While you might know how to use a computer, you might be hard-pressed to explain how it works. Better understanding your computer allows you to troubleshoot issues that can arise with your current device, get the best use out of it, help you choose a new device that will best suit your needs, and generally understand how the specifications on the page are related to the experience you receive.

Computer specifications

Your computer specifications tell you what type of a device you’re working with. You’ll want to know your device’s specifications to make sure it’s compatible when pairing it with other devices such as a Bluetooth mouse or headset. The specifications that can have the most impact on your device, and the way it performs, are your processor, your RAM, and your storage. We’ll go over each in detail.

But first, let’s locate your device’s specifications. Type Settings into Windows Search, open it, then select System.

System settings

Scroll to the bottom of the menu that appears on the left and select About.

This is where you’ll locate your device’s specifications, including the device name, the processor, the installed RAM, the device ID, the product ID, the system type, and if your device supports it, Pen and Touch.

About

Let’s go through each of them:

Device name

The device name is an identification given to the physical hardware device assigned by the operating system. You can change this name to something you can easily remember like “Ariel’s laptop” by selecting Rename this PC.

Processor

Your processor (also known a central processing unit or CPU), has a huge effect on the overall performance of your computer. A faster processor can give you more speed when using different programs, browsing the web, playing games, or editing photos. In order to install and run Windows 10 on a PC, you will need 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or System on a Chip (SoC). If your device does not meet these requirements, you may not have as great an experience with Windows 10 and might want to consider purchasing a new PC.

Installed Random Access Memory (RAM)

RAM is found in PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other devices such as printers, and it indicates how fast or slow your device will be able to run a program. For example, if you’re running Adobe Photoshop, the time it takes to process a picture or even open the software may be dependent on the amount of RAM you have in your device. If you use your device for word processing, checking emails, browsing the web, and playing Solitaire, 4 GB of RAM should work fine. If you’re a gamer, however, you’ll need between 8 GB and 16 GB, which is also about what you’d want for professional use, especially if you’re a photo or video editor. And if you’re requiring your PC to run games while simultaneously streaming video to the internet you might even need 32 GB (check the game’s requirements).

Device ID

The device ID is a distinctive number associated with a device. This number is important for technicians and engineers when trying to find solutions to ongoing issues.

Product ID

The product ID is the number associated with your particular operating system.

Storage

Understanding how much storage, and what type of storage you have, can come in handy when backing up your computer, upgrading, and more. If you’re ever in contact with Microsoft Customer Service & Support, they might very well ask how much storage your device has. Knowing how to locate this information quickly will help a resolution to any issue you may be having move swiftly along. Storage can be a factor In how fast your device performs. If you are a photographer and store your high-quality pictures on your internal drive and your computer only has 50 gigabytes of storage, you might notice your device slowing down after a while. This is because your computer is working overtime trying to store your pictures and running software.

storage

The amount of storage that you need depends on how many documents, pictures, videos, and software you install on your device: you want to find a device that comes with enough integrated storage in your hard drive (HDD) or Solid-state drive (SSD) for the kind of work or play you use it for. But don’t despair if you find you no longer have enough storage: in most cases, your storage can be modified. For example, you can add more storage as needed by adding an SD card, a USB, or by saving your work onto an external hard drive or using storage in the cloud.

To know your computer’s specifications is to know yourself. Adjust or upgrade your computer’s specifications to suit your goals: you’ll find that your computer will run better, and the results will be greater productivity and less frustration for you.