Apps Hardware Software Windows

How do I check the specs of my PC?

green and black circuit board
What's in your PC? Photo by Jeremy Waterhouse on Pexels.com

From time to time, we all need to check the specs of our PCs. If you’re wondering why your games are slow, confused why Windows 11 fails or just investigating opportunities to upgrade your machine, we’ll show you a few ways on how to check your specification.

Checking specifications via Windows

Windows has a few different ways of revealing what’s beneath the covers. System can be found in the Control Panel but opening the Start Menu and typing “sys” will also do the trick.

Screenshot of Windows System information.
Windows’ System

In many instances, this snapshot will suffice to check your PC specs. It’s a quick rundown of some of the basics, RAM, CPU and Windows version. If you want information about how much data is on your drives, then click Storage on the left.

System Information adds more detail. This can also be found by searching the Start menu or by looking in the Windows Administrative Tools folder.

Screenshot of System Information
System Information

The menu system on this app gives access to specific components. Driver locations, version numbers and system drivers are discoverable and searchable. There’s also a handy option to print a report or export it (as a .txt file).

Using other software to check the specs of a PC

If the Windows tools are not giving you enough information, then here are couple of free tools to try. Speccy is made by Piriform who also make CCleaner. There is a paid version with enhanced features, but the free one gives a remarkable overview of your PC.

Screenshot of Speccy by Piriform.
Speccy by Piriform

In addition to the hardware inside your machine, Speccy will also show the temperatures of certain components, network transmission speeds alongside details about the BIOS. Speccy will export reports as .txt or .xml and is also fully searchable.

If your thirst for information remains unquenched, then Belarc Advisor is about as good as it gets for free (for personal use). In exchange for an email address to download the app, install it then allow it update (to check security updates) and it’ll run a thorough scan of your PC.

Screenshot of Belarc Advisor.
Belarc Advisor

It’s all here. Hardware information, software license details, lists of virtual machines, USB connected devices, network maps and security hotfixes. Belarc generates a breathtaking amount of data about your PC and because it’s runs from a browser, it can be saved and shared.

What software doesn’t tell you about your PC

If you’re upgrading a desktop (for example, picking a new SSD), the thing software cannot tell help with is details about physical space and expansion capacity. The apps we’ve discussed reveal what’s inside the box, but that still doesn’t guarantee that your shiny new graphics card will fit inside. In these instances, it’s time to get the screwdrivers out, but it’s better that than buying a new PSU which is the wrong shape.

About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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