Finding system information

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It is very important to know your computer's system information. When you buy a hardware or a software, it is important to first check whether that hardware or software will work with your system. Hardware or software will not work properly unless your computer meets the minimum system requirements specified by the manufacturers of the hardware or software.

Similarly, if you are ever in a sticky situation and seek outside help, the help giver will first want to know certain things about your system. Many people have no idea of things like what kind of processor their computer has, what is the computer's RAM (Random Access Memory), or hard drive capacity, or modem speed, or version of the software they are using, and so forth. Most of these informations are available from the item's purchase receipt. But if you do not have the receipt anymore, how do you look it up?

Many of the hardware like the computer itself, the monitor, the printer, the scanner etc. have the make and model written right on the body, usually in the front. But sometimes the info is hidden from open view, like my IBM Aptiva computer's model number can be seen only when you open a door in the front of the tower!

A lot of information about your computer can be seen by right-clicking My Computer on the desktop and then clicking on Properties on the resulting menu. System Properties dialog box will open up as shown below.

System Properties dialog box. Info under General tab.
System Properties Dialog Box.
Info under General tab.

The above info is about my computer. As you can see, under the General tab, it tells you what version of Windows is installed in my computer and also the name of my computer and its manufacturer, the name of the processor, and RAM size. Now click on the Device Manager tab.

System Properties dialog box. Info under Device Manager tab.
System Properties Dialog Box.
Info under Device Manager tab.

Under Device Manager tab, you can find lots of info about the various devices that have been installed in your computer. Click on the plus sign (+) before the name of each device to see details about each device. In the above illustration, clicking on the plus sign (+) before Monitors revealed that my monitor model is 570V TFT. To hide details, you can click on the minus (-) sign now. To know more details about 570V TFT, highlight 570V TFT by clicking on it once, and then click on Properties. Similarly you can remove a device by highlighting its name and then clicking on Remove. Best of all, you can have a report printed out for your reference by highlighting the device's name and then clicking on Print. If you highlight Computer and then hit Print, you will have the option of having a printout of either a "System summary" or "All devices and system summary". It is a good idea to keep a printout of "All devices and system summary" in a safe place. But remember to have a new and updated printout if you change anything in your computer. Lastly, under Hardware Profiles and Performance tabs you will find many other important information about your computer.

How do you know quickly what is your hard drive's capacity, how much is used up, and how much is free? Double-click on My Computer on your desktop, and the click once on your hard drive icon (usually C or D). A pie-chart will appear on the left of the window showing the hard drive's total capacity, how much is used up, and how much is free. On the bottom of the screen it will show free space and capacity of your hard drive. If for any reason you do not see the pie-chart, right-click on the hard drive icon (C or D) and then click on Properties on the resulting menu. A new window will open up where you will see that pie-chart.

Window showing general properties of the hard drive.
Pie-chart showing how much of the hard drive space
is used up and how much is free. This window also
tells you what is the total capacity of the hard drive.

How would you know which exact version of a particular software you are using? Open the software and then click on Help on the menubar. On the drop-down menu, click on About ... (such as About America Online or About Microsoft Word). A window will open up giving you the exact version of that software.

When clicked on About America Online this window opens up showing the exact version of AOL running in the computer.
When I clicked on About America Online this window opened up
showing America Online 7.0 is running in my computer.

If you need help using the Internet, check out the companion site:
Internet Basics For Seniors
If you need help with Windows XP, check out the companion site:
Help with Windows XP (New)
If you are an absolute beginner in computing, check out:

ABC's of Computing

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