10 Vital Features You Should Know About Your Windows PC
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Have you ever frozen up when someone asks you what version of Windows you’re running? Could you rattle off how much RAM you have installed if you had to call for tech support?

While they might not seem glamorous, details like these are important for any computer owner to know. Let’s review several key pieces of information you should know about your Windows PC that will come in handy for troubleshooting Windows Troubleshooting for Dummies Windows Troubleshooting for Dummies Windows takes a lot of crap for problems outside of its control. Learn about the biggest issues people incorrectly pin on Windows and how to actually troubleshoot them. Read More or just improving your knowledge.

1. The Windows Version

Longtime Windows users can easily tell which version of Windows someone is using just by looking at it. For instance, a round Start button signifies Windows 7, while a full-screen Start is a Windows 8 feature. But if you aren’t familiar with these visual cues, there’s an easy way to know exactly which version of Windows you’re using.

No matter which version of Windows you’re using, you can press Windows + R to open the Run dialog. Type the winver command, and you’ll open a simple window with information about Windows.

This includes the major version you’re using (Windows 7, Windows 10, etc.) as well as the exact version and build numbers. Microsoft regularly updates Windows 10 and adds new features, so knowing which build you’re on is useful.

windows system details - versions

On Windows 10, you can also visit Settings > System > About and scroll down to Windows specifications for similar information. Take a look at our guide to Windows 10 version support This Happens When Windows 10 Support Ends This Happens When Windows 10 Support Ends The original version of Windows 10 is not supported by Microsoft anymore. Here's everything you need to know about the Windows lifecycle, including how you can upgrade and stay secure. Read More for more.

2. Hard Drive Info

You should know how much free space your hard drive has, as well as whether you’re using a solid-state drive or a mechanical hard drive.

To review free space, open a File Explorer window and navigate to This PC. You’ll see a list of Devices and drives. Your internal hard drive likely has the C: label and the name Local Disk. If you’re running low on space, you could experience decreased performance. Check out our guide on freeing up space 6 Tips to Free Up Disk Space in Windows 10 6 Tips to Free Up Disk Space in Windows 10 Even a terabyte of storage space is quickly filled with media files. Here we'll show you how to easily free up gigabytes of disk space in Windows 10 by removing redundant system files. Read More .

You can use a built-in Windows utility to see if you have a solid-state drive. Type defrag into the Start Menu to open the Defragment and Optimize Drives tool. Find your C: drive, and you’ll see either Solid state drive or Hard disk drive next to it.

windows system details - hard drive information

If you have a solid-state drive, you’ll enjoy faster performance across your computer. Check out our guide to upgrading to an SSD How to Move Windows from HDD to SSD to Improve Performance How to Move Windows from HDD to SSD to Improve Performance A Solid State Drive upgrade really improves performance. But how can you squeeze a large Windows installation onto a tiny SSD? Windows users can comfortably migrate from HDD to SSD in very little time. Read More if you’re still using a slower mechanical drive.

3. Installed RAM

Knowing how much RAM you have installed How Much RAM Do You Really Need? How Much RAM Do You Really Need? RAM is like short term memory. The more you multitask, the more you need. Find out how much your computer has, how to get the most out of it, or how to get more. Read More lets you know how many programs you can run at once without experiencing slowdown. To easily check this, just press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager. If you only see a small list of programs, click More details and switch to the Performance tab.

windows system details - installed RAM

Here, you’ll see your installed RAM under the Memory tab. It also shows how much you’re using, giving you an idea if you might need more. Look in the bottom-right corner, and you’ll see Slots used. This tells you if you have free slots on your motherboard for adding more RAM.

4. Graphics Card

This one isn’t as important if you don’t play games on your PC. But if you do, knowing your installed graphics card (or integrated graphics How to Increase Dedicated Video RAM in Windows 10 How to Increase Dedicated Video RAM in Windows 10 How much video RAM do you need? What happens if you don't have enough VRAM? How can you increase VRAM on Windows? Let's answer these questions and more. Read More ) is vital for making sure you can run new games.

windows system details - graphics card

You’ll find this information in several places. Open the Task Manager again and click the GPU tab on the Performance tab, and you’ll see the name of your graphics card. You can also type Device Manager into the Start Menu to open that utility, then expand the Display adapters tab.

Make sure you’ve (safely) updated to the latest display drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? Here's what you need to know and how to go about it. Read More for your card to take advantage of the latest features.

5. Serial Number

The serial number of your computer uniquely identifies it, so it’s handy to keep written down. Many PC manufacturers like Dell and HP ask for your serial number on their website to check for driver updates and warranty status.

You’ll need to run a quick Command Prompt command to find this information. Press Windows + R to open the Run menu, then type cmd. At the Command Prompt, enter the following:

wmic bios get serialnumber

If you don’t see the number here, like in the screenshot below, either your PC manufacturer didn’t include it properly or you built the computer yourself. In that case, you may find the serial number on a sticker attached to your PC. If you built yours, you’ll find serial numbers for each component on its packaging.

windows system details - serial number

Speaking of which, you should also know how to recover serial numbers 3 Ways to Recover Serial Numbers in Windows 3 Ways to Recover Serial Numbers in Windows Looking for your Windows product key? Lost the serial number of a premium software? We show you how to recover your license keys with free tools. Read More for other software.

