Viewing computer configuration allows us to perform many tasks ranging from simply checking computer specs, fault finding,
or even pre checks to find out possible upgrade information such as RAM amount and types, processor types and socket or even which type of USB ports a computer has.
There are many different ways to view computer configuration and most of these are built into Windows itself, they can be slightly involved depending on the level of information needed, but if you have the time they can report on just about any part of your computer.
Below you will find detailed information on finding computer configuration
Common ways of how to see computer configuration
- My Computer Properties
- Device Manager
- Startup Items
Not all applications can be viewed from the standard Startup Groups, by going to the Start > Run menu type > msconfig > Startup Tab
You will now be able to see a list of all Startup Items, this can be a very useful way to see which applications startup with your computer.
Plus we also get the path where the application is loading from, making it easy to completely remove.
Right Click on My Computer > Select Properties > General Tab
This will give you very basic system information in terms of the computers name, its processor type and speed and the amount of RAM
For a more detailed view of the hardware installed in your computer, select the Hardware tab > Device Manager button
Viewing computer configuration
From here you can see base descriptions of all hardware resources running on your computer, select one of the crosses to the right of a hardware type and you will be given a drill down of specific hardware installed on your computer, if any components are not working properly this will be highlighted by a yellow exclamation mark, any disabled components will be highlighted with a red cross.
Initially the view gives us a breaks down of the most common system information such as
OS Name usually Windows XP, 7 or Vista
Version of the operating system
System Name or computer name
System Manufacturer the hardware manufacturer of your computer, this really reflects the name of the motherboard.
System Model model name of you computer
System Type processor type
Processor the speed and processor model, this will be repeated for processors with more than one processor or core.
BIOS Version/date gives the actual BIOS revision and its creation date
SMBIOS Version system management BIOS version information
Windows Directory this will be the default directory that your operating system has booted from
System Directory default location of the system32 directory.
Boot Service hard drive number and boot partition.
Locale your country/region that the computer is set for.
Hardware Abstraction Layer or HAL is the medium between hardware and software.
Username reports the current logged in user with local or domain information.
Time Zone reports your local time zone (needs to be accurate for services such as Windows update
Total Physical Memory gross total RAM in the computer
Available Physical Memory amount of RAM currently available
Total Virtual Memory total allocated virtual memory
Available Virtual Memory current amount of virtual memory unused
Page File Space total amount space available for the paging file
Page File location of the paging file
Other sub categories of the System Information interface include
Provides a break down of how to see computer configuration resources being used such as memory, interrupts, software ports. Very useful way to monitor and view conflicts
Provides in information on all hardware information resources initially the same as device manager but offering much more in depth information.
Give detailed information about system drivers, variables and even print jobs
Provides a quick view of all Internet Explorer settings
Information in regard to each Microsoft Office application in terms of addins, security, in depth settings.
All of the ways above as I am sure you will agree can give a wealth of information when viewing computer configuration , but unless you know what to look for and where it can be a time consuming process, but luckily there are some utilities around that can simplify the process further, if your looking for conflicts and port usage the Windows tools are generally considered best for viewing computer configuration of this type.
If on the other hand you would like a simplified view that will give you system information, installed updates, serial numbers, even which ports have do not have RAM in them (which is very useful for memory upgrades without having to take of the cover to ascertain the memory configuration) then there is a wonderful little application called Belarc Adviser.