One of the things that I always do when I'm buying a new PC is to verify that the built-in hardware is identical to the one advertised by the company.
I would not say that companies replace hardware with weaker components on purposes, but it can happen and actually happened once to a friend of mine who found out that the processor of the PC he bought was an older model than advertised.
There are other reasons why you may want to identify devices. This can be useful if the operating system does not detect a device properly for example, or if you want to display a list of all devices to share it with other users or tech support.
Hardware Identify is a free program for the Windows operating system that scans all connected devices and parts of the PC. It displays every device in a list afterwards that highlights its name, manufacturer and error code.
You can sort the listing with a click on a table header, and use the menu at the bottom to filter the hardware in the following ways:
You can right-click here to get copy options for various information, and to run a search on Google for drivers.
A double-click on a device opens the device lookup window.
Listed here are all hardware IDs and possible matches below that. These possible matches are only relevant if the device has not been detected correctly, or if you need to find drivers for it.
You can click on the search Google for drivers button to search for device drivers using hardware IDs displayed on the screen.
Another option that you have is to right-click which displays a context menu with options to search on Google by name, to copy all information or only select information, or to remove a selected suggested device from the list.
The driver search by manufacturer ID worked extremely well during tests while the name based search resulted in many unrelated results.
Note that this works best for unique devices such as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 and not so well for standard PC components such as the Standard PCI to USB Host Controller or one of the ATA channels.
Hardware Identify detected devices on two PCs that I ran the software on correctly. It is powered by a device database of more than 122,000 items.
The program did not update the database it ships with automatically on start. You need to click on the download button in the program interface to do so.
And if you want to help out, you can click on the improve database button to submit hardware that is not yet in the database.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.