How to Get Information about System Resources on a Windows PC

Understanding your system resources is a necessary part of troubleshooting. Resources include memory, mass storage, network access, processor power, and so on. When your program needs a hardware resource, it makes a request to the operating system. Windows then tries to fulfill the request and provide the software that the resources requested. If it doesn’t, you’ll find using your computer difficult to operate.

Every time the PC starts, it takes inventory of its hardware. The operating system knows this information — not only when the computer starts but also as you add or remove components. You can see that information for yourself by using the System Information tool.

To start the System Information tool, from the Start menu choose All Programs→Accessories→System Tools→System Information. The System Information window opens. You see a quick summary of nerdy details about your computer, such as the type of processor installed, total memory, Windows version, and other technical tidbits.

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To see specific information, choose a category from the left side of the window. The information is detailed and, by itself, useless. But when you need that specific information, you know where to find it.

The information shown by the System Information tool is static — it’s just a report. For more dynamic information, you use one of the Windows resource monitors.

  • The final entry in the System Information window, beneath the heading Software Environment, is Windows Error Reporting. It’s a quick way to review recent mishaps in your computer.

  • You can also type a command at the command prompt to get system information. The command is systeminfo, though if you want to use it, follow systeminfo with the pipe (|) character and then the word more, like this:

    systeminfo | more

    This command provides a page of information to your screen at a time instead of just scrolling it endlessly.

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