The System Information tool provided by Microsoft is a fairly nice feature to use in Windows, in the event one needs to find out what is inside a computer in more refined detail. The guys at Piriform wish to up the ante with their third-party alternative to Microsoft's tool, which is supposed to give a much cleaner and easier to understand representation of the system hardware and software.
Just the specs
Speccy is their answer and, since it comes from the same guys who brought you CCleaner and Defraggler, you can expect a nice polished interface as well as plenty of pertinent information to view. As the Speccy website mentions, "Two or three years later, when it comes time to upgrade your computer, that tag or sticker may be long gone. Speccy was designed as a free electronic "what's inside" sticker for your PC."
The tool can be downloaded from Piriform and installed quickly, given its small size. After firing up the program, Speccy takes a few moments to completely analyze the computer from top to bottom. In addition to actually giving you information on names of components and the software that drives them, you also are able to view real-time stats on things such as CPU and GPU temperature and network performance. I was also able to gather specific information on the exact timings of my memory modules, view my processor ID and check S.M.A.R.T. disk statuses to verify the health of my hard drives.
Speccy can also save your scan results directly to a snapshot file (which can be viewed in Speccy at a later date), an XML or a text file to share with others. This feature comes in handy in the event that I need to perform remote troubleshooting for a client. If they are having issues and I need to have a better idea of what they are running under the hood, I ask them to install and run Speccy, then save the information out and email it back for further analysis. In another example, I can take a Speccy snapshot before I upgrade my PC hardware, then open it up after my upgrades are made so that I can make direct comparisons, just like a before and after situation.
With the easy to use graphical interface and clean layout of the different sections of PC information, Speccy does fulfill its objective of bringing a well-designed utility for system information scouting. In fact, it would really do nicely as an application installed to a thumb drive for quick and easy on the spot computer diagnostics. Speccy is freeware and supports Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8.
An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Customer Success Professional for Ultimate Software in Santa Ana, California.