This guide covers what all games/software require. This guide shows you how to check if your computer can run and install a cd or dvd you put into your computer.
You can also check this http://cyri.systemrequirementslab.com/srtest/ (from user Kweenix) for a game.
If your game isn't there, read this guide.
You can download this app to view your hardware, but this shows more than you need, so you will need to hunt down what you're looking for. It is good for computer pros. (thanks to johnf888) It's still good to check it out though.
Step 1: Materials
All you need is your computer. I will focus on your RAM, Processor, Cd/Dvd drive, disk space, and your video card.
Step 2: Checking What Your Game Needs
To check what your computer needs for a game or software, the easiest way is to just type the name and after that specs, in google. The picture shows a search for Starcraft, a old game. If you don't find a site the first time, a few looks after will usually produce good results. Keep this page open as you will constantly check your computer against it.
Step 3: Cd/Dvd Drive
If your computer doesn't support dvd and you buy a dvd, the software or game will be useless. Normally you simply check the front of the cover. It will have a cd, dvd, or blueray disc sign. If your computer only has a cd sign, don't buy something that is a dvd, as your computer won't recognize it. If there is a flap, simply try pulling it down and look inside or open the drive and look at the front.
Step 4: Disk Space
The most important thing is if you have enough disk space. Simply open the My Computer window. Look for the C:\ drive, this is where everything is installed.
If you have a higher number, that is better. If you have a lower number, than you won't be able to run the game/software. This goes for Processor and Ram too.
In Windows XP, you might have to click on the button and look for it on the left side of the window. Or you might have to right click on the button and click properties.
In windows 7, it shows you how much disk space you have. Remember that gb's are bigger than mb's so if the spec says 80 mb and your computer says 8 gbs free, you have enough memory. 1024 mb is one gb.
Step 5: RAM, Processor
Next, on the My Computer button on your desktop or Start, right click on it and select properties.
Since I'm running Windows 7, it might look different than Windows XP. Windows Vista should look similar.
After selecting properties, look for RAM and the number after. That is how much RAM you have.
Now look for Processor or a number with a GHz or MHz after it. This is your processor speed. (some stuff don't need this)
If you don't see Processor or Ram, try clicking some of the top tabs/buttons.
Remember that gb's are bigger than mb's GHz are greater than MHz! (ex: 5 gb > 500 mb, 5 GHz > 400 MHz)
Step 6: Video Card
Video cards don't have specs so it's hard to know if you need a new one or not.
On xp:(maybe vista)
On Windows 7:(maybe vista)
Right click anywhere on an empty space on the desktop then click screen resolution.
Now click advanced.
You will see your graphics card name.
A good graphics card is a Nvidia or an ATI card. Most from intel are very bad and won't support new games. I would suggest that you look at how new and graphics heavy the game is and maybe not buy it if you have a low quality video card. You can also borrow a friends new game and see if it'll run on your computer.