Knowing how to tell what motherboard you have is one of the most common questions presented on computer hardware-related forums. If you buy a new motherboard, or for any reason have a motherboard that is not installed in a CPU, learning how to tell what kind of motherboard you have is as simple as finding and reading a product label. However, if the motherboard is installed and running, identifying it can be a bit trickier. try the steps below:
- Shut down your computer. Do not simply restart, as you may miss the BIOS prompt.
- As boot up begins, press “F2.” On older model computers, you may need to press and hold the “ESC” key or press “F12” to get to the BIOS screen.
- A BIOS screen should appear. Use your keyboard’s up and down arrow keys to navigate to the Main menu and press “Enter.”
- Again, using the arrow keys, navigate to the Additional Information menu. Press “Enter.” A detailed screen should appear with product information and other details.
With certain motherboards, under product information, the name and other identifiable information should show you what motherboard you have installed. In such cases, you won’t need to get the BIOS String ID to search for your motherboard information online. However, if nothing easily identifiable displays try the following steps:
- Shut down your computer again. Unplug the keyboard. (For laptops, simply hold down any key during reboot.)
- As boot up begins, you should get a keyboard error in the lower corner of your screen. With that error message, there should be a string of ten to 30 characters. This is your BIOS String ID. This long string of numbers and characters will help you tell what motherboard you have installed.
- Copy the string and use it as a keyword to search with your favorite search engine. Not all BIOS String IDs are guaranteed to produce results in search engines, but if your string has been previously identified, it should garner results.
If neither of these methods answered your question, or you aren’t comfortable with tinkering around in BIOS, you have one final alternative. Numerous software options and utilities will help you identify your motherboard. Downloadable programs such as CTBIOS, BIOS Wizard, and AMI’s Motherboard Identification Utility can recover your BIOS String ID for searching purposes or identify what motherboard you have. If you know the manufacturer of your motherboard, you can also search the support information on their website for methods to specifically tell what motherboard you have. Each motherboard manufacturer has different methods for identification, which explains why there are so many ways to tell what motherboard you have installed.