Keeping an eye on your computer’s hardware health is vital if you want to prolong its life or anticipate the need for replace key components before they finally fail. Check your hard drive’s health with CrystalDiskInfo for example, or give your memory the onceover using the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool (part of the Vista and Windows 7 install discs, or available through Microsoft). But what about your processor, the brains of your computer?
Intel has developed a diagnostics tool to add to your maintenance toolkit: as the title suggests, it performs various checks on your processor to identify it, confirm its specifications and then stress-test it to ensure it’s in good working order. Perhaps surprisingly, only a 32-bit Windows version is currently available; the tool will refuse to install if you’re running a 64-bit version instead.
Once installed – any required elements like Java are automatically downloaded and installed by the software – make sure you’ve disabled any processor overclocking and Intel power management features such as SpeedStep. Then, double-click the program shortcut to get started: it’ll immediately launch into a series of tests.
Once the test completes, a new window will open telling you if your processor passed the test, and you can scroll through all the tests and their results for more details. You can view the tests in Notepad from the File menu, or choose Config > Edit Config to select which tests are performed the next time you run the test, plus tweak various other parameters. You can then save these or click Reset to Defaults.