How to find information about my computer

Updated: 06/27/2017 by Computer Hope

Your computer has dozens of hardware components and can be running thousands of different programs. Below is a complete list of how to find more information about all of the parts of your computer and everything it may be running.

Types of computer

In the past, it was much easier to identify the type of computer you were using. Today, there are desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets, hybrid computers, and smartphones that are all considered a computer. Below is a visual example of the more common computers to give you a better comparison of the different types of computers.

Computers

Once you have identified the type of computer, it can make it easier to help identify the software and hardware running on the computer.

Model number and Serial number

Model and serial numberDetermining your computer model number and serial number can help you troubleshoot the computer and can also help you find the latest drivers and other updates for your computer. With Desktop computer many OEM's list the information on the side of the computer, like the Hewlett Packard computer sticker shown to the right.

Laptop, Netbook, and Hybrid computers often have the model and serial number on the bottom of the computer. If you cannot find this information, manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Acer also have tools on the computer and websites to help identify your computer.

Operating system

The operating system is what allows your computer software to communicate with the computer hardware. Today, there are several operating systems that can be installed on a device including Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Apple iOS, Linux, Chrome OS and Android. For a traditional computer (desktop or laptop) you are going to be using either Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, or Linux.

Desktop, laptop, Netbook, and Hybrid computers

Windows start buttonsThe most common operating system for these types of computers is Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux. You can quickly identify if the computer is running Windows if it has a Start button at the bottom-left corner of the screen. An Apple computers can be identified by the Apple menu at the top of the screen or the dock at the bottom of the screen. Linux computers get a little more tricky because of all of the different type of interfaces that they can be using.

Tip: Keep in mind that all of these operating systems have different versions. For instance, as of this writing the newest version of Windows is Windows 10, but Windows 8 and 7 are still supported.

Tablet

Today, there are two strong competitors making operating systems for tablets, Apple, who makes iOS and Google, who make Android. If you are trying to identify between the two operating systems because they look similar, you can determine what operating system your tablet is running by looking at the top bar. Apple places the time in the top center, and Google places the time in the top-right of the home screen.

To find the version information for either of these operating systems follow the steps below.

  • With Android click Apps, Settings, and then About device (Android version)
  • With Apple click Settings, General, About

Smartphone

Like a tablet, there are two strong competitors who make operating systems for smartphones, Apple, who makes iOS and Google, who make Android. There are also many smaller competitors including BlackBerry, who makes BlackBerry OS and Microsoft, who makes Windows Phone.

To find the version information for either Apple or Android operating system follow the steps below.

  • With Android click Apps, Settings, and then About device (Android version)
  • With Apple click Settings, General, About

Software

There are thousands of programs and apps that can be installed and the best way to find the version of a program you are using is to view the help or about for that program. Information about the program and version information can be accessed through the help section in the file menu. With a desktop or laptop computer, you can quickly open this section in almost all programs by pressing the F1 key.

Hardware

There are dozens of hardware components inside your computer, and peripherals that can be connected to your computer. See the link below for related links on identifying all of the hardware in your computer.

Additional information