JDisc Discovery is a comprehensive tool for scanning your entire network (up to 25 devices with a free license), identifying hardware and devices, and collecting details on hardware, software and device configuration.
The program is hugely configurable, with a vast number of options and features, but if you're a networking newbie then most of that can be safely ignored. Just click the tiny "Play" icon and watch as JDisc scans its way across your local network.
Once the process is complete, a Devices dialog shows the basics of all discovered hardware (name, IP address, manufacturer, model, type, OS version, patch level, firmware version, serial number, "last discovered" date).
Double-clicking any of these gives you more information on Windows, OS X, Linux and Unix computers: network interfaces, basic hardware information, installed applications/ drivers/ services, user accounts/ groups, running programs, and more.
Right-clicking a device provides more options, including the ability to connect via SSH, Telnet, HTTP or HTTPS.
JDisc Discovery may be extended further with add-ons to report on more security settings (shared network drives and their permissions), or determine the connections between devices and show them in graphs.
JDisc Discovery is a powerful tool for network scanning, discovery and inventory. It's aimed very much at big business, but the program's core features are accessible to everyone in a very few clicks.