How to Find the Technical Specifications of your Computer
Knowing the technical specifications of a computer or electronic device is useful for installing the correct software or for purchasing the right hardware components. This information is also useful for identifying the cause of a technical problem (for example, a faulty hardware device driver). All operating systems on the market offer a quick and easy way to trace the technical specifications of an electronic device.
Method 1 of 4: Windows
Step 1. Open the “Run” dialog
Use the “Start” menu or just press the key combination ⊞ Win+R .
Step 2. Type the command
Type the command “msinfo32” and press the OK button . The “System Information” dialog will be displayed.
It may take a few seconds for the “System Information” window to appear on the screen.
There are several ways to find the technical specifications of a computer running the Windows operating system, but the “System Information” window is the tool that provides a complete and readable list of all the necessary information.
Step 3. Review the “System Resources” tab for access to a list of all basic computer specifications
Inside the indicated card there is a large list of items. The “System Resources” tab is the one that will be displayed by default as soon as the “System Information” window opens.
- OS name – indicates the version of Windows installed on the computer;
- System Manufacturer / Model – these two items indicate the name of the computer manufacturer and the model respectively;
- System type – indicates the type of hardware architecture of the computer: 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64);
- Processor – Indicates the model and operating frequency of the processor installed in the computer. The frequency indicated by this entry is the one advertised directly by the CPU manufacturer (not the current one the processor is working on). If the processor has multiple cores, the number of cores it contains will also be indicated. Note that if you have overclocked the CPU, the new maximum working frequency will not appear within this entry. To find out this value , refer to this article ;
- Physical installed memory (RAM) – the value indicated by this item represents the total amount of RAM installed in the computer;
- Base Board Manufacturer / Model – shows the name of the manufacturer of the motherboard on which the computer is based and its model. Sometimes the model number is not reported correctly.
Step 4. Expand the “Components” section
Within this tab you can find detailed information about the graphics card and memory units installed in your computer.
Step 5. Select the “Display” category
Information about the video card installed in your computer will be shown. If your computer motherboard has an integrated video card and there is an additional graphics card in your system, two sets of specifications will be displayed: one for each.
The technical specifications that it is normally useful to know about video cards are the name and amount of RAM installed, indicated respectively by the Name and Card RAM items . The value of the RAM card entry is expressed in bytes, but is usually reported in gigabytes (GB) within the system requirements necessary to use a program or software. Remember that 1 GB is made up of one billion bytes (in the “System information” window, a value other than that indicated by the card manufacturer may be reported).
Step 6. Expand the “Storage” section and select the “Drives” category
You will see the amount of free space and the combined capacity of all memory drives in your computer (hard drives, partitions, USB drives, and optical drives).
Select the item “Disks” to view the data of the hard disks present in the system and the partitions they contain.
Step 7. Review the other sections there
The information described up to this point should be sufficient to determine if a software or hardware component is compatible with your computer. However, this is basic information, so by examining the other items present you will be able to trace more in-depth and precise data.
The “Software Environment” section contains information about system drivers, running processes and programs that run when the operating system is started.
Step 8. Export file information if you need to diagnose the cause of a specific problem
If you are working with an experienced technician to solve a particular problem, he or she may ask you to review the technical specifications of the computer. In this case you can create a file containing all this information by accessing the “File” menu and choosing the “Export” option. Name the new file and save it as a text file.
Method 2 of 4: Mac
Step 1. Go to the “Apple” menu and choose “About This Mac”
A dialog box will appear listing the version of the operating system on your Mac and a list of the computer’s technical specifications including the processor’s working frequency, the amount of RAM and the graphics card installed (if any).
Step 2. Use the tabs listed at the top of the window (OS X Yosemite)
The “About this Mac” window of the new versions of the operating system dedicated to Macs is organized in convenient tabs that allow you to quickly view the technical specifications of the various hardware devices in the system. If you are using the Mavericks operating system (OS X 10.9) or an earlier version, skip this step.
A summary of the most frequently requested technical specifications is shown in the “Overview” tab. The information in this section should be more than enough to quickly understand whether or not your Mac is capable of running a certain program.
