Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm going to send my computer for maintenance. But the services at my place have bad reputation, so I think I better be careful. I intend to write down all the hardware ID, so I can know if they change any of my hardware or not.

Please tell me how to acquire the unique IDs for CPU, Mainboard, Hard drive and RAM. In case it's too difficult, a number that maybe duplicate but rarely is also ok. I tried CPU-Z, but found no unique ID with it.

share|improve this question
What operating system are you using? Also probably the only failsafe way to get the unique IDs is to open your system and check each component for an ID. – jmetz Jul 24 '12 at 14:38
If you want to be absolutely sure, open the system and take the serial numbers off each component. – Shinrai Jul 24 '12 at 14:44
@Shinrai Yes, I need that, but how can I get those serial numbers? – DatVM Jul 24 '12 at 14:47
@W.N. - I mean literally take the numbers down physically via visual inspection. They're usually on stickers attached to the components. – Shinrai Jul 24 '12 at 14:52
By looking at the required components, and looking for a sticker that contains a barcode and or numbers. The serial number should be prefixed with something like "SN or "S/N". – Oliver G Jul 24 '12 at 14:52
up vote 7 down vote accepted

See if you can read the serial numbers off the labels. Also use software like CPU-Z, but there are limits to what you can do there. Having written some software to uniquely identify computers, I can offer some input:

  • Most/all modern CPUs do not have a software-readable serial number. Intel tried to add one in the late 1990s with the Pentium III, but there was such an uproar that they discontinued this feature. The best you can do with a CPU is to identify the particular model/stepping, which CPU-Z does a nice job of.
  • Motherboards often, but not always, contain unique information in the SMBios portion of memory. Computers from major OEMs typically have a serial number in here somewhere - but I have seen even the major OEMs screw this up. Note that it could probably be reprogrammed with special tools proprietary to the motherboard. You can read it using WMI. From a command prompt:

    C:\Users\testuser> wmic
    wmic:root\cli> BASEBOARD

    Scroll to the right to find the identifying information.

  • You can get the MAC address of your network card, which is always a unique number. Run ipconfig /all from a command prompt, and look for Physical Address.
  • Newer versions of Windows offer an easy way to read the hard drive serial number via WMI. Follow the previous example, but enter DISKDRIVE instead of BASEBOARD. Look for the SerialNumber column.
  • I haven't seen that RAM would have a unique serial number. The best I can suggest is record all information about RAM via CPU-Z.
share|improve this answer
Thank you, your answer is very clear and helpful. – DatVM Jul 24 '12 at 16:23
+1 for adding MAC address. – Scott Oct 25 '14 at 20:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .