dmidecode: get hardware information from the bios

May 3rd, 2009 edited by Vicho

Article submitted by Ryan Forsith. Guess what? We still need you to submit good articles about software you like!

dmidecode is a useful tool designed to extract system hardware information directly from the BIOS. This information typically includes system manufacturer, model name, serial number, BIOS version, asset tag as well as a lot of other details of varying level of interest and reliability depending on the manufacturer. The information provided could potentially help in problem solving, like in the case of the screenshot provided; there’s no documentation to be found in regards to the setting of the CPU toggles, but the dmidecode output displays exactly which sequence can be used for each clock speed.

dmidecode screenshot

This information can be invaluable to administrators looking for tweaks, especially in legacy hardware. DMI data may not always be reliable, as the software is intended to report only what the BIOS tells it to.

Three additional tools are packaged with dmidecode which further enhances it’s usefulness:

  • biosdecode prints all BIOS related information it can find.
  • ownership retrieves the “ownership tag” that can be set on Compaq computers.
  • vpddecode prints the “vital product data” information that can be found in almost all IBM computers.

biosdecode screenshot   vpddecode screenshot

dmidecode is available in Debian since Etch and in Ubuntu (universe) since Hardy.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

2 Responses

  1. Ben Hutchings Says:

    In lenny/sid you should also be able to read VPD from PCI devices using “lspci -v” as root, though not many devices have it. (I made this!)

  2. Nordic Says:

    In Lenny this program is already installed. I didn’t know until I tried to install it.