Graphics and Multimedia System Tools

Last week I presented a 75-minute breakout session titled “Computer Graphics and Multimedia: A Survival Guide for IT Pros” at BriForum in Denver. In essence, my session covered an introduction of the most common application programming interfaces (APIs) and file formats commonly used for graphics and multimedia: GDI, DirectX, WPF, OpenGL, AV, Silverlight, Flash and HTML5. Some attendees asked me if I can provide the list of tools I demonstrated during my session.

Here are the tools I like to use when analyzing and testing virtual desktops and remote user sessions:

  • The built-in tool Msinfo32 launched from the Windows command line is a great starting point to give you a summary of the system settings: hardware resources, components and software environment.
  • SysInternals Process Explorer allows you to take a look at the DLLs containing API functions. (
  • Dependency Walker is a free utility that scans any 32-bit or 64-bit Windows module and builds a hierarchical tree diagram of all dependent modules. For each module found, it lists all the functions that are exported by that module. (
  • GPU-Z by TechPowerUp is a free lightweight system utility designed to provide information about video cards and graphics processors. (
  • GPU Caps Viewer is a graphics card information utility focused on the OpenGL, OpenCL and CUDA API level support of the primary graphics card, including several OpenGL and OpenCL demos. (
  • GPU Shark is a simple, lightweight and free GPU monitoring tool that offers a global view of all installed graphics cards in a single window. (
  • Spy++ is a Win32-based utility included in Microsoft Visual Studio that provides a graphical view of the system’s processes, threads, windows, and window messages, ideally suited for analyzing GDI applications. (
  • The built-in tool DxDiag launched from the Windows command line reports detailed information about the DirectX components and drivers installed on the system.
  • GLView (OpenGL Extension Viewer) shows the details of all OpenGL extensions available on a Windows system and lists all OpenGL functions are implemented. (
  • Cool DirectX and OpenGL demos by Emil Persson, who is mostly known as “Humus”. (
  • Gspot is a freeware program designed to identify the codecs used in video files. It also checks if the required DirectShow filters or Video for Windows codecs are installed and configured for proper playback. (

Have fun!

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