Can You Run It?: free online resource can tell you if your PC will run the games you want

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Can You Run It?” from system requirements lab is a free web service that compares your PC specs against a large, constantly updated database of games and can tell you whether your computer is  sufficient to run any game that you are interested in.

It can also give you a breakdown of individual components and tell you exactly where your computer stands in relation to the recommended and preferred specs and what areas or components to change or upgrade.

Imagine the following: you’re interested in getting a game for your computer, but you’re not sure whether your computer meets the minimum requirements. So you do some research and find out the minimum specs, except… you don’t really know if your computer meets them.. Sure, you can ascertain that your CPU has enough muscle and that your memory seems sufficient, but then there’s all that gobblety-gook about DirectX and the required pixel and vertex shaders and yada yada yada. Wouldn’t be simpler and better if you could just log onto a site somewhere and get a simple answer to “can I run it?”


can you run it evaluationWell as it happens “Can You Run It?” is exactly the site you are looking for. Constantly updated with the latest and greatest games, the site will evaluate your system and give a detailed report of all the different requirements and where your computer stands for each one. It will even place your system on a continuum that visually illustrates where your PC is in terms of minimum and preferred requirements. Here are more notes on this service:

  • How it works: once you select a game from the dropdown, the site will run an ActiveX control that examines your system and compares it to the requirements for that game (more on this below).
  • can you run it reportThe report: breaks down each component and gives you the low-down with respect to your system specs and a rating of how well they meet the game requirements (see image to the right for partial results). It will provide upgrade suggestions where your PC does not measure up.
  • Performance: is very fast. Scanning took about 20 to 30 seconds on my machine before I got my results.
  • Installs ActiveX/Java component: this component is necessary to perform the scan, and you will need to give permission for it to install. This component can be removed from the Windows Add/Remove dialog just as you would uninstall any app; look for the “System Requirements Lab” entry.

The verdict: a very nice resource that not only can tell you if the game you want will work on your machine (and, if so, how it stands with respect to the minimum and preferred specs), but it will give you a good idea as to what area, whether software or hardware, needs to be improved.

Version Tested: the site as of Sep 8th 2008.

Compatibility: Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, 2003, Media Center, Vista. Requires Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Netscape browsers.

Visit the Can You Run It? site.