Saturday, 17 April 2010

'Checkbox' System Tester

Lurking in the System > Administration menu is a useful little tool masquerading under the name of System Tester. Its' real name is Checkbox.
"Checkbox provides tests to confirm you system is working properly. Once you are finished runnin the tests, you can view a summary report for your system."
In a set of guided screens, Checkbox runs through a comprehensive set of tests covering all the hardware and most of the software present.
You select some, all or none of the tests listed in the setup screen. You can step forward and backward through the tests; each step has confirmation radio buttons for 'yes', 'no' or 'skip this test.'

Items such as disk benchmark can be quite useful for raw speed tests, although in the proper sense of the word, a benchmark includes comparative results. So offering a question in the form 'is this ok?' prompts the questions, "how do I know?" and "what are you going to do about it if its' not?"

The most useful thing I found in Checkbox is the diagnostic for video modes. The test program will run through all the available video modes and try running the glxgears 3-D graphics tests. Having a list of video modes and refresh frequencies can be a useful timesaver when trying to select the best (or safest) video mode to match your graphics card to the monitor.

At the end of the selected test-run you also get an HTML-formatted test report to keep. RC

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