Q&A Monday:How can I display computer information on my desktop?


I was visiting another data center and while given a glimpse of their servers, I saw on the desktops of their server had their server information.  I’ve seen this at other companies, and with the large amount of physical and virtual servers I have in my data center, it would help me keep the server information viewable just by logging in.


Good Question.  I think one of the first things a new administrator to a job should do, if it’s not already done, is do this exact thing to a server.  When you start out at a new job, the specs/ip addresses/OS Versions are hard to keep track of, so I do this exact thing.  It helps me look at a server…and know what the type and specs are.  So I set it up, so on the lower left of my screen I get something like this:

This is something that is actually very easy to set up.  It’s a product called BgInfo from Sysinternals.com.  Don’t worry it’s Free and quick to install and configure. (download). 

  1. Download and Unzip the file
    (NOTE: I downloaded the zip file to a folder I created in Progam Files)
  2. I went into schedule tasks
  3. click “Add Schedule Task”
  4. Next
  5. Click Browse
  6. Browse to the programs folder or unzip locations and select the bginfo.exe
  7. Name it whatever you want and for now schedule it to run daily, click next
  8. We’re going to add other settings, so just click next
  9. Enter the running credentials
  10. Then click on “Open Advanced Properties for this task when I click finished” and click finish
  11. At the end of the RUN text section (after bginfo.exe in the path) add   /timer:0
  12. Click Schedule Tab
  13. Click Advanced Click repeat task…and set it to whatever you interval you want…I did 10 minutes.
  14. Click OK

Now the program is set to run when someone logs in and will update at whatever interval you set.  Then start the program for the first time, browsing to where the file was placed and click the bginfo.exe and you’ll get the options:

Here you can select what the program displays and what font and size it is displayed.  I usually don’t use all the settings, I usually limit it to what I need to see on the servers.  You can also choose where the information is displayed on the screen, as in lower corner or upper corner…or even centered.

If  you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line at me@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question.  Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and check back Wednesday and Friday for other technical insights.

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