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Maintain Your Mac: Use System Profiler

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 2/5/2009

Apple’s System Profiler is a tool that gives you a snapshot of your system, the software you have installed, and system resources. It can tell you if your hardware is working, if your new RAM is showing up, the serial number of your Mac, the versions of various software, and more.

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    System Profiler

    With System Profiler, you can find out virtually anything about any hardware or peripheral attached to your Mac, such as wireless keyboards and mice, USB busses, and Ethernet connections and their IP addresses. You can also find out what model modem or DVD drive you have, including who manufactured it. This information can help you locate new device drivers, replacement parts, or replacement equipment. You can even view information about pre-installed software, including third-party utilities that may be on your machine.

    Besides simply accessing the information, you can create a printout of all of the information by simply choose File>Print once System Profiler has gathered the information. Having this information will prove useful if you ever can’t get your Mac to start, or if you have to replace any of the internal parts, such as the modem, PCI cards, or memory. A technician will sing your praises if you hand over your dead Mac and this printout at the same time!

    To access System Profiler and view and print the available information:

    1.      Open Finder>Applications>Utilities>System Profiler.

    2.      Expand the Hardware and Software trees.

    3.      Select any item to view its properties. You may find a Firmware version, the driver manufacturer, the name of the device, the country, and the interface type. This information will help you resolve problems with the hardware if they ever occur.

    4.      Choose File>Print. Verify that the correct printer is chosen, that Pages: All is selected, and click Print.

    5.      Click System Profiler>Quit System Profiler after the print job has completed.