Fix System Information "Can't Collect Information" Error

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 [We're sorry, this download is no longer available] 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.)

Learn more at

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