For a number of reasons, I often find myself needing to find information about a system that can be somewhat difficult to source, such as when it was last rebooted, or when the system was installed originally. Luckily, there’s a tool to help us out, called System Information. A command line utility,
systeminfo.exe, offers a lot of information. This is both good and bad. It is good, because there are lots of things to be found. It is bad, because it can be hard to find the specific thing you are looking for. Enter the Pipe. By adding a vertical bar and a search query, we can find the exact information we are looking for without having to wade through irrelevant information.
The basic use of the tool is simply to open the command line and enter
systeminfo. Let’s look at a few use cases where the pipe comes in handy. Let’s start with the system boot time. By simply adding a pipe and a query, we can find that information easily. The full command looks like this*:
systeminfo | find "System Boot Time", and the result looks like this:
If we want to find the install date of the system, the command looks like this*:
systeminfo | find "Original Install Date", with results as follows:
There are any number of other things you might find; these two examples happen to have been most relevant and useful to me.
*: Different versions of Windows might have different specific commands. In order to find the specific commands for your version, refer to the full list available from the un-piped command.