How to Learn All About Basic Hardware on Your PC

Need to know some information about your CPU, motherboard, or memory? Try the nifty little utility CPU-Z. It's free and provides a host of properties and specifications in one simple package.  You have a choice of 32- or 64-bit versions. An example of the information displayed is shown below. In the figure, the CPU tab has been chosen but there are six other tabs that will provide a variety of additonal information.

CPU-Z utility

More information about the program and download links are at the developer's site as well as at this Softpedia site.  The utility comes in both an installable and a portable version. I only use the portable version, which is a 824 KB download. Next time you need details about your hardware, give this one a try.

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by George.J on 20. September 2012 - 16:37  (99512)

Great recommendation Vic. If you would like to take a look at a similar utility as good as CPU-Z or even better check out HWiNFO

by chesscanoe (not verified) on 18. September 2012 - 20:44  (99443)

I like the detail available in the free SIW Home edition.

by MidnightCowboy on 19. September 2012 - 4:10  (99453)

Be warned: The free installable version of SIW is bundled with OpenCandy.

Use the portable version to avoid this.

by chesscanoe (not verified) on 19. September 2012 - 13:23  (99463)

I use the free installer version of SIW Home and have no problem with OpenCandy. I chose my install options carefully, and perhaps incidentally, also use Microsoft Security Essentials on my Win7x64 Home laptop.

by chesscanoe (not verified) on 19. September 2012 - 13:25  (99464)

OpenCandy - SIW reference:

by v.laurie on 18. September 2012 - 23:04  (99448)

SIW is a different type of application. As you mention, it gives a lot of details. CPU-Z is a simple, quick utility for information about specific hardware. The two are not really comparable and have different purposes.

by AJNorth on 18. September 2012 - 19:07  (99440)

The portable version of CPU-Z remains at v1.61.3, while the installation executable has been updated to v1.61.5 (2012.09.18); it can also be downloaded from Softpedia at

Another useful free tool from CPUID, which I have now used for a decade, is their PC Wizard (last updated 2012.08.13); it also comes in both portable and installed versions. The former can be downloaded from Softpedia at and the latter at (note the installation admonition below the utility's description).

by George.J on 20. September 2012 - 16:38  (99513)

CPUID is great, but from personal experience, HwInfo and CPU-Z are better.

by AJNorth on 20. September 2012 - 18:20  (99517)

Yes, there are certainly other diagnostic utilities that provide even more information than PC Wizard; one of the most comprehensive is Gabriel Topala's System Information for Windows (SIW); the Home Edition is freeware (be advised, however, that it is bundled with Open Candy) --

Softpedia have two reviews of the freeware version at; they also have an older portable version (with no crapware) at In fact, I purchased a lifetime license for the Technician's Version (a portable app.) some years ago...

by JK on 18. September 2012 - 15:13  (99431)

When I try to run the 32-bit portable version, I get the following error message: "The error code 0x102(258) occured during parsing." What's the problem?

by v.laurie on 18. September 2012 - 16:11  (99434)

I've run CPU-Z on a number of systems over the years and not seen this problem. However, a Google search shows others having the problem. The FAQ at the developer's site says:

"CPU-Z causes a general protection fault, or freezes my system, or causes a blue screen.
edit cpuz.ini, and replace:



Then run cpu-z again. If it works, restore the "1" one by one, until the problem occurs again. Then send an email and mentioning which "1" is responsible."

I have never run into this problem and I apologize for the trouble you have experienced.

by JK on 18. September 2012 - 18:05  (99436)

Sorry, but this solution did not work for me.

by v.laurie on 18. September 2012 - 18:28  (99438)

I have sent an email to the developer asking about the problem.

by Olaf (not verified) on 18. September 2012 - 14:24  (99426)

It it better or different then Blackbox2 ?

by Big Bill (not verified) on 18. September 2012 - 11:37  (99420)

Sounds like a neat facility. BEWARE: the installation version has a couple of piggybacks - toolbar and some PC scanning facility, which of course are selected by default. It does give you the choice to not install them. So pay close attention to the install screen!

by MidnightCowboy on 18. September 2012 - 13:14  (99422)

Bundled software is only included with the installable version. Choose the portable version to get only the program you want. :)

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