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Best Free System Information Utility

In a Hurry?

  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 

Introduction

The freeware utility AIDA32 was for a long time the best system information / inventorying tool ever, regardless of price.  It documented just about every aspect of your hardware and software configuration as well as checking networks and providing memory benchmarks. However the developer announced in March 2004 that the free product had been frozen and development work shifted to another organization where AIDA32 was re-launched as a commercial product called Everest. Then in 2010 Everest was aquired by FinalWire who shut down Everest and released AIDA64.

 

Discussion

You can however still find the old AIDA32 and the non-discontinued free version of Everest called Everest Home. The old AIDA32 works better across networks while Everest Home covers more modern hardware than AIDA32.

If you only need to inventory a single PC then you should also check out Belarc Advisor. It's free for non commercial use and while not quite as thorough as AIDA32, it has the advantage of being actively developed.


HWiNFO is an excellent system profiler that provides in-depth hardware information for Windows and the new top pick in the category. The program is portable and frequently updated and can be used by beginners and power users alike. HWiNFO greets you with 2 windows on startup: A nifty System Summary window that immediately makes available the most important details regarding our system and a Detailed Information window for pretty much every single piece of hardware bundled in the system. All components are organized in a tree view that provides easy to read reports for every item. The interface is extremely customizable providing variety of options.

HWiNFO has real time system monitoring that allows you to see a live view of various system sensors and accurately monitors each system component for status and failure predictions as well as system logging facilities. The progam is always up-to date supporting various latest technologies and standards. The software can also be extended using various 3rd party add-on's like RainMeter plug-in, LCDHost plug-in etc. HWiNFO also provides benchmark tests in it's feature set.

The information retrieved is presented in a logical and easy to understand form, which can then be saved in multiple formats like Text, HTML, XML, MHTML etc. HWiNFO is also available as SDK suitable for furthur integration. The application analyzes your system and provide detailed information about every hardware installed and present on your PC.


SIW utility written by Gabriel Topala "displays detailed specs for motherboard, BIOS, CPU, devices, memory, video, disk drives, ports, printers, operating system, installed programs, processes, services, serial numbers (CD keys), users, open files, system uptime, network, network shares, as well as real-time monitors for CPU, memory, page file usage and network traffic. It also displays currently active network connections, passwords hidden behind asterisks, installed codecs, and more." That's impressive enough for a freebie but my favorite feature is SIW does not need installing; all you need to do is run the executable. This means one less installed program on your PC as well the fact that you can run the program directly from a USB flash drive.

Note: SIW has fallen out of favor because the free version is no longer updated, has to upgrade to Pro version to work on Win8 and above systems, the standard installer contains OpenCandy and the free version is no longer present on their homesite.


PC Wizard is a system information utility that is strong in workstation description and benchmarking. It's a well implemented program with a nice multi-panel display with different analysis functions easily selectable using sidebar buttons. Overall it provides a little less system information that SIW but the benchmarking feature makes up for it. Benchmarks can be run on individual parameters such as processor performance, memory and cache speed, video performance and hard drive speed or can be run be for all functions with the single press of a button. In the latter case an overall numeric system performance index is also calculated. Overall PC Wizard is an impressive system utility well suited to those who want to get a better understanding of their PC's configuration and performance. The fact that it is regularly updated adds further to its appeal.

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Quick Selection Guide

HWiNFO
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
In depth hardware information, real time system monitoring, can be extended using 3rd party add-on's, frequent updates.
Report generation produces blank details for items deselected.
http://www.hwinfo.com/
4.26
2.8 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
DOS, Win 95 - Win 8.1
SIW (System Information for Windows)
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
detailed results, portable
Does not support Windows 8 and above, free version no longer updated.
http://www.gtopala.com/
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Win 2000 - Win 7.
PC Wizard
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
strong in workstation description and benchmarking, regularly updated
The installer is bundled with the "Ask Toolbar". Installation of the toolbar is optional.
2010.1.961
5.0 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 95 and above.
Belarc Advisor
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
actively developed
not as powerful as AIDA32
http://www.belarc.com/
8.2F
2.8 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 7, 2008 R2, Vista, 2008, 2003, XP, 2000, NT 4, Me, 98 and 95.
Everest Home
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
powerful tool, covers more modern hardware than AIDA32
discontinued (2005)
2.20
4 MB
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000
AIDA32 - Personal System Information
2.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
powerful tool, works well across networks
discontinued (2004), does not cover modern hardware
3.93
2.9 MB
32 bit only
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, 2000

