Translating System Requirements
Of course, there is more to system requirements than understanding what minimum and recommend requirements mean. You also need to know what hardware your own PC has and if it meets the requirements listed by the developer. This is a problem that is particularly troublesome for the average user. While those who consider themselves enthusiasts often build their own computers, most people buy their PC from a major vendor like Dell or Compaq. These PCs often advertise the speed of their processors and the amount of RAM they are equipped with, but the owners rarely keep those advertisements, and finding technical information in the user documentation is often impossible.
But discovering what kind of hardware your computer has is not difficult if you know where to look. All you need to do is open up your Control Panel and then navigate to System Properties (or just System, if you're using Vista). Open System Properties, and make sure you are on the General Tab, which should be the default.
Under the System section, you should see information about your operating system, including both what operating system you have and what version you have. For example, Windows XP will be listed as having either Service Pack 1, 2, or 3.
The Computer section will list your processor. Pay attention to both the number of cores listed and the clock speed of your processor, which will be listed in Ghz or Mhz. Also note what kind of processor is listed, such as an AMD Athlon X2 or an Intel Pentium 4. Finally, pay attention to the amount of RAM listed, which will be listed in GB or MB. Write all of this information down for future reference. Also, write down how many GB of hard drive space you have available. You can find this information by going to My Computer, right-clicking on a hard drive, and clicking on properties. A window should open that has a pie graph representing the available space on the drive.