This article is about the generic program. For Mac OS's system profiler, see System Information.
A system profiler is a program that can provide detailed information about the software installed and hardware attached to a computer. Typically workstations and personal computers have had system profilers as a common feature since the mid-1990s.
However, system profilers exist on most computing architectures in some form or other. System Monitor programs in mainframes essentially provide the same function as system profiler programs on personal computers.
Modern system profilers typically provide real time information on not only CPU state (such as clock speed), GPU state, and attached hardware state (such as USB or Firewire devices).
System profilers came into use after punch cards were no longer needed to run programs. Mainframe computers had evolved into have modular architectures at the same time punch cards were being abandoned as input devices. Punch card based mainframe computer systems typically had very rigidly fixed architectures with little variation in input or output devices.
Since the 1990s hardware independent system profilers have emerged in some computing architectures, like Linux. Most Unix-like (aka POSIX compliant) operating systems have system hardware independent profilers.
SIW - System Information for Windows - portable freeware (does not require installation) - software, hardware, network information, tools and real-time monitors
Belarc Freeware for personal use PC Auditing Software lists hardware, as well as software installed on the local machine and displays as a local webpage. Belarc also makes a security assessment for checking how secure a system is, and links missing updates directly to a Microsoft website for download.
systeminfo native windows command line, returns OS version, uptime, CPU, physical memory, network cards, etc ...
msinfo32 or winmsd comprehensive view of hardware, system components, and software environment
SekChek Local - an automated security audit tool which scans multiple Windows workstations and servers, from the network. It creates a security assessment report file which is presented as an Microsoft Access dataset.