Have you ever needed to install Windows on a older machine but the COA key on the bottom or side of the PC is rubbed off, making it unreadable? Ever had to do a reinstall after a virus but you don’t have the original packaging for all your programs and lost their product keys? These issues will be a thing of the past after you install Belarc Advisor software to be your primary keyfinder and security analyzer. A quick save of the HTML page that it creates and you will have access to all the keys you will need for a fresh install. This program has personally saved me once when reinstalling XP for a friend. Without it, I would have had to instruct him to buy a new copy of Windows and since XP isn’t sold anymore, that could have meant a new PC all together.
Belarc Advisor Software Installation
Installation of the keyfinder is very quick and painless. With only a few clicks, the program is installed and ready to go. After the install and before the program is ran for the first time, it will prompt you to check for new security definitions to help report missing Microsoft Security updates. This can be skipped if Belarc is just being used for key retrieval. Very minimal installation as the program itself is not that big, leaving a small footprint on the hard drive.
Use Belarc Advisor Software Keyfinder and Security Analyzer
After the newest definitions are loaded, or opted out of, it will take a minute or so to fully analyze your PC and internal network. The free home version isn’t meant for commercial use so if installed on a mid to large networked PC, it could take it a bit to fully analyze the whole network as well as the PC. It opens a HTML page with all of the information that it has found out about your computer, the network it is on, and anything that is attached to it. On this page, there is a wealth of info sectioned off into neatly separated segments displaying everything one could want to know. With everything from Users on the machine to your network mapped out in text, finding is needed should be simple. The sections I look at most when using this program are the Software Licenses and the Missing Microsoft Security Hotfixes. In the Software Licenses area, you can find out what your COA key is as well as other programs that require a product or installation key.
I would advise making a physical copy of this page via a print because if your hard drive fails. Each section has a nice “Back to the Top” link fight next to the title of that section, and is handy if you are bouncing around the page. In the Missing Microsoft Security Hotfixes, Belarc tells you what security patches you are missing, as the title suggests, and gives you links to the Microsoft article that describes the issue. A extremely good security assistant, letting you know if you need to download the latest Window’s Updates to fully protect your computer.
One other nice feature of the software’s HTML page is at the very top. Here it gives a concise representation of their overall security score, letting you know if your antivirus is up to date, and how many Microsoft Updates the computer is missing. Clicking on either of the last two will take you to that section further down on that page but the security score will go into extravagant detail as to what is active and what is missing keeping the PC safe. It allows you to know if your password is considered complex enough, whether the PC can be accessed through the network or from outside the LAN, and about 300 other checklist style items for your viewing pleasure. If you want to lock down your PC from the rest of the world, this is a great tab to investigate.
Check out the FAQ’s at the home page if you have any questions or concerns with how the information is retrieved or stored as they go into decent detail. One of the big questions is, “Is this information published on Belarc’s web server?” The answer is nope, it just creates a local web page to view all of the acquired information which can be checked by looking at the generated URL at the top.
Belarc Advisor Software Summary
With a good mix of overall system analysis and in depth program and security patch investigation, Belarc Advisor’s keyfinder and security analyzer comes in very helpful. It is mainly packaged as a system analyzer. I don’t find it stronger than PC Wizard but it does hold different info of which the two in tandem make a great one-two punch. It has a very basic layout without much interaction but isn’t displeasing to the eyes. Outside of it taking a bit to scan the system and network, not really much to complain about with this program. Try it out here with a free download Belarc.
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