What's Going On Inside My PC?

Category: Reference

Do you know every component that's inside of your PC? Most people don’t, and most of the time they don’t need to know. But there are occasions when a detailed inventory of a PC’s components comes in handy. Read on to learn some surprising reasons why you should know what's under the hood of your computer, even if you're not a techie...

No Tools Required - Just Two Free Downloads

If you need to call tech support, you may be stuck when a rep asks for the make and model of your video card, or the type of RAM that’s installed on your PC. If you want to buy a memory upgrade, you’ll need to know what sort of RAM memory is already in your PC to get the compatible kind. If you ask for help with an unknown problem in any online forum, the first responses you get will probably be along the lines of, “What’s under your hood?” If you are selling or buying a used computer, it’s important to have a list of what’s inside of it.

Microsoft Windows includes a “System Information” utility that displays information about many devices and processes on a PC. But it’s limited; often, it won’t tell you what you need to know. Fortunately, there are more helpful system information utilities out there. Here are two examples that are free and powerful, yet easy on novices. And if you read this article to the end, I'm pretty sure you'll want to download and try at least one of them.
computer specs

Speccy from Pirisoft gives you detailed info on every piece of hardware in your PC, including but not limited to CPU, Motherboard, RAM, Graphics Cards, Hard Disks, Optical Drives, and Audio support. Speccy also reads temperature sensors built into motherboards and hard drives, giving you a means to check for overheating problems that may be damaging your components or limiting performance. Speccy can save and reload snapshots of your system info in XML, text, or INI files for printing and other uses.

Belarc Advisor does a lot more than just inventory hardware, although it does a fine of that. It also inventories all of the software on your PC, and can tell you if security patches are up to date. It even shows software license codes, which is handy if tech support asks for them. Here's another good reason to have those license codes handy... If you've bought a new computer (or you're recovering from a hard drive crash) you can easily re-install all the software you've purchased, without having to buy another copy, or beg the software vendor to send you the license info.

The Advisor displays the status of your network, including users and devices connected to it. If you've ever wondered if anyone is secretly tapping into your wifi, this will give you peace of mind (or cold chills). Belarc Advisor is very simple to use, and it does not transmit any info about your system over the Internet. Its report is a local HTML file displayed in your Web browser.

You may not need to know what’s going on inside of your PC very often. But when you do, it’s good to have one or both of these free system information utilities handy. I advise that you run both reports and then save them on a backup drive or email them to yourself for future handy reference. A printed copy might be a good idea too.

Do you know of other utility programs that help you discover what's going on under the hood of your computer? Post your comment or question below...

Ask Your Computer or Internet Question

  (Enter your question in the box above.)

It's Guaranteed to Make You Smarter...

AskBob Updates: Boost your Internet IQ & solve computer problems.
Get your FREE Subscription!


Check out other articles in this category:

Link to this article from your site or blog. Just copy and paste from this box:

This article was posted by on 19 Nov 2012

For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.

Prev Article:
The Five Most Common Internet Security Mistakes

The Top Twenty
Next Article:
Which AntiVirus Has the Best (and Worst) Protection?

Most recent comments on "What's Going On Inside My PC?"

Posted by:

19 Nov 2012

Speckie will tell you more about your computer than you probably care to know.

Posted by:

19 Nov 2012

ASTRA32 is a free program I have been using for over 5 years. It too seems to have all the necessary information about your PC.

Posted by:

Jim F
19 Nov 2012

Hi Bob,
Thanks for your great site. I have been a long time used of Belarc Advisor, however recently learned of "ADIA 32". It gives more information than any other service like it. It includes software and license numbers as well as virtually all system hardware info.

Worth a look see.


Jim F

Posted by:

19 Nov 2012

Hi, I just wanted to suggest SIW (System Information Wizard) as another tool that I've been using for years and have found very helpful....

Posted by:

19 Nov 2012

Belarc reports that one of those scam registry cleaning programs "PC cleaner Pro" is on my system and that its virus definition version is up to date. I cannot find it with Revo uninstaller nor in the control panel and I did a search for any files by that name on my whole computer. So there you have it, another reason to download Belarc and run it. To find stuff you did not know was there. Now, the trick is for me to find this thing.Any suggestions?

Posted by:

Barbara Robson
19 Nov 2012

Bob, we love you. My Seniors Computer Club in Coffs Harbour, Australia, was only just yesterday discussing how we could easily determine what operating systems each member's laptop has, and voila! You turn up with the article on Belarc Advisor!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Posted by:

19 Nov 2012

Great software!
SIW - System Information for Windows
"Everything you want to know about your computer"

Posted by:

19 Nov 2012

I downloaded and ran the Belarc Advisor and got extensive information about my computer.

