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.

  • What info are you trying to acquire since if it should be a Windows function you limit the choices ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 29, 2009 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. Jul 29, 2009 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, 2009 at 19:10
  • Ask someone else to do it for you?
    – SaxDaddy
    May 27, 2014 at 4:57

8 Answers 8


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.

  • 1
    +1 This utility strikes a nice balance between technical info and friendliness and doesn't require additional software. Jul 29, 2009 at 19:52
  • 1
    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. Sep 14, 2015 at 9:18
  • It also provides an export option...
    – Digger
    Aug 30, 2018 at 5:09

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.

  • This should be the accepted answer. The above windows utilities will give you incomplete and inaccurate information. Oct 3, 2015 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. May 8, 2016 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

  • +1, Very neat. Did not know the DirectX added such a handy tool.
    – nik
    Jul 29, 2009 at 19:10
  • 2
    It lets you save 'all' information as a simple text file. Which is the best part.
    – nik
    Jul 29, 2009 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. Jul 29, 2009 at 19:41

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

Piriform Speccy


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.

  • 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. Jul 29, 2009 at 18:52

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...

  • SIW is definitely the most comprehensive tool for getting hardware info that I've ever seen.
    – nhinkle
    Sep 2, 2010 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



HWiNFO™ (for DOS operating system), HWiNFO32™ and HWiNFO64™ (for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows® versions) is a collection of professional hardware information and diagnostic tools supporting latest components, industry technologies, and standards. These tools are designed to collect and show the maximum amount of information about your PC/laptop hardware.

The information retrieved by this program is presented in a logical and easily understandable form and can be exported (saved) in several various types of reports such as Text, HTML or XML format.

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