I administer a lot of computer brands, and support a wide ecosystem. But I see a lot of Dell Laptops, Desktops, and Servers in my normal day-to-day. A common task is to rebuild a system, or to update a driver after troubleshooting blue screens.
When it’s time to download drivers, there’s one sequence of events that I don’t want to do anymore:
- Turn over laptop
- Read the serial number
- Tell myself “I got this”
- Stare at the serial number
- Memorize the serial number
- Turn the laptop back over, and enter the serial number onto the support webpage
- Forget the stupid serial number halfway through (cause it’s the serial number that’s stupid, not me, right?)
- Repeat steps 1-7 again (do step 8 only one time. If today is Monday and you have not had coffee yet, do step 8 two times)
- Fine! Write down the stupid serial number
- Tell myself “No problem – I told you I got this”
Now that I’m more refined in my technique, I can show you my simple way to find the serial number or system tag of a Dell computer by using PowerShell:
get-wmiobject Win32_ComputerSystem | select SerialNumber
That actually returns a PSCustomObject. Now, you might want to get right at the string value instead. If you’re putting the computers serial number or system tag through the pipeline, or saving it to a file, then you should use this instead – it will return just the string value stored in WMI.
Here, we invoke the alias for get-wmiObject, gwmi. It is exactly the same, just fewer keystrokes. Then, we use the parenthesis to turn it into an object, and put the “.” (dot) there to get access to the properties.
This can also be used to get the system tag for a remote system by using the –computername parameter on the get-wmiobject cmdlet
gwmi Win32_ComputerSystem –computername remotesystem-pc
This is the best way that I’ve found to get the information from a Dell computer. You can use the Service Tag on their website to get up to date drivers and warranty information.