Hello everyone,

This is my first post here.

I have been trying for months to decide which diagnostics "tool kit" to order. These are the ones I have been considering, but I can't find any comparative reviews on them.

Smith-Micro offers CheckIt Professional for $300. I have their portable edition (diskette based), but one big problem there is that I've had several notebooks recently that won't boot this from a USB floppy (including an IBM, a Sony, and a Dell). And I'm pretty sure that it doesn't test SATA controllers anyway. But I would certainly expect their full version to support SATA, and of course that would then be on a bootable CD.

Ultra-X appears to be the Cadillac, especially since they don't tell you the pricing online (you have to sign up to be contacted by a sales rep). I'm ruling them out because they are probably way over my budget (but feel free to correct me if you know their pricing).

PC-Diagnostics has what appears to be a good bundle for under $300 (including a PCI post card, a mini-PCI/printer-port post card for notebooks, loop back plugs, and a full suite of diagnostic software.

Microsoftware has Microscope2005 for about $300.

Can anyone help me choose between these, or make some recommendations about their strengths and weaknesses?

Thank you!

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Welcome to Daniweb :)

Thanks, you are The Dude! :cool: I appreciate the welcome, and I'm glad to be here. Am I correct in assuming that it was you who left the vote?

Hehe you figured it out :)

Would you mind commenting on why you voted for that one? Do you use it? :?:

So far, with no explanations, I have one vote for PC Diagnostics, one for something else (what do they recommend, I wonder?), and one for not spending the money. Since I do plan to buy one, and I want to get the best I can for $300 or less, this is the same as PC diagnostics 1, everything else 0. Anyone actually have any comments?

Thank you, jbennet. I will use that tool. I already have memtest 86+ as a stand-alone boot CD, and I have bootable HDD diagnostics from Seagate/Maxtor, Western Digital, Hitachi, Samsung, and I get others as needed. But it will be nice to have a boot CD that fits all HDD's, also does memory on the same CD, plus offers some cpu testing. The only cpu test I have is CheckIt Portable Edition, which is on floppy only, so I will appreciate CPU Burn, with the ACPI sensor testing. I will use this today on two notebooks.

But I don't see where it tests the motherboard, the PCI or AGP or PCI Express slots, or any of the other motherboard components. I really am looking for a full suite of tests.

All that said, I definitely appreciate and will use the tools you pointed me to. Thank you!

yeah, i do a lot of network troubleshooting in my community. I cant remember the name of it, but theres a specialised disk for network probing and port scanning etc.... i assume similar tools exist for hardware?

sorry, h/w diagnostic tools arent really my speciality

Well, it may not be your specialty, but your shared knowledge will be useful to me, now and in the future. I do need to up my level of Linux expertise, though. I'm very limited in that regard ... I can boot and use several Linux Live CD's (Kanotix, Knoppix, System Rescue CD, et al), and I have set up and managed one Linux FTP server under Knoppix and proftpd, but I don't really do any more with it than I have to. So learning to use this one will help me some in that area too. So, once more, thank you! :cool:

Well, I'm still hoping to get some more answers on which commercial diagnostics tool kit to get. So far the vote is one for PC Diagnostics, two for something else (and if your vote is for a different commercial tool kit, which one would you buy?), and two for not spending the money (I assume those are the freeware votes ...). If anyone has any further comments, I would love to "hear" them.

Thank you!


Hitachi's DFT (drive fitness test) is a good hard drive diagnostic which I use at work. It does an ok job of detecting bad sectors and failing drives but sometimes fails to read SMART error logs properly so you have to know its quirks.

Ultimately I think what you're looking for is UBCD which you can customize and put whatever you want on it...even the utility you were talking about on the floppy. You will ultimately find (if youre doing pc repair) that a PE environment coupled with something like the ubcd is an ultimate tool.

XgizmoX, thank you for the pointer on Hitachi DFT. I've used it and still have it, but only have used it on Hitachi drives. I will give that a try. I typically use each manufacturer's own software to test the drives (Seagate, WD, Samsung, etc.).

UBCD is also in my collection, and I use it often when combating spyware and viruses. I'm not too big into customizing those boot CD's because that takes a lot of maintenance time, so I just have a collection of them (UBCD, System Rescue CD, PartED, some Linux distros, etc. ...), and I get the new ISO every so often (it takes me a lot less time that way).

Thank you for your input,


P.S. And I'm still hoping there are some techs on this board that use (or have used) one or more of these, and can provide some "insider" insight ...

Making a good custom linux liveCD can be done in a day or so

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