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How to describe your system

The most relevant information about your computer includes a description of
  • The operating system (what kind of Unix, Linux, MacOS or Windows).
  • The hardware you use (computer type, amount of memory and processors).

Obtaining this information actually depends on the platform you work with:

Windows

You can press on your keyboard the "Windows key" + Pause simultaneously.

The same information should be accessible in the following ways:
  • Right-clicking on My ComputerProperties.
  • StartMy Computer, and then View system information in the the System Tasks.
  • Go to StartSettingsControl PanelSystem.
Mind that all these menus are named differently in other languages!

This will open the System Properties dialog. On the General tab you should find the most relevant descriptors.

MacOS X

On the Apple menu on the top-left you can find About This Mac. Click then in More information and copy both the Hardware and Software overviews.
Mind that these menus are named differently in other languages!!!

Alternatively you can type the following command on a terminal:
system_profiler

That returns a lot of information, the most important of which can be retrieved just with:
system_profiler SPHardwareDataType SPSoftwareDataType

Another source of a lot of information is:
sysctl -a

Information about the processor and its 64 bit capabilities can be retrieved with:
sysctl hw


Linux

In a terminal (shell), type the following commands and gather their outputs:
free
cat /proc/cpuinfo
cat /proc/version


You can dump the output of every command to a text file by adding, at the end of each line, a redirector like >> data.txt, as in the following examples:
free >> data.txt
cat /proc/cpuinfo >> data.txt
cat /proc/version >> data.txt


The top command reports some relevant system information in the first few lines of the screen.

The command lspci also reports some useful hardware information, even more detailed if used with the -v option. See man lspci. More instructions on getting even more information here.

Unix

The following command returns the Unix version and some system details:
uname -a


On SGI Irix, the command hinv provides much additional information.

Use also the top command, that reports some relevant system information in the first few lines of the screen...