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How To Determine Your Computer Specifications

Do you know how to determine the RPM of the hard drive that is installed in their notebook or what video card is installed? And did you know, in order for someone to help you diagnose your problem, they are going to need as much information about your computer as you can provide?

Here are some of the questions that you might be asked:

  1. The first thing that a Dell Customer Service Representative will ask is , "What is your Service Tag?" If you bought the computer used, you may not know this. Other items they may ask are, How much memory do you have? What hard drive do you have? How big is the hard drive? What video card do you have? What sound card do you have?
  2. What operating system are you using?
  3. Describe the problem exactly. When did it start?
  4. Did you add any new hardware to the system? If so, what?
  5. Did you install any software? If so, what?
  6. What error messages are showing on the screen? Try to be as exact as you can be.
  7. What programs do you have running? What programs and/or services start up automatically?
  8. Are the lights flashing and if so, what is the sequence?

This article will not deal with the procedure on how to troubleshoot your computer, it will instruct you on how to determine what your Dell computer specifications are. Although this article is written specifically for Dell products, it can for the most part be used on any computer.

There are are number of Diagnostic Programs out there, and I'll discuss five of easiest and most useful ones.

  • Dell's System Profiler
  • Windows System Information Utility
  • AIDA32
  • Fresh Diagnose
  • SiSoft Sandra 2004


    Dell's System Profiler

    You can go to Dell's Premier Site and set up an account. Once you have your account set up, you can use Dell's System Profiler to scan your notebook to see what is installed. This will give you the part number of the hard drive. Then use Google to search out the hard drive specifications.

    The cost: FREE.

    Dell System Profiler

    Dell's System Profiler is able to give you quite a few specifics about your system. Shown is the view of the Hardware components. This is the actual view of my computer. As you can see, my disk drive is an HTS726060M9AT00. A quick Google Search quickly tells me that it is an IBM (Hitachi 7K60).

    General Information displays the following information: Service Tag, Express Service Code, Computer Model, BIOS Vendor, BIOS Version, BIOS Date, Windows Version.

    Processor displays the following information: Manufacturer, Clock Speed, L2 Cache Size.

    Memory displays the following information: Memory Slot 1 Descriptions, Available Memory, Page File Size, Available Page File, Virtual Memory, Available Virtual Memory

    The Network Card is obvious what it displays. The Storage section shows the different partitions that are on the hard drive. The Hardware section is shown above. And the Software section shows some of the installed software.

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    Windows System Information Utility

    The advantage with this utility is that there is nothing to download or install, it is already on your computer.

    The System Information Utility is provided in all versions of Windows, and is located at START > PROGRAMS > ACCESSORIES > SYSTEM TOOLS.

    The cost: FREE.

    Microsoft's System Information Utility

    Simply navigate through the different folders to determine the information you need, such as your graphic card type or sound card. Here it shows the model number of my hard disk drive. A Google search quickly shows that it is an IBM (Hitachi) 7K60.

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    AIDA32 is a system information, diagnostics and benchmarking program running on Win32 platforms. It extracts details of all components of the PC. It is available in three different versions: Personal Edition, Network Edition and the Enterprise Edition. I suggest to go ahead and download the Enterprise version. This way, you will have all of the potential capabilities.It also performs memory testing and even provides popup links to hardware manufacturers when you are in the summary windows.

    NOTE: This program is no longer supported.

    The cost: FREE.


    As you can see by this screen shot, the amount of information available is tremendous. Here you can see that the hard drive is an Hitachi 7K60 and the RPM is 7200. This is great for those that are skeptical of what they got in their notebook.

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    Fresh Diagnose

    Fresh Diagnose is an utility designed to analyze and benchmark your computer system. It can analyze and benchmark many kinds of hardware, such as CPU performance, hard disk performance, video system information, motherboard information, and more.

    You will need to provide a user name and a valid email address to be able to use it. They will send you via email, the serial number to activate it.

    The Cost: FREE


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    SiSoft Sandra 2004

    SiSoftware Sandra (the System Analyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software.

    It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what's really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, ODBC Connections, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc. This is THE benchmarking package used in most hardware reviews.

    The Cost: FREE for the Standard version free for personal/educational use.

    SiSoft Sandra

    Here is a screen shot of the System Summary Page. It clearly identifies the hard drive make and size. A Google search quickly shows that it is an IBM (Hitachi) 7K60.

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