View Full Version : Identifying Hardware With Linux

06-07-2008, 06:31 AM
I think this might be useful to a few users on the forums.

You can use a Live Linux CD, such as Knoppix (http://www.knoppix.net/), to identify unknown hardware in a user's machine.

Everyone has formatted a computer and had an Unknown Device listed in the Device Manager. Using a simple command line tool in Linux, you can often find the name of this device. With the name, you can google for the part to try to find a driver.

Just to add: This is similar to the program UnknownDevices.

1) Download and burn a Live Linux CD such as Knoppix. Boot the Live CD. With a knoppix CD, you can speed the process up by booting the computer directly into the command prompt. To do so, enter "knoppix 2" (without the quotes) at the boot menu and press enter. This will drop you into a command prompt. If you're using a GUI (which might be a better idea for new users), see the next step.

2) If you're using a GUI, launch a terminal window. In Knoppix, click on the KDE Menu, Go to System, and then click on Konsole Terminal Program. If you're using a GNOME based LiveCD (such as regular Ubuntu), the menus will be different. In any case, you're looking for a Terminal.

3) In the terminal, run the command "lspci". Here's the output of my machine (from Vmware):

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX Host Bridge (rev 01)
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX AGP Bridge (rev 01)
00:07.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ISA (rev 08)
00:07.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 IDE (rev 01)
00:07.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 USB
00:0f.0 VGA compatible controller: VMware Inc [VMware SVGA II] PCI Display Adapter
00:10.0 SCSI storage controller: BusLogic BT-946C (BA80C30) [MultiMaster 10] (rev 01)
00:11.0 PCI bridge: VMware Inc Unknown device 0790 (rev 01)
02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] 79c970 [PCNet32 LANCE] (rev 10)
02:01.0 Multimedia audio controller: Ensoniq ES1371 [AudioPCI-97] (rev 02)
02:02.0 USB controller: VMware Inc Unknown Device 0770

If you want more information about your hardware, run lspci with the verbose switch:

lspci -v

It's not guaranteed to work, but it's proven to be helpful to me in the past. VMware isn't really that good of a representation, but my Linux box lacks a harddrive at the moment. You'll probably get better information from a "real" box.

Hope this is helpful,

-Jared Schlicht

06-08-2008, 04:26 AM
Wow, thanks for the tip, unknown devices can be a real pain sometimes, so I can't wait to try my knoppix disk next time.