Tags

System software, system tools, utility software

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Comments

by alphaa10 on 2. April 2014 - 8:38  (115446)

WinAudit is amazing. In search of the serial number for my Asus graphics adapter, but without retrieving the card, itself, I was delighted to find WA provided the unparsed serial number. Since I already knew how many digits to expect, I removed the other characters, and was able to send my question to Asus tech support.

by GraveDigger on 27. November 2013 - 16:56  (112575)

Piriform's Speccy really should've been added to this article - it's free to use, actively developed and is a very good program to have on ANY PC. I keep a copy of it installed on a USB key to see the configuration information of other people's system (many times they don't know what's in their own boxes...) and like CCleaner, Defragger and Recuva it's a quality product.

Highly recommended.

by conceptualclarity on 29. October 2013 - 3:50  (111852)

The freeware version of SIW (System Information for Windows) is discontinued according to the website.

by TairikuOkami on 10. November 2013 - 9:48  (112143)

SIV is a great replacement for SIW, actually the only freeware I could find. :P

by MidnightCowboy on 29. October 2013 - 4:27  (111854)

The portable version is still available as freeware which is where our download link points to. MC - Site Manager.

by Bast on 4. November 2013 - 4:14  (111994)

Using the link takes me to:

SIW Technician's Version is a standalone utility that does not require installation (Portable).

When I click on that, I get the following: SIW Technician's Version - 1 Year Free Updates $19.95 Yearly. First Year $39.99.

Could you please direct me to the free version?

by mr6n8 on 4. November 2013 - 7:37  (112000)

You are clicking on the home page link, not the download link
http://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/System/System-Enhancement...

The download link is just below the home page link in the Quick Selection Guide on all products here ar Gizmo's Freeware.

Steve

by Bast on 5. November 2013 - 3:13  (112031)

Thank you for the link.

by AJNorth on 23. October 2013 - 17:58  (111706)

Another set of free powerful system information and diagnostic utilities that some may find useful comes from HWiNFO -- http://www.hwinfo.com/ . Both x86 and x64 systems are supported, each with installed and portable versions (there is also an application for DOS).

Reviews (and additional download links) may be found at Softpedia:

HWiNFO32: http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/HWiNFO.shtml .

HWiNFO32 Portable: http://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/System/System-Info/Portab... .

HWiNFO64: http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/HWiNFO64.shtml .

HWiNFO64 Portable: http://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/System/System-Info/Portab... .

by AJNorth on 23. October 2013 - 17:17  (111705)

PC Wizard has been updated to v2013.2.12 (2013.10.21).

A portable version is also available -- http://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/System/System-Enhancement... .

by RodneyDickson on 16. October 2013 - 22:40  (111527)

The recommendations in this article were excellent, however, I found myself wondering which software functioned best. It is for this reason that I have downloaded, installed and tested most (if not all) of the PC inventory auditing softwares mentioned on this page. For each of these softwares, I have recorded a first-impression review (an overview and tour based on the first 5 minutes of testing each application).

Hope this information helps:

First impression review (overview and tour) of the WinAudit Freeware Version 2.29 software
http://youtu.be/UAQRgyLvJCw

First impression review (overview and tour) of the Unknown Device Identifier Version 8.01 software
http://youtu.be/bCRxnOwwEIY

First impression review (overview and tour) of the System Information Viewer Version 4.38 software
http://youtu.be/QjERnOX2g34

First impression review (overview and tour) of the System Info for Windows Portable software
http://youtu.be/xtMAx2genCQ

First impression review (overview and tour) of the SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2013.SP3a software
http://youtu.be/hHyd16rUDZM

First impression review (overview and tour) of the Piriform Speccy 122 system information software
http://youtu.be/vA1EpTKINWk

First impression review (overview and tour) of the PC Wizard Classic Edition 2012 software
http://youtu.be/sw68DxPOnDg

