Belarc Advisor is one of my favorite free system information tools. It's fast, easy to use, and gives you a surprisingly digestible report of what makes up your computer system.
One popular category that Belarc Advisor excels at is providing software license information. In fact, it's so good at finding the correct product key or serial number for your installed programs that the program also tops my list of free product key finders!
Note: This review is of Belarc Advisor v8.4. Please let me know if Belarc, Inc. has released a newer version and I haven't yet reviewed the update.
Belarc Advisor Basics
Similar to other system information programs, Belarc Advisor gathers information regarding things like any software installation, video card, CPU, RAM, software update, as well as motherboard and network information.
Current server and older consumer Windows operating systems are supported as well including Windows Server 2012, 2008 R2, 2008, and 2003, plus Windows NT, Me, 98, and 95.
Note: See the What Belarc Advisor Identifies section at the bottom of this review for all the details on the hardware and operating system information you can expect to learn about your computer using Belarc Advisor.
Belarc Advisor Pros & Cons
There's little not to like about Belarc Advisor:
- Small <4 MB download size and installation footprint
- Completely free
- Computer analysis is very fast considering the data being gathered
- No toolbars, adware, or spyware included during installation
- Results display in your default browser
- Can copy data out of the results page with ease
- Computer profile is not stored online, only locally (good if you're concerned about privacy)
- No summary page
- No portable version (i.e. must be installed to use)
- Computer profile is not stored online, only locally (bad if you want to easily share your data or want it stored in the cloud)
My Thoughts on Belarc Advisor
I really like Belarc Advisor and I've been using it for a long time. I'd consider it the "original" system information program. I'm not aware of any similar program that's been available, and continuously improved upon, for anywhere near the length of time that Belarc Advisor has been. I used it way back in the Windows 95 days!
Obviously it's great that it's a completely free program but that's not at all why I love it so much. Belarc Advisor is quick, accurate, and produces more detailed information that many similar programs, some of which dare to charge for a similar feature set.
If you're in need of a program that can quickly and accurately produce detailed information about your computer, Belarc Advisor is an excellent choice. I'd also recommend that you use Belarc Advisor for any product key finding needs you might have, especially for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office licenses.
Important: There are a few user reviews of Belarc Advisor below that suggest that the program doesn't find the proper Windows product key but please know that these aren't real issues with this tool but are instead unfortunate results of specific Windows setups. See my Key Finder Programs FAQ for more on why a key finder might show B's for a product key or why you might find the same key on two or more different computers.
What Belarc Advisor Identifies
- Basic details like the name, language, and installation date of Windows, as well as the computer make and model, if available
- CPU(s) installed on your motherboard
- Motherboard make, model, and serial number, plus BIOS data
- Hard drive and optical drive data, including total capacity and free space, as well as volume details like the drive letter and file system
- Total amount of RAM, plus number of modules installed
- Mapped network drives
- Local user and system accounts, last logon time stamps, and locked/disabled status
- Installed printers and which port each is using
- Storage controllers
- Video card and monitor make, model, and serial number data
- USB, eSATA, and similar controller data
- Sound card or other audio hardware
- Anti-malware program installed, program and definition version data, last scan time stamp, and current status
- Group policy data
- Networking, Bluetooth, and other communication hardware and protocol data
- List of other hardware devices
- Device name, serial number, and last used time stamp for USB storage used in the past 30 days
- Virtual machine data including time stamp
- Local IP addresses, device type, device details, and device roles for currently connected network devices
- List of updates from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, and other vendors that have not been installed
- List of product keys and serial numbers used to install the programs and operating system
- List of installed programs including version numbers and general time frame of last use
- List of previously installed updates from Windows Update