $199/year. However, maybe you want something that is freeware to check your own system or some elses, but you want the power of Everest. Introducing: SIW!

The web page for the program is here and is cleverly laid out as a Windows desktop. The author goes into a lot of detail into each feature with screen shots: very classy! The program is one executable: no installation, no DLL or INI files. I like the simplicity very much. Now some programs will just give you very generic information (ahem, Belarc Advisor), but SIW goes in depth like Everest does. The first page I go into is the Operating System tab. My Windows Vista product key is there: very nice! However, it only seems to be able to determine the activation status on Windows XP. When I ran it on Windows Vista, it was completely missing. Clicking on Licenses brought up my keys for Office 2003 and 2007: impressive. It does, however, misidentify my Office as being the Enterprise edition. It’s actually a copy from Technet using a retail key, but it’s close enough.

Upon clicking on Domain Groups, I was presented with all the groups in my company’s AD structure. That’s a bit unsettling given that I have regular user access to AD. Likewise, clicking on Domain User Accounts gives me a listing of all the AD user accounts in the DS and which groups those accounts are in, including Domain Administrators! I’m very tempted to try running this utility on another network to see if would pull up the same information.

Clicking on the Secrets tab makes my jaw drop: all of my Firefox passwords are presented to me in cleartext! VNC passwords are also presented here and those are supposed to be encrypted! Wow, I’m really starting to like this utility! Clicking on PCI under Hardware presents a listing of information regardless of what driver is installed. That feature alone makes this program a keeper and definitely a replacement option for Everest. SIW is unable to get the SPD information of my DIMMs: Everest has no problem. SIW is able, however, to identify the size in each bank of memory.

Embedded within the program is a program called Eureka! This allow you to reveal passwords behind asterisks. I tried it on both Windows Vista and Windows XP and it does work! Yet another reason not to save passwords in Internet Explorer or Firefox. Oh look, an embedded Windows 9x password cracker! Move over Cain and Abel (if you ever tried cracking PWL files you know what I mean, wink, wink)! There’s even ping, trace and network built in to this rig, along with remote execution goodies. Again, all of this is in one little 1.4MB file!

You have to remember that SIW is written by a freelance programmer in his spare time and does not have the resources of a corporate entity. For that, I have to say he’s done one hell of a job making this thing! Now if you want to use this for commercial purposes, there are licenses that you need to purchase. For a technician license it is $75 for unlimited use. Very reasonably priced vs the perpetual $200/year that Everest charges.

I give this program my highest rating and recommendation:

Do you have a utility that you find useful in your tech work? Send your information on it to web..(at)..leinss.com and it could be featured here!

– Soli Deo Gloria

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.