Get a report of your computer’s components with Basic Hardware Inventory

Want to know more about your computer’s hardware? Basic Hardware Inventory is a freeware tool that you can use to generate a report of your computer’s components.

This is not a hardware monitoring program. If you’re looking for one, try Libre Hardware Monitor.

The program comes in a 48KB archive, and is portable. Extract it to a folder and you’ll see three files. Click on Hardware.HTA (HTA = HTML Application) to execute Basic Hardware Inventory. It uses WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) to obtain your system’s hardware information.

A pop-up window asks you if you want to run the program with elevated privileges. You may choose not to, but it may not be able to read some information unless you run it with administrator rights. It also warns you that you’re using the 32-bit MSHTA version, and points you how to run the 64-bit executable. This is important, I’ll explain about it later in the article.

There are 2 inventory (view) modes in the program: Basic and Full. Basic mode displays the model number, frequency (speed in MHz), socket type of the CPU. Total physical memory (RAM) along with the number of banks and modules. It lists the hard drives installed on the computer with their model number, storage capacity and interface type.

Basic Hardware Inventory - basic view

Basic Hardware Inventory shows a score for some components, this is based on the result of Windows Experience Index. During my tests, the scores were displayed as 0. I tried running an elevated command prompt window and used “winsat formal” to rerun the WEI test. I followed this up by entering “Get-CimInstance Win32_WinSat” in a Powershell window, and it showed the scores correctly. But Basic Hardware Inventory was still reporting the scores as zero.

Basic Hardware Inventory - recommended settings

The fix for this is simple, open a command window. Run the following command to make it use the 32-bit MSHTA executable instead of the 64-bit version as indicated by the program’s window.

“%windir%system32mshta.exe” “C:hardwinvHardware.hta”

Or you can do what I did, paste the above command in Notepad and save it as a .BAT file. Right-click on it and select run as administrator if you want to use it with elevated rights.

A pop-up window opens when you click on the details button towards the right of each item that’s listed. This window uses Internet Explorer, and contains more technical information about the selected component. You may change the default browser used to load the file from the program’s settings.

Basic Hardware Inventory’s Full mode includes the above (CPU, Memory, Hard disk) and more. The program will display the CDROM, Graphics Card (model number, Video memory, display resolution), Monitor (model, manufacturer, serial number), Sound Card, Network Adapters (model, MAC address, speed,), Motherboard (name, manufacturer, HID (Mouse and Keyboard), Ports (USB, PCI, PCI-E, Parallel, Serial), BIOS (Manufacturer, model, firmware version, firmware release date).

Check the Help section at the bottom for a list of command line switches supported by the program. Clicking the Copy button sends the generated report’s results to the Clipboard. The Save option creates a text document of the report using tab-delimited formatting.

Basic Hardware Inventory settings

Navigate to the Settings tab in Basic Hardware Inventory to set the window size, zoom level, toggle DxDiag (creates an XML), WinSAT scores, etc. You may customize the appearance of the program using the preset themes, or pick your own colors.

Note: You’ll need to scroll all the way to the end of the official page for the download link.

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