Linux Command to Retrieve Hardware Serial Numbers etc

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Ever needed to obtain the serial number (or other details) for a remote server? Couldn’t be bothered to walk/run/drive/fly all the way there just to read a sticky label on the back or bottom of said server? Read on then.

The command you want to run, as root, is dmidecode. For example, to get the make and model and serial number of a server, do this:

dmidecode -t system

The result will be similar to:

# dmidecode 2.11
SMBIOS 2.5 present.

Handle 0x0002, DMI type 1, 27 bytes
System Information
        Manufacturer: Dell Inc.
        Product Name: Vostro 1720
        Version: Null
        Serial Number: 996C4L1
        UUID: Not Settable
        Wake-up Type: Power Switch
        SKU Number: Null
        Family: Vostro

Handle 0x000F, DMI type 12, 5 bytes
System Configuration Options
        Option 1: Jumper settings can be described here.

Handle 0x0018, DMI type 32, 20 bytes
System Boot Information
        Status: No errors detected

Other options for the -t parameter are:

  • bios – tells you all about your bios.
  • system – tells you about the system hardware.
  • baseboard – all about the mother board.
  • chassis – all you need to know about the “box” the system is made up of.
  • processor – fairly obvious.
  • memory – again, fairly obvious.
  • cache – information about your CPU cache.
  • connector – what sockets are present on the computer. USB, firewire, ethernet etc.
  • slot – appears to be the bus information, and voltages present, supplied etc.

There’s brief help available:

dmidecode --help

Usage: dmidecode [OPTIONS]
Options are:
 -d, --dev-mem FILE     Read memory from device FILE (default: /dev/mem)
 -h, --help             Display this help text and exit
 -q, --quiet            Less verbose output
 -s, --string KEYWORD   Only display the value of the given DMI string
 -t, --type TYPE        Only display the entries of given type
 -u, --dump             Do not decode the entries
     --dump-bin FILE    Dump the DMI data to a binary file
     --from-dump FILE   Read the DMI data from a binary file
 -V, --version          Display the version and exit

However, to find out the different types you can supply, you need to supply an erroneous type:

dmidecode -t left_leg

Invalid type keyword: left_leg
Valid type keywords are:

I’ve just used the command to obtain information about a server located 150 odd miles away from my comfy chair, running in an unattended site. That saved me a bit of time!

Have fun.

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