6. Number of Battery Cycles

You probably know that over time, any device’s battery stops working as well as it once did. Batteries don’t hold as long of a charge after you’ve drained and recharged them so many times. If you’re curious how healthy your PC’s battery is, you can check its battery cycles How to Check a Laptop Battery's Health by Viewing Battery Cycles How to Check a Laptop Battery's Health by Viewing Battery Cycles Your laptop battery runs through a certain number of cycles before it loses efficiency. If you're curious how many cycles you've used, here's how to check on Windows and macOS. Read More . Obviously, this doesn’t apply to desktops.

Open a Command Prompt again, then type this command:

powercfg /batteryreport

Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to head into the C:\Windows\System32 folder and look for battery-report.html. Double-click it to open in your browser and look for the Installed Batteries section.

Design Capacity is the original charge maximum, while Full Charge Capacity is the current maximum. Cycle Count is the number of cycles your battery has gone through. The lower this number, the healthier your battery.

7. Your IP Address

Your computer’s internal IP address identifies it on your home network. It’s important to know how to check this, particularly when you’re troubleshooting network issues 7 Simple Steps to Diagnose a Network Problem 7 Simple Steps to Diagnose a Network Problem Network issues are frustrating, especially when the problem lies with your ISP. Next time you can't get online, here's the process you should follow on your end to diagnose the network problem. Read More .

To check your IP address, head back to the Command Prompt and enter the ipconfig command. Under Ethernet adapter for wired connections or Wireless LAN adapter for wireless connections, you’ll see IPv4 address listed.

windows system details - IP address

8. Encryption Status

Encrypting your computer protects its data How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? How Does Encryption Work, and Is It Really Safe? Read More , which is especially important in this age of constant surveillance. It’s wise to confirm that you’ve indeed encrypted your hard drive if you wish to do so.

If you use Windows 10 Professional, you have access to BitLocker, which is Microsoft’s encryption tool. You can check if it’s enabled by searching for BitLocker in the Start Menu and opening the Manage BitLocker option. BitLocker off shows if you don’t have it enabled.

windows system details - encryption status

If you’re on Windows 10 Home, you don’t need to pay for a Pro license just for BitLocker. You have plenty of other encryption tools 4 Syskey Encryption Alternatives for Windows 10 4 Syskey Encryption Alternatives for Windows 10 Windows encryption tool Syskey will disappear with the upcoming Windows 10 update. Here are four alternative tools to secure your data. Read More to choose from. VeraCrypt is the best free option. Pop it open to check its status if you’ve previously encrypted with it before.

9. Screen Resolution

This one isn’t technically a part of Windows, but it’s still useful to know how sharp your display is. Right-click on your desktop and select Display Settings. On Windows 10, you’ll end up on the Display tab of the System category. Scroll down to Resolution and you’ll see your current display resolution.

windows system details - screen resolution

If you see Recommended next to the entry, then you’re using the correct resolution for your monitor/display. Generally, 1920×1080 (which is 1080p HD) is the standard. Lower resolutions, like 1366×768 which is common on budget laptops, aren’t as crisp and won’t fit as many elements on the screen.

You may want to think about a new monitor if yours is lacking. If you have a compatible graphics card, you can also fake a higher resolution How to Get a Screen Resolution of 4k and More for Free How to Get a Screen Resolution of 4k and More for Free Did you know that you can increase your native screen resolution without getting a new monitor? We show you how to enable super resolution with your AMD or NVIDIA graphics card in Windows. Read More .

10. The Windows Admin Password

This one sounds silly, especially if you’re the only admin user on your computer. But recovering your Windows admin password How to Reset Your Lost Windows 10 Password How to Reset Your Lost Windows 10 Password You forgot your Windows 10 login password? Don't despair! We'll show you how to reset your password and recover your account. Read More is a huge pain if you forget it. If you use a Microsoft account to sign in, it’s a lot easier to reset the password than if you use a local account. But it’s still best not to forget it at all.

Consider keeping your admin password in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or in your password manager 7 Clever Password Manager Superpowers You Have to Start Using 7 Clever Password Manager Superpowers You Have to Start Using Password managers carry a lot of great features, but did you know about these? Here are seven aspects of a password manager you should take advantage of. Read More . That way, if you ever forget it, you can easily retrieve it instead of jumping through a complicated process.

All of This Information Is Important!

Take time to know these ten details about your PC and you become a more educated user. You just need to know where to look so you don’t have to dig them up in a hurry later. It also will make you sound like an expert who knows his stuff.

You’re on your way to becoming a Windows expert. To learn more, read the truth behind longtime Windows mysteries 7 Windows Mysteries You Never Understood Resolved 7 Windows Mysteries You Never Understood Resolved Ever wonder what happens when you delete a file or what accounts run before you log in? We reveal the secrets behind these and other Windows mysteries. Read More .

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  1. Gazoo
    March 22, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    > become a more educated user

    At some point, Windows users need to demand the right to easily see what data is being collected, how long it's stored, with whom that data is shared and what these 3rd-parties can do with it.

    There is zero transparency and accountability here. Until such time, Windows users (all of them) remain ignorant of what *their* Operating System is doing (behind their backs).