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Posted 29 Dec 2006
Licenced CPOL

Get Physical HDD Serial Number without WMI

, 6 May 2008
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Retrieve the physical Hard drive ID and other info using low level APIs like DeviceIOControl

Sample Image - DriveInfo.png


Many people looking for a schema to protect their work need to get some information that is hardware specific like the Mac Address or some hard drive serial number.


If you tried other solutions like like this one, it probably did not work for you because it's using the WMI services. I was able to find a solution that worked reasonably well here. It made low level calls to the disk using commands sent by the DeviceIoControl API. The code was not very reusable unless you used native C++. Therefore I brushed it a bit and made it look more Object Oriented. Most importantly, I exposed the drive information through a .NET collection.

Using the Code

Since the collection is written in MC++, I've included some Microsoft DLLs from the redistributable pack in the demo zip. Also it's mandatory to use .NET 2.0 since the collection is generic.

The code is very easy to use from any .NET language, like C# for instance:

m_list = new DriveListEx();
//bind to a a grid view
m_dataGridView.DataSource = m_list;

Points of Interest

The information about the internal drives is gathered in DiskInfo::LoadDiskInfo();

DiskInfo is a native singleton class that wraps the calls to ReadPhysicalDriveInNTWithAdminRights() and ReadIdeDriveAsScsiDriveInNT(). I ignored the ReadPhysicalDriveInNTWithZeroRights() that did not seem to work anyways.

Both functions will call AddIfNew() if they can retrieve the information.

Internally there is a list that holds the raw information about the drives and that is updated when a new drive information was found.

BOOL DiskInfo::AddIfNew(USHORT *pIdSector)
  BOOL bAdd = TRUE;
  for(UINT i =0; i< m_list.size();i++)
    if(memcmp(pIdSector,m_list[i],256 * sizeof(WORD)) == 0)
       bAdd = false;
      WORD* diskdata = new WORD[256];
  return bAdd;

If you are stuck with a non .NET compiler, you could still use the source code from UnmanagedCode.cpp, just uncomment the #define NATIVE_CODE line.
This build is for Windows XP 32 bit systems. If you need it for Vista or 64 bit systems, you should select the right include and lib folders when building and should not use the additional DLLs from the archive, since they are 32 bit for Windows XP.


  • Version 1.1: Added ReadPhysicalDriveInNTUsingSmart for reading the HDD info.
    P.S. I did not get a chance to test it for Windows 95 and alike.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
Decebal Mihailescu is a software engineer with interest in .Net, C# and C++.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: Not Works on Vista or Win7 Pin
Hossam™ Ahmed27-Jun-10 22:02
memberHossam™ Ahmed27-Jun-10 22:02 
GeneralRe: Not Works on Vista or Win7 Pin
minregol27-Jul-10 2:10
memberminregol27-Jul-10 2:10 
GeneralVS2008 building errors Pin
jp chow22-Feb-10 14:43
memberjp chow22-Feb-10 14:43 
GeneralRe: VS2008 building errors Pin
miliu9-May-10 15:28
membermiliu9-May-10 15:28 
GeneralGreat Example! Pin
Slowpokee52803-Dec-09 11:12
memberSlowpokee52803-Dec-09 11:12 
QuestionGreate Pin
Khaniya18-Nov-09 1:44
professionalKhaniya18-Nov-09 1:44 
AnswerRe: Greate Pin
dmihailescu18-Nov-09 12:52
memberdmihailescu18-Nov-09 12:52 
QuestionHDD manufacturer serial no without admin rights for web applications? Pin
christopherangler8-Oct-09 23:17
memberchristopherangler8-Oct-09 23:17 
when Administrator rights is not given, it is not working for web application in windows server 2003 and vista. So is there any other method to get the HDD manufacturer serial no without admin rights?
QuestionDriveInfoEx.dll supports Windows Server 2008? Pin
christopherangler7-Oct-09 17:14
memberchristopherangler7-Oct-09 17:14 
AnswerRe: DriveInfoEx.dll supports Windows Server 2008? Pin
dmihailescu8-Oct-09 12:42
memberdmihailescu8-Oct-09 12:42 
QuestionDriveInfoEx.dll supports Microsoft Win 64 bit machines? Pin
christopherangler7-Oct-09 17:13
memberchristopherangler7-Oct-09 17:13 
AnswerRe: DriveInfoEx.dll supports Microsoft Win 64 bit machines? Pin
dmihailescu8-Oct-09 12:44
memberdmihailescu8-Oct-09 12:44 
QuestionRe: DriveInfoEx.dll supports Microsoft Win 64 bit machines? Pin
razvar15-Oct-09 2:10
memberrazvar15-Oct-09 2:10 
AnswerRe: DriveInfoEx.dll supports Microsoft Win 64 bit machines? Pin
dmihailescu15-Oct-09 12:52
memberdmihailescu15-Oct-09 12:52 
GeneralRe: DriveInfoEx.dll supports Microsoft Win 64 bit machines? Pin
razvar15-Oct-09 21:04
memberrazvar15-Oct-09 21:04 
QuestionRe: DriveInfoEx.dll supports Microsoft Win 64 bit machines? Pin
Ankit___26-Apr-10 0:22
professionalAnkit___26-Apr-10 0:22 
AnswerRe: DriveInfoEx.dll supports Microsoft Win 64 bit machines? Pin
dmihailescu26-Apr-10 12:53
memberdmihailescu26-Apr-10 12:53 
QuestionInterface types compatibility with DriveInfoEx.dll Pin
christopherangler7-Oct-09 17:09
memberchristopherangler7-Oct-09 17:09 
AnswerRe: Interface types compatibility with DriveInfoEx.dll Pin
dmihailescu8-Oct-09 12:45
memberdmihailescu8-Oct-09 12:45 
QuestionHard Disk Manufacturers compatibilty Pin
christopherangler7-Oct-09 17:05
memberchristopherangler7-Oct-09 17:05 
AnswerRe: Hard Disk Manufacturers compatibilty Pin
dmihailescu8-Oct-09 12:48
memberdmihailescu8-Oct-09 12:48 
QuestionAdministrator rights for IIS in windows server 2003 & vista business edition Pin
christopherangler6-Oct-09 0:38
memberchristopherangler6-Oct-09 0:38 
GeneralSame for VS2008... Pin
softwaretry22-Sep-09 0:42
membersoftwaretry22-Sep-09 0:42 
GeneralRequires Visual C++ 2008 runtimes Pin
Pete Souza IV1-Sep-09 3:26
professionalPete Souza IV1-Sep-09 3:26 
GeneralRe: Requires Visual C++ 2008 runtimes Pin
dmihailescu1-Sep-09 13:18
memberdmihailescu1-Sep-09 13:18 

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