First impression review (overview and tour) of the LookInMyPC system information software
http://youtu.be/UfrYBMILXMY

First impression review (overview and tour) of the FreshDiagnose system information software
http://youtu.be/dBIhsVmJjbo

First impression review (overview and tour) of the Free PC Audit system information software
http://youtu.be/bsJsW92Mdco

First impression review (overview and tour) of Lavalys Everest Home Edition version 2.20
http://youtu.be/EcQKOaGFuAM

First impression review (overview and tour) of CpuID's CPU-Z version 1.65.1.v32 information software
http://youtu.be/Tr35A5-eOIs

First impression review (overview and tour) of the Belarc Advisor system information software
http://youtu.be/HATgi2urvm0

First impression review (overview and tour) of the Aida32 PE 393 system information software
http://youtu.be/4tofMd3lIfc

The information that is shown about a video card graphics adapter through various auditing software
http://youtu.be/5OhcNZfQYCo

by MidnightCowboy on 16. October 2013 - 23:03  (111528)

Thank you. :) Maybe you would consider helping us out by joining our editing team? Please contact me if you are interested. MC - Site Manager.

by coover on 3. October 2013 - 16:24  (111207)

The free version of SIW not only has Open Candy, it has been disabled for Windows 8 machines. As much as I have liked SIW in the past, I can no longer recommend it.

by rfithen on 15. September 2013 - 19:39  (110732)

I really like "winaudit"
http://winaudit.zymichost.com/index.html

It is one of the few that can correctly detect my system serial number. (Besides me picking up my laptop, and looking underneath.) It can also be configured to audit networked computers.

I use to use SimpleSysInfo, but it would appear it is no longer developed.

by alexxx46 on 15. September 2013 - 20:34  (110734)

Looks safe (VT 0/39) and comprehensive, it's portable and small (1 mb), unicode supported. Thank you, Rfithen, good find for me.

by yocalif on 9. September 2013 - 6:26  (110609)

DO NOT INSTAL PC WIZARD, IT IS more than a tool bar it has CRAP WARE! You have been WARNED!

I am very careful about what free software I put on my PC, however I thought that with Gizmo/techsupportalerts, recommendation there was some kind of effort to preview and stay up to date with current versions of their recommendations. I am wrong!

The above says: "The installer is bundled with the "Ask Toolbar". Installation of the toolbar is optional."

1st that isn't the only thing it trys to in install, there is also something called PC Health, which there is NO OPTION to NOT ACCEPT. Next there is something called Severe Weather Alert. It trys to change your browser's home page, and who knows what else.

2nd in spite of click on not accepting the tool bar, not accepting home page change, and even clicked "decline" at last page of install process, which triggered the install to initiate. Immediately I get two trojan alerts
trojan.agent /en-BHO.Process C:\users\dad\appdata\local\..\ AIR924.3x3
trojan.agent /en-BHO.Process C:\users\dad\appdata\local\micr...\webplayers[1].exe
Next I get a avast web-gen virus alert, which went off the screen before I could jot it down.

I use Winpatrol which attempts to stop process & app attaching themselves to windows startup, it also detects/stops browser home page changes, which is now popping up every 5 minutes as this install keeps trying to change IE's home page.

Oh, there is no icon or program for PC Wizard either on the desktop or Windows Start or in Control Panel > Programs-uninstall. In other words I got all the crap and not the program because I clicked "decline".

Gizmo/techsupportalert should remove PC Wizard immediately from their recommended list. I have install at least two dozen utility type apps recommended here at Gizmo without this kind of problem or headache.

by MidnightCowboy on 9. September 2013 - 6:43  (110610)

Bundled software and wrapped installers are an increasing problem. The nature of the bundled components can also change frequently. These things are avoidable however during the install process.

There are resources available to assist in addition to the notes we add to our product selection guides.

http://www.freeware-guide.com/html/adwarelist.html

We also publish our own guides.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/what-else-have-you-just-download...
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/controversial-advertising-progra...
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/cnet-downloadcom-wrapped-install...

MC - Site Manager.

by George.J on 29. October 2012 - 7:07  (101536)

Probably the most advanced system information viewer. Warning: For power users only.