There was not an obvious Print report so I tried Ctrl-P and it printed 8 pages of information as you would observe it on the computer screen

The security Benchmark score (1.25 out of 10) seemed low but when looking at this report it was overwhelming in size and most of it was beyond my ability to comprehend

I believe it is a great tool to know what is in your PC

Thank you for providing the link

Posted by:

Nan & Dennis
19 Nov 2012

Thanks for excellent program links. Belarc Advisor simplifies & solves the "Where's my license?" problem forever, along with a detailed list of my h/w and s/w. I do wish they had a less expensive paid version designed for small home users, but their free option is extremely helpful. Thanks, again, from:
Two Hip Old Fogeys

Posted by:

19 Nov 2012

SIW = System Info for Windows. http://www.gtopala.com/ Portable, no install needed.

PC Wizard = http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/pc-wizard.html from the good friends that brought you CPU-Z. Also, no install! - runs from a flash drive.

Posted by:

20 Nov 2012

I've been using PC Wizard (2012), but that Belarc Advisor sounds worth looking into! Thanks, once again, Bob for the 411.

Posted by:

20 Nov 2012

I only recently discovered your Newsletter. You do a great job of covering a lot of interesting PC material.

I have been using Belarc since it was small enough to fit two copies on one floppy disk. I discovered Speccy about two years ago. They are really great programs. Speccy is really useful if you want to upgrade memory and want to get new ram that has the same specs as the installed ram. Belarc is particularly useful in that it pulls out most of the license keys. Occasionally, it doesn't like Adobe Photoshop, but I can write that on the Belarc. I recommend to my students and club members to print out a Belarc for each computer.

If you have to rebuild a new hard drive there is a checklist of all the software and devices that need to reinstall.


Posted by:

20 Nov 2012

Wow Bob. What anamazing program (Belarc) Thank you sir!

Posted by:

rick harbour
20 Nov 2012

The Speccy detect`s the temperature of a motherboard, yet the Advisor doesn`t.At least it wasn`t mentioned. Also since i`m HTML which i`m sure of,i doubt i could download Speccy, and all go well.I have Glary Utilities. There`s area`s of it that tell`s system info. Also you can do a check disk without shutting down, then hitting F8 when ya turn back on. Lot`s of feature`s, including recovering file`s, etc. If i can use the Speccy, Email me directly, and let me know Bob. My system is the Dell Diminsion 3000 Got it in 05 Still doin` great

Posted by:

06 Feb 2013

Hi, I've been using PC Cleaner since 2012 but I need to enhanced my ideas on these software, then I found this wonderful and productive site which is the answer of my doubts. Sir Bob I would like to thank you for the meaningful thoughts that you shared.

Posted by:

25 Mar 2013

Do any of these programs have MAC versions?

Posted by:

20 Mar 2018

SIW and PC-Wizard, two of my favorites are no longer free. :-( The old, free versions of PC-Wizard won't even run on Windows 10.

Still free and continuously updated is CPU-Z by CPUID, limits itself to CPU, RAM and Graphics, but is fast and portable. It even includes a benchmark for OCD geeks of which I am one.

HWInfo is the big brother of CPUz, also free and portable, (single executable, runs off a flash drive) and comes in 32 and 64 bit versions. Includes hw and temperature sensors.

CPUz and HWInfo should be in every geek's toolkit.

Posted by:

22 Mar 2018

If you print out ALL of what speccy has to offer you will get a pile of paper more than 1/4" (that's when I shut off the printer...!) Much more stuff than ANYONE would want or use. Stick with Belarc, SIW, or Everest for 'what's under the hood'.

Look at a little program called 'speed fan' that allows you to monitor your drives and temperatures, and even lets you CHANGE fan speeds do drive diagnostics and much more. Did I mention that is free?
- L -

Posted by:

16 Apr 2018

I used Belarc for years. I loved it. But since I did upgrade from Win7 to Win 10; I am unhappy.
It insists I still have win7 installed.
I read this is an issue with Belarc.

Posted by:

13 Nov 2019

I had Belarc on my old XP computer that suddenly died on me (probably due to power supply failure) but never got around to putting it on my W7 computer. I did so right after reading this article. It has a wealth of information that I may need at some point. So I will print out the Belarc report first chance I get.

Thanks for the great service you provide to the non-professional computer users community.

Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions

*     *     (* = Required field)

    (Your email address will not be published)
(you may use HTML tags for style)

YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper use of UPPER/lower case are important! Comments of a political nature are discouraged. Please limit your remarks to 3-4 paragraphs. If you want to see your comment posted, pay attention to these items.

All comments are reviewed, and may be edited or removed at the discretion of the moderator.

NOTE: Please, post comments on this article ONLY.
If you want to ask a question click here.

Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter

Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy     RSS/XML

Article information: AskBobRankin -- What's Going On Inside My PC? (Posted: 19 Nov 2012)
Source: https://askbobrankin.com/whats_going_on_inside_my_pc.html
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved