How to find hardware and other computer specifications

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Desktop computer

Finding the hardware installed in your computer may be necessary for many reasons. Whether it's to determine if your computer meets system requirements, check on compatibility for upgrades, compare your machine to another, or help sell the computer. To check your hardware specifications, find your version of Windows in the section below and follow the instructions.

Tip

Some information, like brand, power rating, or size, can be determined by looking at the hardware. For example, most hardware displays the brand somewhere on the front or side panel. The power rating of a power supply, in terms of wattage outage, is often displayed on the side of the unit.

Note

Although often correct, keep in mind that whenever viewing any information about computer hardware through a program, it may be incorrect. Also, any hardware that is overclocked displays the overclocked speed and not the original speed.

Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10 users

DxDiag

DxDiag logo

The dxdiag utility included with DirectX allows you to not only display all system information but save it in an easy to read a text file. To run this utility click Start, run, and type: dxdiag and press Enter.

  • See our dxdiag page for further information on this program.

Msinfo32

Run the Windows System Information (msinfo32) that comes pre-installed with Windows to determine installed hardware and software specifications.

  • See the msinfo32 definition for complete information about this utility.

Device Manager

Generic hardware information of what Microsoft Windows is detecting is found through the Device Manager. If more detailed information is required, use a third-party utility. Below is an example of what the Device Manager looks like and what devices may be listed.

Windows Device Manager

Third-party programs

If this program does not list the information you need, see the third-party program section on this page. It contains a list of programs that can be installed to detect and list the hardware and software on your computer.

Windows 95 users

Device Manager

Generic hardware information of what Microsoft Windows is detecting is found in the Device Manager. If more detailed information is required, use a third-party utility.

Third-party programs

If this program does not list the information you need, see the third-party program section on this page. It contains a list of programs that can be installed to detect and list the hardware and software on your computer.

MS-DOS and Windows 3.x users

To see the computer's system specifications, run the MSD command from an MS-DOS prompt. Note: As mentioned on the MSD command page, this command is only meant for older computers running MS-DOS and not Windows computers running the Windows command line.

Third-party programs

Computer manufacturer's such as Dell also have unique identification numbers (Service Tag) that can be used on the manufacturer's website to determine all your system specifications.

Finally, there are third-party programs that enable users to display their system specifications and in some cases also benchmark their computer. Below is a list of these programs and the program's capabilities listed in the order we recommend most.

Belarc Advisor
http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

The Belarc free personal PC audit is a great software program and another highly recommended program that creates a fantastic report of your computer hardware and software. Below is a list of what this program is capable of detecting and displaying.

  • Operating system and system model type.
  • Processor speed and primary and secondary cache amount.
  • Motherboard type/chipset, controllers, bus clock speed, and BIOS.
  • Installed memory including what size of chips and what bank they're installed into on the motherboard.
  • Drives including hard drive manufacturer, size, SMART status, network drives, and other disc/diskette drives.
  • Installed local and network printers and their paths.
  • Installed video card and display.
  • Installed sound card and other multimedia cards.
  • Other connected devices (e.g., keyboard, mouse, USB devices).
  • User accounts and last login date and time.
  • Installed virus scanner and its version.
  • Installed Microsoft Security hotfixes and if any missing hotfixes are detected.
  • Software license information.
  • Installed software version.

Fresh Diagnose
http://www.freshdevices.com/

Another great free method for determining your system specifications through software and benchmarking your hardware devices. The program is capable of detecting such hardware as the CPU, hard drive, video, sound, motherboard, and drive performance. Note: The program does require a valid e-mail address to download.

HWiNFO and HWiNFO32
http://www.hwinfo.com/

Another great software tool for getting a comprehensive list of your hardware information that is available as a 14-day trial. HWiNFO can also display sensor information used for detecting the temperature of the motherboard, CPU, and any other devices and displaying voltage and fan RPM speeds. Finally, the program also includes a benchmarking comparison that can compare your computer against other hardware.

FinalWire AIDA64
https://www.aida64.com/

Formerly Lavalys EVEREST, FinalWire AIDA64 is a program capable of displaying a complete list of the software and hardware installed on your computer and can run benchmarks. The program is capable of detecting as much as many of the other programs listed on this page.

SiSoftware SANDRA
http://www.sisoftware.co.uk/

Short for System ANalyser Diagnostic and Report Assistant, SANDRA is an information and diagnostics software program capable of listing the hardware in the computer.

Additional information