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I'm running a Windows 7 release candidate, but I'm pretty sure there's a way to do it that works on XP and above.

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What info are you trying to acquire since if it should be a Windows function you limit the choices ;-) – Ivo Flipse Jul 29 '09 at 18:54
I'm looking for the make and model of the touchpad on my laptop currently, but it seems like every few weeks I need it for something different. – Cheesington Jul 29 '09 at 19:04
Install something like Teamviewer on your moms computer, so you can take over and do whatever the heck you need. Way more efficient ;-) – Ivo Flipse Jul 29 '09 at 19:10
Ask someone else to do it for you? – SaxDaddy May 27 '14 at 4:57
up vote 17 down vote accepted

In Windows Vista (and I believe XP and 7), you can go to Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Information. If this doesn't work, try searching for it or entering "msinfo32" in the run box. This provides a system summary, hardware resources, components, and software environment areas, as well as search options.

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+1 for giving the simplest solution. – Kenneth Cochran Jul 29 '09 at 19:45
+1 This utility strikes a nice balance between technical info and friendliness and doesn't require additional software. – Cheesington Jul 29 '09 at 19:52
Aside from being easy to implement, this solution has another advantage: it's easy to copy-paste the relevant text out of the System Information box. – user1205197 Sep 14 '15 at 9:18

Try Belarc Advisor

alt text

The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.

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This should be the accepted answer. The above windows utilities will give you incomplete and inaccurate information. – Loophole Oct 3 '15 at 22:32
Used this before to store my windows serial number for future. What an excellent tool. Also good for seeing what is installed, if you want to do a manual refresh. – Anthony Horne May 8 at 11:20

Running dxdiag.exe from the run menu will bring up a short summary. You can then click the Save All Information button at the bottom produces a very detailed list of installed hardware and drivers.

dxdiag screenshot

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+1, Very neat. Did not know the DirectX added such a handy tool. – nik Jul 29 '09 at 19:10
It lets you save 'all' information as a simple text file. Which is the best part. – nik Jul 29 '09 at 19:10
You know, I didn't even notice that option at the bottom! Thanks for pointing that out, nik -- I'm going to edit my answer to highlight that. The file it produces is very comprehensive. – Cheesington Jul 29 '09 at 19:41

Lots of free software 'audit' your hardware (listing a couple here).

There are specific tools to look at your process, graphics card etc,

  • CPU-Z for the processor and motherboard details
  • GPU-Z for the Graphics card details
  • HDDTune for Harddisks

For a local check, you need to dig through the
Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Device Manager detail.

The other tools give you data in a little more organized manner.
They are quite small to carry in a USB pendrive usually.

I think, you could also get down to writing a VB Script to run through the registry and pull out all the details.

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Ideally it would be something that is already installed. When I'm trying to support my mom on her computer over the phone something as simple as finding, downloading and running a bit of free software becomes frustrating and complicated. – Cheesington Jul 29 '09 at 18:52

Piriform has made a new program called Speccy. Seems to be a really nice application for this sort of thing.

Piriform Speccy

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SIW (System Info for Windows) is a free, portable utility that gives a very detailed hardware (and software) report. Runs on Windows versions 98 to 7:

Hardware report: Motherboard, Sensors, BIOS, CPU, chipset, PCI/AGP, USB and ISA/PnP Devices, Memory, Video Card, Monitor, Disk Drives, CD/DVD Devices, SCSI Devices, S.M.A.R.T., Ports, Printers...

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SIW is definitely the most comprehensive tool for getting hardware info that I've ever seen. – nhinkle Sep 2 '10 at 9:05

I like this:

SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software.

Download the free Lite version

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