When your Linux computer starts having issues and you need to troubleshoot it, the first thing you need to do is to find out the hardware information of your computer. Instead of having to disassemble it to look at each part individually, you can make use of HardInfo, a small and easy-to-use application, to display information about every hardware aspect of your computer.
You can find HardInfo in your distribution’s Software Center or Package Manager. On Ubuntu Software Center, its alternate name is “System Profiler and Benchmark.” Install it as usual by clicking on it and then on the “Install” button.
Alternatively, you can install it from the terminal:
Summary and Operating System Details
When you run it for the first time, HardInfo will show up with its “Computer -> Summary” information page preselected. Here you can see the most important information about your PC.
Under “Operating System” you can see the Linux distribution you are using and its version.
“CPU” will tell you the exact model of your processor, its speed (in GHz), number of cores, and the number of threads for each core (if your CPU supports multithreading).
“RAM” will present you with your amount of available memory (in KB).
“Motherboard” shows you the model and chipset of the motherboard in your computer.
Under “Graphics,” you can see the active resolution, make, and model of your GPU.
“Storage” will list all your installed storage devices where your operating system and other files reside.
Finally, under “Printers” and “Audio,” you will find any printers connected to your PC (if available) as well as its audio subsystem.
Going down the options on the left pane, by selecting “Operating System,” you can see more details about your installed OS.
From everything listed, two of the most important parts to note are:
- “Kernel” tells you the name and version of the current kernel running on your system.
- “Computer Name” shows you the “hostname” other PCs will recognize as your computer in a local network.
CPU and Memory Details
To get more information about your CPU, choose “Devices -> Processor.”
Here you will be able to see not only the overall speed of your CPU but also of each core in it as well as the amount of available cache.
By selecting “Memory” right underneath, you can see the total amount of memory installed in your computer (as in the “Summary” page), as well as how much of it is free (MemFree) and the amount available for your applications (MemAvailable).
If available, since it depends on your operating system’s settings, you can also see the amount of Virtual Memory available to the system next to the “SwapTotal” field. This refers to a chunk of your storage devices that your operating system uses as a slower extension to your actual RAM.
GPU, Storage, and Network Details
To find out more about your graphics card (GPU) and any other similar “expansion card” connected to your motherboard, pay a visit to “PCI Devices.”
You’ll see graphics cards listed as “VGA compatible controller.” Click on the entry, and you will see more information about it on the bottom half of the window, such as the exact model, the amount of onboard memory, and so on.
To get more information about all your storage devices and the controllers they are connected to, select “Storage.” Although in our screenshot you can see only one hard disk drive, you might have more in your PC or other types of storage devices. Click on each one of them, and the bottom half of the window will update with more information about them.
To learn more about your Network/Internet connection, choose “Network.” You will see a list of all network interfaces available on your computer as well as the amount of data sent, received, and each one’s IP address.
As before, by clicking on each one of them, you can get more information, like the type of interface and the Internet Protocol used.
HardInfo also comes with a collection of benchmarks that allow you to check your PC’s performance. You can find them grouped under “Benchmarks.”
Most of them test your CPU’s speed in different tasks, but there is also an elementary GPU test (“GPU Drawing”) that can give you a very rough idea about its speed.
Since it’s not easy remembering everything, HardInfo allows you to generate a report about your hardware. Click on the “Generate Report” button on its main toolbar.
We suggest you select it, keep all options enabled, generate a report, and save it somewhere safe – like a USB flash drive – for when you need it in the future.
If the reason you want to check your hardware is because you’re already facing a problem, like your display getting corrupted and garbled after a while, you may want to stress-test your GPU to check if it’s to blame. If your computer’s generally “feeling slow,” you may want to benchmark your storage devices to make sure they are performing as they should.
Are you using another approach to check out hardware configurations? Do you prefer a different utility that you consider better? Tell us why in the comments section below.