Jul 042008

Dmidecode is a free opensource tool to know information about the System BIOS information. Basically, it tells you what the BIOS claims it really is. Dmidecode reports information about your system’s hardware as described in your system BIOS according to the SMBIOS/DMI standard. This information typically includes system manufacturer, model name, serial number, BIOS version, asset tag as well as a lot of other details of varying level of interest and reliability depending on the manufacturer. This will often include usage status for the CPU sockets, expansion slots (e.g. AGP, PCI, ISA) and memory module slots, and the list of I/O ports (e.g. serial, parallel, USB).

dmidecode helps kernel developers to detect system “signatures” and add them to the kernel source code when needed.

Beware that DMI data have proven to be too unreliable to be blindly trusted. Dmidecode does not scan your hardware, it only reports what the BIOS told it to.

Three additional tools come with dmidecode:

biosdecode –  Prints all BIOS related information it can find

ownership – Retrieves the “ownership tag” that can be set on Compaq computers

vpddecode – Prints the “vital product data” information that can be found in almost all IBM computers

To install dmidecode in openSUSE or SUSE linux

Download the latest Source Code

The latest available source code available for download at the time of writing is “dmidecode-2.9″. Download the latest dmidecode from here

opensuse11:~ # wget http://download.savannah.gnu.org/releases/dmidecode/dmidecode-2.9.tar.gz

Unzip & Untar the files

opensuse11:~ # tar -zxvf dmidecode-2.9.tar.gz


opensuse11:~ # cd dmidecode-2.9

opensuse11:/dmidecode-2.9 # make && make install

Make uninstaller

opensuse11:/dmidecode-2.9 # make install

Run dmidecode

The dmidecode utility is now installed under

/usr/local/ and the executables “dmidecode” “biosdecode” “ownership” “vpddecode” are installed under /usr/sbin

To run, simply type “dmidecode“. The following is a sample output from my Virtual box installation.

opensuse11:/dmidecode-2.9 # dmidecode
dmidecode 2.9
Legacy DMI 2.3 present.
2 structures occupying 256 bytes.
Table at 0x000E1000.

Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 20 bytes
BIOS Information
Vendor: innotek GmbH
Version: VirtualBox
Release Date: 12/01/2006
Address: 0xE0000
Runtime Size: 128 kB
ROM Size: 128 kB
ISA is supported
PCI is supported
Boot from CD is supported
Selectable boot is supported
8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)
CGA/mono video services are supported (int 10h)
ACPI is supported

Handle 0x0001, DMI type 1, 27 bytes
System Information
Manufacturer: innotek GmbH
Product Name: VirtualBox
Version: 1.2
Serial Number: 0
UUID: 4F8F2A4A-A7FC-4BE2-8230-68F097A0898D
Wake-up Type: Power Switch
SKU Number: Not Specified
Family: Virtual Machine

Wrong DMI structures length: 256 bytes announced, structures occupy 130 bytes.