Fix System Information "Can't Collect Information" Error
By Stephen Bucaro
System Information is a powerful utility that tells you almost everything about your computer.
It tells you how your computers resources are assigned, including DMA channels, IRQs, I/O addresses
and memory addresses. How your computers hardware is configured, including registry keys,
resource assignments, and device drivers. How your software is loaded in memory, including
loaded modules, running tasks, and much more.
The best thing about the System Information utility is that it's free and it's installed
with every version of Windows 98 and higher. The file name for the System Information utility
is Msinfo32.exe and it resides in the /Windows/System32/ folder. To open System Information,
select Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Information, or select
Run... in the Start menu and type msinfo32 into the Run dialog
box that appears.
The System Information utility is an interface to the Windows Management Instrumentation
(WMI) service. WMI is a Windows service that gets information about the internal state of
a computer system, much like the dashboard instruments of a car gets and displays information
about the state of the car's engine. When you run the System Information utility, if you
recieve the error message:
Can't Collect Information
It means either the WMI service is not running, or a problem is preventing the WMI service
from collecting information, like a a corrupted WMI repository. To see if the WMI service is
running, select Run... in the Start menu, and in the Run dialog box type
Services.msc and click on the [OK] button. In the Services window that appears,
scroll down to Windows Management Instrumentation and look in the Status column,
it should say Started.
If the Windows Management Instrumentation service status is other than Started,
double-click on the services name, and in the service's Properties dialog box that
appears, click on the [Start] button. Then click on the [OK] button. If the service cannot
start, it may be because of a corrupt WMI repository.
Rebuilding the WMI Repository
The WMI repository is a file in which WMI stores schema and static instances. If you delete
or rename the repository, the first WMI operation will force WMI to rebuild it. To rename
the WMI repository, first stop the WMI service, similar to how it was described to start
the service above. Then rename the repository folder (located at Windows\system32\wbem\repository)
to e.g. repository_bak, then start the WMI service.
• Applications are supposed to use Managed Object Format (MOF) files to
store static information for the repository and those files must be marked for autorecover to
work properly in the repository bebuiding process. If an application only updates the repository
during installation and does not use MOF files or if the MOF file is not marked for autorecover,
then the WMI data for that application will be lost (until the application is re-installed).
Microsoft has released a new
WMI Diagnosis Utility
that helps diagnose and repair problems with the WMI. The utility runs a comprehensive test
of the WMI and writes the results to a log file. You can use the utility to determine if a
repository rebuild is necessary. (Read the WMIDiag_ReadMe.doc file to learn how the utility works.)
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