What are the two Windows utilities that can give you information about your hard drive?

There are two key Windows utilities that provide detailed information about your computer’s hard drive – Disk Management and System Information. Both tools come pre-installed in Windows and are easy to access for any PC user. Understanding how to leverage Disk Management and System Information can help you better monitor and manage storage on your Windows device.

Disk Management

Disk Management is a built-in Windows utility that provides a graphical overview of all the disk drives connected to your computer. It allows you to view details on both internal and external hard drives, such as disk size, partitions, volumes, capacity, free space, file system, and more. Disk Management is especially helpful for partitioning and formatting hard drives, troubleshooting disk issues, and optimizing storage.

To open Disk Management in Windows:

  • Open the Start menu and search for “Disk Management.”
  • Click on the “Create and format hard disk partitions” option to launch the Disk Management utility.

Once open, Disk Management will display a graphical view of all detected disk drives and their structure. Any hard drive connected to your system – including solid state drives (SSDs) and traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) – will be visible here.

Some key pieces of information provided by Disk Management include:

  • Drive Status – The overall health of the drive. Look for statuses like “Online” or “Healthy.”
  • Partition Style – The partition style being used, such as Master Boot Record (MBR) or GUID Partition Table (GPT).
  • File System – The file system the drive is formatted with, like NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, etc.
  • Capacity – The total storage capacity of the drive.
  • Free Space – The amount of unused storage currently available.

Disk Management also allows you to reformat drives, create and delete partitions, change drive letters and volume labels, and perform other management tasks. Overall, it’s an indispensable tool for getting a comprehensive overview of your connected hard drives in Windows.

System Information

System Information, sometimes called msinfo32, is another built-in Windows tool that provides detailed hardware and system configuration data. As part of this, it also reports information specifically on installed hard drives.

To open System Information in Windows:

  • Open the Start menu and search for “System Information.”
  • Click on the “System Information” app to launch it.

In System Information, you can expand the Storage category in the left-hand menu to view details on physical disks, disk volumes, and disk partitions. Expand each section to get extensive technical data reported by Windows on that aspect of your computer’s storage system and hard drives.

Some key hard drive details in System Information include:

  • Device ID – Unique identifier for the drive.
  • Drive Type – Whether the drive is an SSD, HDD, or other type.
  • Volume Name – The label given to the drive’s partitions.
  • File System – File system information like NTFS version and cluster size.
  • Disk Size – Total drive capacity in gigabytes (GB).

System Information provides lower-level technical insight into your PC’s storage configuration versus the graphical overview in Disk Management. IT professionals may need to reference details in System Information when troubleshooting complex storage problems in Windows.

Comparing Disk Management vs System Information

Feature Disk Management System Information
Interface Graphical Menu-based
View Storage topology and structure Precise storage metrics and specs
Details Drive capacity, partitions, volumes, free space Hardware IDs, file system details, drive types
Intended User General end users IT professionals
Key Tasks Partitioning, formatting, basic troubleshooting Advanced troubleshooting, system analysis

In summary:

  • Disk Management provides a high-level graphical overview of storage for basic management.
  • System Information offers comprehensive technical storage data for IT professionals.

Together, these two built-in Windows utilities complement one another by giving both novice users and experienced technicians the hard drive information they need – whether it’s partition structures or physical disk metrics.

Getting Hard Drive Details with Disk Management

Let’s explore some example workflows for how to leverage Disk Management to get more visibility into your hard drives in Windows.

Checking Hard Drive Health

It’s easy to quickly check the status of your hard drives with Disk Management. Just look for the “Status” column on the main screen. This will indicate the overall health of each drive with descriptors like “Healthy,” “Online,” “Failed,” and more.

If you see any warning signs like “Failed” or “Offline,” it likely indicates an issue with the drive that needs further diagnosis. All healthy disks should show an “Online” or “Healthy” status in Disk Management.

Viewing Disk Capacity and Free Space

Disk Management makes it simple to see the total capacity and remaining free space of your hard drives. The main screen prominently displays the “Capacity” and “Free Space” columns for each detected drive.

This allows you to quickly monitor available storage and identify any disks that are nearing capacity. You can then take steps to free up space or expand the storage of nearly full drives.

Checking File System Type

The “File System” column in Disk Management shows you the file system that each drive is currently formatted with – like NTFS, FAT32, ReFS, etc. This can help surface any drives formatted with older, legacy file systems that may need to be updated to leverage new Windows features and capacities.

For example, you can’t create partitions larger than 32GB on FAT32 drives. Seeing FAT32 in Disk Management can prompt you to convert the disk to NTFS for increased capacity and performance.

Examining Hard Drive Configurations in System Information

Now let’s go through some common scenarios where the detailed storage data in System Information can help provide additional context on your PC’s hard drives and configurations.

Identifying Drive Models and Hardware

While Disk Management shows connected disks generically, System Information reports the specific drive models, makes, and hardware IDs. You can find this in the “Physical Disks” section.

These details may be needed when purchasing compatible replacements or upgrades for existing drives in your system. They also aid troubleshooting by pinpointing hardware issues affecting specific drive models.

Reviewing Detailed File System Metrics

From the “Disk Volumes” section of System Information, you can drill into the specs of the file system on each drive partition. This includes data like file system type, format version, cluster size, volume serial number, and more.

Having this file system metadata allows for deeper inspection of storage configurations when diagnosing or optimizing drive performance in Windows.

Identifying RAID Configurations

For computers running disk RAID arrays, the “Disk Partitions” section of System Information clearly labels RAID types and associated drives. Common RAID levels like RAID-0, RAID-1, and RAID-5 will be denoted here if configured.

Identifying and validating RAID setups is an important application of System Information before attempting repairs or recovery on the associated disks and volumes.


Disk Management and System Information provide complementary ways to surface details about your internal and external hard drives in Windows. While Disk Management delivers a high-level graphical view ideal for basic users, System Information offers the deep technical drive data needed by IT experts. Together, leveraging both these built-in Windows tools can give you enhanced visibility and control over the storage landscape on your PC.