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Lance 16th August 2002 05:17

System Information won't start in Windows XP
I'm having an odd problem. Though my system is generally working well, I can't start "system information." When I click in the start menu, I get a momentary hourglass and then nothing. No error message, as one might expect. I've also tried the run menu and clicking on the actual file, msinfo32, in the Microsoft shared folder. All necessary files seem to be there, but nothing happens.

I can't go back to the last restore point at which msinfo worked, because I have used it so seldom that I can't tell when it stopped working. There doesn't seem to be an easy way to uninstall and then reinstall this component, which might well solve the problem if I could do it. I don't want to risk trying to reinstall the operating system. Is there any other way to solve this small, but annoying, little quirk?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.


Abraxas 16th August 2002 06:34

How about Start/Help? Is that working and did you use a registry cleaner lately?

Lance 16th August 2002 14:58

No, interestingly enough, Strart/Help is not working either. Is there a connection?

Yes, I use Registry Medic to clean up the registry on a fairly regular basis, and I have run it just recently, so if there is a registry problem, it appears to be one not correctable with that program.

Abraxas 16th August 2002 20:14

Yes, Lance, there is a connection. But I'm afraid you misunderstood the way I asked the question about the reg cleaner. I intended to imply that the cleaner was the cause of the problem rather than the solution.
Generally speaking, probably 10% of the problems people present to me about XP are CAUSED by poor or misused registry cleaners. I am not familiar with yours in particular, but they ALL cause damage to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the cleaner and the skill of the user. RegCleaner from seems to cause the least amount of harm if the "Ignored" list is adequately prepared. EasyCleaner is an especially bad one.
My suggestion would be to use the jv16 app only to remove references to apps you have uninstalled and stay clear of automatic cleanings.
Sys Info uses Help and Support files. The problems are one and the same. There are registry fixes, mentioned in MS KB articles, but this VB app does them all for you.
I bet this will replace the damaged reg keys (for Help, at least, but you may end up reinstalling other apps):

Thanks for letting me expound ;)

Lance 16th August 2002 21:27

Thanks very much! That did indeed solve the problem, and system information runs again. I'll check out the registry cleaner you suggested also. It never occurred to me that other commercial products might disable a standard part of the operating system like that.

Thanks again.


Kevin 16th August 2002 21:52

Excellent call Abraxas. Thanks.

Paul 17th August 2002 00:30

Quote: "EasyCleaner is an especially bad one."

EasyCleaner is actually my favourite Registry cleaner out there for ANY Windows OS INCLUDING XP. Problem is it's a bit overdue for an update. But it can easily be made 100% Windows XP and Office XP compatible by doing the following...

In the Registry cleaner Skip dialog box enter "Help" (without the quotes). This will stop EasyCleaner disabling the XP Help files.

To make the programme Office XP compatible you must enter "data.bak" (without the quotes) in the Unnecessary Files skip box. This means deleting unnecessary files from XP won't cause Office to keep asking for the install disk to repair some deleted files after using the unnecessary files function.

Yes Regcleaner is also a good cleaner but both cleaners find dead registry entries the other doesn't so they actually compliment each other if used one after the other.

BTW the OLD Microsoft Regclean version 4.1 from memory, IS NOT compatible with XP. Don't use it.

Abraxas 17th August 2002 02:54

As you can tell, Paul, I had bad experiences with EasyCleaner back in ME. The most important thing about regcleaners is probably to get to know whichever one you use thoroughly and be sure it makes backups.
We all have our likes and dislikes. Thank you for your input.

sled 17th August 2002 05:17

I have no problems using MS Regclean in XP. It's MS Regmaid that fails for me.

I use Cleanreg3, nagware. It has to be the best I've found.

Paul 17th August 2002 05:31

Quote: "I have no problems using MS Regclean in XP"

You are a lucky person and will live to be 100.

Go out and buy a lottery ticket!


Abraxas 17th August 2002 05:57

I'll have to stand with Paul on this one. It only makes sense that an app that came out before XP could not have been made in anticipation of the structure of XP's registry.
Using MS regclean is a shot in the dark.

beemer 14th September 2002 16:34

I have virtually the same problem that Lance had, but when trying to bring up "system information" through the "system tools" or by entering "msinfo32.exe" in the run box, I get the "help and support center" instead.

I've tried doing the following with no luck:

1. "sfc \scannow" and that doesn't help

2. I've looked at the extension and the relevant folder, etc. and everything looks fine there

3. I've tried unchecking the "remember folders" option and that didn't work

4. I've applied the "fixwinxphelp.vb" and that doesn't help

5. I've installed XP SP1 but that didn't help either

6. And some other things I can't remember

Any ideas?

Abraxas 14th September 2002 18:18

Well, that is an interesting one. I don't know what happened, but mine is the same. System Information is nigh unto inaccessible.
At first I thought it was because I had changed the file association of system information files (.nfo) to Notepad, but that didn't solve it.
This is a "fix" or "workaround" or whatever you want to call it until I can track this down.
Change the properties of your shortcut to System Information. You need to add a switch to the target. For example, mine now reads:

"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSInfo\msinfo32.exe" /showcategories

Or, from Run:
msinfo32 /showcategories

Abraxas 14th September 2002 19:54

My previous "fix" seems to give a slightly different form of SI. Changing your shortcut to the form:
"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSInfo\msinfo32.exe" "%1"
gives the usual SI.

Or, Run:
msinfo32 "%1"

I made a half-hearted attempt to track this down in the registry, but I am going to leave it as is with the shortcut fix.

beemer 15th September 2002 07:10

It worked!!! Thanks you. Could you post something if you find out anything else?

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