Sometimes the simplest things can make a world of difference.
In the August 2007 issue of TechNet Magazine, Lance Whitney highlights a classic Sysinternals tool: BGInfo.
Written by Bryce Cogswell, BGInfo automatically collects information about your computer at startup and displays it on the desktop. The list of data points you can display is huge and includes any environment variable, most registry values, and the output from VBScript and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) queries, as well as information from certain files.
I've been using BGInfo at both work and home for years and would be lost without it. Having important information about a given machine easily identified on the desktop saves a lot of effort and confusion, particularly when you're moving between multiple otherwise identical systems throughout the day.
For more handy utilities like this, see our archive of Utility Spotlight columns.