Basic Software Inventory is a tiny system information tool which can list the software installed on any PC across your network.

The program can only itemise applications installed with the Windows installer, a significant restriction - but don't let that put you off. Basic Software Inventory has other interesting aspects, including the fact that it's an HTML Application, an HTA file, so you can see how the program works and even tweak it to suit your needs.

Basic Software Inventory arrives as a single Software.hta file. Click this, type the name or IP address of the computer you'd like to check (or for the current system), and click "Go". The full scan may take a few moments, but once it's finished you'll see a list of your installed applications: name, version, vendor, installation date and other details.

If you need to share this information then it can be selected, copied and pasted like any other text (click in the box, press Ctrl+A , Ctrl+C to copy it all, say). Alternatively, click "Copy" to copy a tab-delimited version, ready for pasting into any convenient spreadsheet.

And if the report is just too lengthy, Basic Software Inventory's filters may help you zoom in on the data you need. You can restrict the list to a particular program name, vendor or installation date; just enter what you need, and click Go to view a cut-down list.

If you know anything about scripting, though, the most interesting part of Basic Software Inventory is in browsing the source code to see how it all works. Drag and drop Software.hta onto Notepad and take a look.

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Basic Software Inventory is about as basic a software auditing tool as you can get. It's remarkably good for a 5KB download, though: portable, and easy to use. And if you know what you're doing then you can even customise it - very smart.