How To Troubleshoot Problems With The DirectX Diagnostic Tool

Not many people know about the DirectX Diagnostic Tool (dxdiag.exe) included in Windows, intended for troubleshooting DirectX-related issues. With it, you can solve the problems you have with the hardware used by multimedia applications, such as audio/video players or video games. In this tutorial you will learn how to launch and use this tool to gather the information you need for troubleshooting those issues, in both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

What is DirectX?

According to Wikipedia, "Microsoft DirectX is a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) for handling tasks related to multimedia, especially game programming and video, on Microsoft platforms."

DirectX is usually used for developing Windows and Xbox games. Therefore, if your video games have stability and performance issues, this tool can help you understand where the problem is coming from. Gaming companies recommend the DirectX Diagnostic Tool when players need support with their games.

If you're interested in learning more about DirectX, Wikipedia has a detailed article about it.

How To Launch The DirectX Diagnostic Tool

In Windows 7, you can easily launch the tool by clicking on the Start Menu button and typing dxdiag in the search box. After that, you need to click on the dxdiag.exe search result.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

In Windows 8.1, things are a little bit different. Go to the Start screen, type dxdiag and click or tap the dxdiag.exe search result.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

Both operating systems allow you to start this tool by using Run window and running the command dxdiag.

How The DirectX Diagnostic Tool Is Organized

When you start the DirectX Diagnostic Tool for the first time, a small window pops up. It asks for your permission to check if your drivers are digitally signed by Microsoft and approved by Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Quality Labs. I recommend that you press Yes.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

Another window will appear, similar to the one below. It includes 4 tabs: System, Display, Sound and Input. Some of the tabs can show up multiple times, having a number added to their name. This means that the tool found more than one driver for devices with similar functions. For example, if you have 2 monitors, you will see two tabs called "Display 1" and "Display 2".

No matter which Windows version you use, the program looks the same.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

You can see the box "Check for WHQL digital signatures" at the bottom of the System tab. If you pressed Yes when the tool asked for the permission to evaluate if all the drivers are digitally signed, this box will already be checked. You can check or uncheck it anytime you want.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

If you have a 64-bit operating system installed, DirectX Diagnostic Tool first launches and checks the 32-bit drivers installed on your PC. Therefore, the tool won't show enough information, as your system has 64-bit drivers. Press the "Run 64-bit DxDiag" button.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

The 64-bit version of the tool will launch to reevaluate your drivers and hardware configuration.

How To Get General System Information

The tab named System shows basic information your computer, such as its name, the version of the operating system, the motherboard (displayed under System Manufacturer and System Model), the BIOS type and version, the processor, the amount of RAM and information regarding the page file and the DirectX version installed.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

How To Get System Display Information

Information regarding the video card and monitor(s) is showed in the Display tab. Here you can see the name of the video card, its manufacturer, the chip type, the approximate total memory, the current resolution, the monitor and detailed information about the driver installed (such as version, date etc.).

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

Under the DirectX Features section, you can see which of the most important DirectX features are enabled.

The Notes section displays eventual identified problems. This information can be used in troubleshooting.

How To Get System Sound Information

Information about the audio output options existing on your PC can be found in the Sound tab. It includes the name and manufacturer for each device, and driver-related information. Eventual device issues will be listed in the Notes field below.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

How To Get System Input Information

The Input tab shows information regarding all the input devices that are plugged in. Devices like a keyboard, a mouse, a gaming pad or a microphone.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows

You can see more detailed information about each device (such as the exact driver file being used, version, etc.), by expanding each type of input devices.

DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Windows


Among other troubleshooting tools provided by Windows, DirectX Diagnostic Tool is a very useful one that helps you identify if there's a problem with your video card, sound card or input devices. If you encounter performance issues while playing games or watching a movie, we recommend using this tool to find out why. Don't hesitate to share with us any other tips regarding this tool that helped you.

About the Author: Florin Andrei Pana