How do I find the hard drive type and specifications?

Third-party software utilities

Computer hard driveThere are dozens of free software utilities that are designed to detect the hardware in your computer. Using one of these utilities can not only display the model of your hard drive but other valuable hardware and software information.

Users running Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows users can see generic information about the hard drive by following the steps below.

  1. Click the Start Button and then click the "Programs" folder.
  2. Next, click the "Accessories" and then the "System Information" or "System Tools" folder.
  3. Open the "System Information" file.
  4. Within the System Information window, click the + symbol next to Components.
  5. Click the "+" next to "Storage" and click on "Drives", in the right side of the window you should be able to locate complete information about the hard drive including the size of the hard drive and the serial number.

IBM compatible users

IBM compatible users can usually enter the computer's CMOS setup to view additional information about their hard drive. Commonly, the CMOS will list the hard drive's serial number, model number, cylinders, heads, sectors, and the size of the hard drive.

Note: If the CMOS is not configured to auto detect the hard drive, it is important to note that the hard drive values may not be correct.

Determining the speed or RPM of a hard drive

To determine the speed or RPM of a hard drive you must first determine the manufacturer and model of the hard drive. Once you've determine this information you can lookup the drive on the manufacturers web page to determine the RPM of the drive.

Some manufactures also list the RPM of the hard drive on the actual drive. If you open the computer and remove the hard drive look on the top sticker to see if the RPM is listed.

Disk utilities

Many disk utilities designed to setup the hard drive will properly detect and setup a hard drive; in addition, may also provide the user with some basic additional information about the hard drive.

For example, using the fdisk utility you can display additional information about the size of the hard drive and partition information.

Other methods of determining the hard drive

One of the best methods for determining additional information about a hard drive is to obtain information directly off the hard drive. The majority of hard drives have a sticker on the top of the drive that contains complete information about the drive. If you are unable to locate the information you need through software, it is recommended you open the case and remove the hard drive to get the information you need.

Product listing or specifications

If you are trying to list all the specific information about your computer, specifying the manufacturer, model, type, and size of the hard drive is sufficient. Below is an example of how this may look.

Maxtor 54098H8 IDE 40Gig hard drive

Drivers or installation

Replacement or repair

If you are trying to determine the hard drive because it needs replaced or repaired, it is recommended that the drive be replaced with another hard drive. As long as you are using the same hard drive interface (IDE/SATA), the model or manufacturer of the previous drive should be irrelevant.