Is there a way to tell if a laptop has free PCI-E slots without opening it to check? As this has to do with a laptop that is not mine and I currently do not have it in my hands. Is there a way for the actual owner to check without opening to check the motherboard?

I am looking for a windows based solution. Windows version does not matter but preferably 7 and above

  • Given your response to the answers so far, are we to assume that you are looking for a Windows-based solution? – a CVn Jan 18 '16 at 12:06
  • oh yeah, forgot to mention that, will edit my question – John Demetriou Jan 18 '16 at 12:21
  • If you google the make and specific model of PC and find the system specs, this will tell you, requires a little effort but less than accessing the inside of the PC for a look see. – Moab Jan 18 '16 at 15:22
  • Asking for 3rd party Software solutions-recommendations is off topic here and will get your question closed. – Moab Jan 18 '16 at 15:25
  • I am not asking for a third party aoftware solution. I am aware this is not aoftware recommendations. Unless tjats the only way – John Demetriou Jan 18 '16 at 15:30

Sort of, but not reliably. The best way is to pop off the access panel and see.

Just to note, they will be mini PCI-e if anything, usually you'll have one for the WiFI/Bluetooth adapter.

You can download the free software HWiNFO which can list your available slots on the motherboard and whether they are 'In-Use'. As you can see in my screenshot:

enter image description here

(I believe this first screenshot is actually the interface for my dedicated graphics adapter, as I don't think mini PCI-e comes in anything but 1x varieties)

enter image description here

I believe this one is legit, and contains my WiFi/BT card.

That said, I don't actually trust this output, and it's impossible to say for certain as it may list available mini PCI-e slots, but no actual socket is available or soldered to the board. You will need to physically check or look at the service manual for the laptop.

  • yes but it is a good initial check I suppose? We may have false positives but no false negatives? – John Demetriou Jan 18 '16 at 11:39
  • @JohnDemetriou It should display everything it believes to be a slot. It could just be the motherboard reporting that the slot is actually there, when it is, in fact, not. I don't believe my laptop actually has two slots, although I've never actually checked. Considering I don't think there's such a thing as a x16 speed mini PCI-e slot, I'd assume that may be my graphics adapter, so not a real slot at all. – Jonno Jan 18 '16 at 11:43
  • ok, thank you, this is helpful yes, and easier for the owner to do than the other answer although the other answer is also feasible. – John Demetriou Jan 18 '16 at 11:44
  • Also see this software...gtopala.com – Moab Jan 18 '16 at 15:32

Maybe - there is not software (as far as I know) that can directly check for open slots, however the owner can run the following command in Command Prompt to find out the details of their motherboard, then research its features online.

wmic baseboard get product,Manufacturer,version,serialnumber

From this it should not be too difficult to deduce if there are any free slots - use device manager to see what hardware is connected, some of which will be using a slot.

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