How to Use the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool

Msdt Featured

One hidden-away tool in Windows 10 is the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool. It’s not known by many people and is not something you really need to know about until you need it. Regardless, it’s good to learn about this tool, what its job is, and when it will be useful.

Let’s explore the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool and what it does.

What Is the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT)?

This tool isn’t like other diagnostic tools. While Windows 10’s other tools tend to fix and repair things, the MSDT only reports what’s happening on your computer. Even worse, you can’t even run it yourself — if you try, you’ll be prompted for a passkey that you won’t have!

The reason for this is because the MSDT is part of a larger support system. It’s only used if you’recurrently talking to a Microsoft technician about a problem with your computer, and the technician decides logs of what’s going on are needed.

When this happens, the technician will give you a passcode to enter into the MSDT. The tool will then begin tracking what you’re doing on the computer and send data to Microsoft for diagnostics. The technician may ask you to perform specific actions or run certain tools to get a better idea of what your PC is doing.

How to Run the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool

If the technician does ask you to boot up the MSDT, it’s very easy. Press the Start button at the bottom left, then type MSDT. Click on the entry that appears or press the Enter key.

Msdt Start Command

Unfortunately, that’s as far as you can go – it’ll then ask you for a passcode, which you won’t have unless you’re in a conversation with a technician who explicitly gave you one. It’s good to know in advance, however, so you’re ready when a Microsoft technician asks you to open it during tech support.

How to Diagnose Your Own Computer

If you’d rather not wait for a technician to give you a passkey and want to jump into diagnosing your own PC, you can. You won’t be using the MSDT, however; instead, you’ll use the System Diagnostic Report.

Starting it up is easy: click the Start button, then type run. Click the Run command that appears or press Enter.

Msdt Start Run

Once the Run command window is open, type perfmon /report into the command line and press Enter.

Msdt Perfmon

A window will pop up and run for sixty seconds. Once it’s done, it’ll give you a rundown of any errors or worrying signs it encountered. If you’re just checking for general system errors, feel free to wait for the sixty seconds.

Otherwise, if you’re trying to troubleshoot something specific, perform the action during the sixty-second window and see if perfmon catches the problem.

Doing the Diagnostics

While it’s very easy to open the MSDT, there’s no reason to unless a technician asks you to. If you actually want to perform diagnostics on your Windows machine, perfmon is a great way to do a quick health check.

What are your favorite tools and programs for troubleshooting a Windows 10 machine? Let us know below!

Simon Batt
Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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