How to Check Serial Numbers

Updated April 17, 2017

Computer serial numbers help identify a product for a number of reasons, such as inventory, identification, upgrade and maintenance purposes. Most large computer manufacturers make it easy to find the serial number. Typically, there is a sticker on the computer (on the back of a desktop or on the bottom of a laptop) that lists the serial number, among other information. The serial number is preceded by "s/n." If the sticker is missing or illegible, there is another way to retrieve the number.

Click the "Start" menu button on your computer's task bar.

Locate the "Search" prompt at the bottom of the window that opened.

Type "cmd" into the "Search" bar. Do not type the quotation marks. Press "Enter." A window will appear with a black screen.

Type "wmic bios get serialnumber" (without quotation marks). Press "Enter." The computer's serial number will appear. Write it down and close the command window by clicking on the "X" in the upper right corner.


Gateway computers users can go to the Gateway website to access support and have their computer scanned for serial numbers online.


The command window is not a place to tinker around---be sure to follow the steps, then close it immediately.

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About the Author

Trina Hoaks has been in the writing business since 1979. She began working as a typesetter for the "Valley Ridge News" and edited copy for Laura Paperback Books. She was a columnist and the features and entertainment editor for "The Egalitarian." Hoaks has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, Texas.