How to display updated Windows 11 system information with BgInfo

With the help of BgInfo free utility app, you don’t have to remember all your Windows 11 system information as it is always available on your desktop.

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

From a practical point of view, it is difficult to remember specific hardware and software information regarding your personal computer, especially when the PC is a few years old. The exact CPU, network adapter, or version of Windows 11 we’re running is just not information that most of us remember and are happy to cite when asked. However, this is precisely the type of information that is often essential for identifying your system and troubleshooting problems.

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The task of identifying systems and the hardware and software currently in use can be easily and easily accomplished using an app called BgInfo, which is part of the Sysinternals suite of utilities available for free from Microsoft. By running BgInfo and making some decisions about what information you want to display, you can overlay relevant system information on your Windows 11 desktop wallpaper, where it can be viewed at any time.

How to view updated Windows 11 system information using BgInfo

Figure A shows you a snippet of a standard Windows 11 desktop. Note that the current version is empty and contains no system information.

Figure A

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Download BgInfo from the Sysinternals website and extract the contents of the ZIP file to the C:\Windows\System32 folder. You should have two new files in this folder as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

When you run BgInfo you will be presented with a configuration screen that allows you to change the default settings as shown in Figure C. In most cases, the default settings are sufficient, but you can customize them to suit your needs.

Figure C

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

If you are happy with your configuration settings, click the OK button. Now when you look at the Windows 11 desktop, you will see your system information built into your Windows 11 desktop wallpaper as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

As an alternative to downloading BgInfo, you can run the application directly from the Sysinternals Live website. Navigate to the BgInfo page and scroll down to the link shown in Figure E. Clicking on it will run BgInfo remotely.

Figure E

Image: Mark Kaelin/TechRepublic.

BgInfo can also be run from the command prompt with various parameters and switches applied. The switches allow you to save system information in a configuration file, a pop-up overlay, or on the Windows 11 taskbar as a user-accessible icon. Available configuration parameters include:

  • : Specifies the name of a configuration file to use for the current session.
  • /Timer: Specifies the timeout value for the countdown timer in seconds. Specifying zero refreshes the display without showing the configuration dialog. If you specify 300 seconds or more, the timer will be completely disabled.
  • /pop up: Causes BGInfo to create a popup window with the configured information without refreshing the desktop.
  • /Quietly: Suppresses error messages.
  • /taskbar: Causes BGInfo to place an icon in the status area of ​​the taskbar without refreshing the desktop. Clicking the icon displays the configured information in a pop-up window.
  • /Everyone: Specifies that BGInfo should change the wallpaper for all users currently logged into the system.
  • /Protocol: Causes BGInfo to write errors to the specified log file instead of generating a warning dialog.
  • /rtf: Causes BGInfo to write its output text to an RTF file. All formatting information and colors are included.

By default, BgInfo will replace your current Windows 11 desktop background with a new one. However, by changing the default configuration settings, you can make BgInfo use the current wallpaper and replace it with a version updated with your system information. The original image will remain on your system if you want to switch back.

If you put a shortcut to BgInfo in your startup folder, Windows 11’s system information will be updated every time you start the system, so you’ll always see the latest information. Always available and up-to-date system information on your desktop can come in handy when trying to troubleshoot problems.

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