System Information Viewer (SIV): http://rh-software.com/

by marinus (not verified) on 28. January 2012 - 18:58  (87949)

Maybe this is a new development but... SIW is not freeware. Click on download link and you're taken to a page of commercial products, only.

by wreckage on 12. December 2012 - 21:57  (103559)

Unfortunately, the SIW freeware version is no longer supported. Here is what is written on the vendor's web site:
"Note: SIW Home Edition is discontinued."
http://www.gtopala.com/siw/siw-diff-home.php

Regards,

by woj_zien on 28. October 2012 - 20:18  (101525)

in tab "download" primary you have payed versions, but below you will find "Download Old SIW 2011 (build 1029) - Home Edition", and a little bit lower: "Old SIW 2011 Home Edition (with OpenCandy) - Download"

Thank you. :) OpenCandy information page here:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/controversial-advertising-progra...
MC - Site Manager

by coover on 11. July 2012 - 19:07  (96052)

Beware SIW, the freeware version. There is no longer a freeware version available without OpenCandy. Additionally, there is no longer a "portable version".

OpenCandy is described in Wikipedia as "an advertising software module" here ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCandy

My security software, Microsoft Security Essentials, believes it to be malware of some sort and requests that I "remove" it. I have and am now looking for something to replace it.

I guess Gabriel Tapola decided that the money OpenCandy offered him to add it to his freeware version was ample enough for him to compromise his formerly fine software.

by mrinmoyjk on 26. May 2012 - 16:09  (94002)

The new download link is : http://www.gtopala.com/siw-download.php
and download the "Home Edition".

by MidnightCowboy on 26. May 2012 - 18:10  (94009)

Beware! The home edition is bundled with OpenCandy.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/controversial-advertising-progra...

by George.J on 29. October 2012 - 7:08  (101537)

Beware! Am a troll :)

by Concerned User on 11. January 2012 - 16:57  (87021)

The SIW Utility is good. Too bad that they've started bundling unwanted stuff:(. Just tried their portable app edition and it's fine.

Official link:

http://www.gtopala.com/other/index.php

Portable apps link:

http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/siw_portable

by George.J on 1. November 2011 - 3:13  (82506)

SIW now includes OpenCandy in it's installer. Go for the portable version available at their website

by sys-eng (not verified) on 28. October 2011 - 20:02  (82329)

My primary use of these inventory utilities is to collect software licenses in case I have to reinstall a program. Most users do not save their license keys and just lose the programs if their hard drive dies or their system burns, etc..

My experience with all of these products is they catch about half of the licenses at best. I just tried the SIW portable again today, and it missed significant programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements. If one of these programs did what they claim, I would pay $30 for it.

by jason on 28. October 2011 - 22:40  (82336)

(even though this article was aimed primarily at programs that obtain hardware specs - you raise a good point).

The problem lies not with the apps (like SIW or Belarc) but with the apps you are trying to capture the serial / keys for. There is no common location or method for apps to record and store their serials. In fact, many apps go out of their way to obfuscate the keys and serials to reduce the likelihood of piracy from users of the PC from being able to copy the keys and register the software on their own PCs.

Considering there is no common location, storage format, or standards for storing registration keys (many apps don't even store the original registration key, but some form of hash) - the task of developing an app to locate and decode the original installation keys for "major" programs starts to look not worth the effort when you consider the alternative.

The alternative? When purchasing new software and before installing the software - keep an updated software register. This can be as complex as a dedicated database application or something as simple as a spreadsheet or even a text file created in notepad, with the name of the application, the application website url and the install key information. You will usually get all this information emailed to you when you purchase software (online). Just put it all together in a single location / database / file.

When you have to rebuild or reinstall apps for whatever reason - a software register will make everything so much easier, and the best part is that your software register works with EVERY application and it is free (of course - just make sure you back it up).

by SoloTOandO on 21. October 2011 - 19:30  (81882)

I haven't had a chance to try SIW (which I will). It sounds as if it's portable. But also check out Speccy by Piriform (makers of CCleaner and Recova). I would like to see how it ranks with the already mentioned competition. See link for more information:

http://www.piriform.com/speccy