The list of all monitors currently connected to the computer is shown in the “Monitors” tab.
The “Archive” tab shows all the hard drives connected to the Mac and the remaining free space on each.
Step 3. Press the button “More info” (OS X Mavericks and earlier)
A new window will appear showing more detailed information regarding the Mac hardware. Use the tree menu located in the left sidebar of the window that appears to locate the hardware component whose technical specifications you want to know.
The “Hardware” category shows the detailed information of all the hardware components of the Mac. Selecting the “Hardware” category will show the information relating to the Mac’s CPU in the right pane of the window. If your computer’s processor consists of multiple cores, the information will appear in this section.
Note: The processor clock frequency indicated by the manufacturer will be reported. This data is useful for determining if your Mac meets the technical requirements for running a particular program. However, this information will not be reliable if you have overclocked the CPU. In this case, refer to this article to find out the real working frequency of the processor.
Method 3 of 4: Linux
Step 1. Open a “Terminal” window
To view a list of the basic technical specifications of a Linux computer, you can use a program built into many distributions of this operating system. If this software tool is not already included with your system, you can install it quickly and easily. Using most Linux distributions you can open a “Terminal” window by pressing the key combination Ctrl+ Alt+T .
Step 2. Install the lshw program (if needed)
Many Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu and Mint, already integrate the lshw command within them . If in doubt, use one of the commands listed below to install the program, as a notification message will simply be displayed if it is already present on your computer.
- Debian – sudo apt-get install lshw;
- Red Hat/Fedora – sudo yum install lshw.
Step 3. Run the lshw command to display the technical information of the hardware present in the computer on the screen
This is a simple command that allows you to go back to the basic technical specifications of a Linux system which in most cases are what people commonly look for:
- sudo lshw -short.
Step 4. Find the information you are looking for.
Look at the “Class” column of the appeared table to find the element of your interest. Information about the processor, RAM memory, graphics card and volumes on hard disks is listed.
Step 5. Create a text file containing the hardware specifications of your interest
This step can be very useful if you need to contact an experienced person or a professional technician to solve a specific problem or simply to be able to create a well-detailed advertisement if you want to sell the computer.
Type the command sudo lshw -short > specifiche.txtin the “Terminal” window. You can rename the file as you like, it will be saved in the “/ home” folder.
Alternatively, you can use the command sudo lshw -html > specifiche.html. In this case an HTML document will be created which may be easier to read using a normal internet browser.
Step 6. Install the GUI “Graphical User Interface”
In this way you can use a convenient graphical interface to view the list of the technical specifications of your Linux computer. This is a step that will make users accustomed to Windows or Mac systems feel much more comfortable.
Type the command sudo apt-get install lshw-gtk(on Debian) or sudo yum install lshw-gui(on Red Hat / Fedora).
Run the command sudo lshw -Xto start the graphical interface of the “lshw” program. This GUI is based on the “3-frame” graphic layout. When you expand one of the categories shown in the left pane all the items contained will be listed in the right pane. Go through the various items to find the specs you are looking for.
Method 4 of 4: Android
Step 1. Download and install a “Terminal” window emulator
While it is possible to use the Android Settings app to trace the basic technical specifications of the device, this way you will not be able to view detailed information regarding the processor or memory. Using an emulator of the “Terminal” window you will be able to execute the commands of the Linux operating system.
If you have access to the “Developer Options” menu of the Settings app on your device, you will be able to open a “Terminal” window directly from here. If not, you can download one of the many apps that emulate the Linux “Terminal” window. The most widespread and used free application is “Terminal Emulator for Android”. You can download it directly from the Play Store. This is an app that can be installed without the need for “root” user access rights.
Step 2. Start the emulator of the “Terminal” window
The classic Linux command prompt will appear.
Step 3. Type the command “cat /proc/cpuinfo” and press the “Enter” key
The technical specifications regarding the processor of the Android device will be displayed on the screen.
Step 4. Enter the command “cat /proc/meminfo” and press the “Enter” key
In this case, the technical specifications of the RAM memory of the device will be displayed, for example the total amount of RAM present in the device and the amount currently in use.