System Information - How to learn your PC's complete configuration

Windows has always been able to tell you nearly everything you want to know about your computer - hardware, software, drivers, you name it. OK, it won't tell you what your brother did to mess everything up last week, but that's a different situation. System Information puts the information neatly at your fingertips. Let's take a look at this useful Windows utility and what it can show about your computer in all modern versions of Windows:

NOTE: This guide applies to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

How to start System Information in Windows 7

To open System Information from the Start Menu, click on All Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then System Information.

Or you can use one of Windows 7's most useful features and just type "system information" into the search box and click on System Information in the list of results (you'll see other system related tools there as well). Be sure you choose System Information and not the Control Panel's System shortcut.

Keep in mind that System Information is a viewer; it's not for changing anything, just for details of what you've got and where.

How to start System Information in Windows 8.1

Unfortunately, in Windows 8.1, this tool has been hidden from users. It doesn't have a shortcut in the Apps list and, if you search for "system information" on the Start screen, its shortcut won't be returned as a search result.

However, you can still find this tool in the Control Panel. There, go to System and Security and then to Administrative Tools.

At the bottom of the list with administrative tools, you will find the System Information.

How to start System Information in Windows 10

In Windows 10, type in Cortana's search box, on the taskbar, the words "system information" and then click or tap the System Information search result.

Alternatively, you can open the Control Panel. Then go to System and Security and then to Administrative Tools. There you will find the System Information shortcut.

An overview of System Information

This is what you'll see when System Information opens (the picture is what's on my computer; yours will display different information according to what you have installed but the general layout will be the same). Each category in the left pane has expanded details on the right. At the bottom is a Find what box, where you can search for specific information.

For example, if you wanted to find your computer's IP (internet protocol) address, you'd type IP Address into the box and click/tap Find. Then, wait for a couple of seconds for the results to be shown.

The System Summary is an overview of your computer and its operating system. You'll find the computer's name (the one you gave it when you set it up) and its manufacturer, as well as its BIOS version and date, and how much memory you've got installed.