Are you aware of the version of Windows you are using? If not, worry no more. Here’s a quick guide on how to check which version of Windows you have. While you need not necessarily know the exact number of the version you are using, it is good to have an idea about the general details of your operating system.
How to Check Which Version of Windows You Have?
All Windows users must be aware of 3 details about their OS – the major version (Windows 7,8,10…), which edition you have installed (Ultimate, Pro…), whether yours is a 32-bit processor or 64-bit processor.
Why is it important to know the version of Windows you are using?
Knowing this information is crucial because what software you can install, which device driver can be chosen for update etc…depend on these details. If you need help with something, websites mention the solutions for different versions of Windows. To choose the right solution for your system, you must be aware of the version of the OS in use.
What has changed in Windows 10?
Even though you have not cared about the details such as build numbers in the past, Windows 10 users need to have knowledge about their OS. Traditionally, the build numbers were used to represent the updates to the OS. Users had the major version that they were using, along with service packs.
How is Windows 10 different? This version of Windows is going to stay for a while. There have been claims that there will be no more new versions of the OS. Also, Service Packs are a thing of the past now. Currently, Microsoft releases 2 large builds every year. Names are given to these builds. Windows 10 has a variety of editions – Home, Enterprise, Professional, etc… Windows 10 is still offered as 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Although the version number is hidden in Windows 10, you can easily find the version number.
How are Builds different from Service Packs?
Service packs are a thing of a past. The last Service Pack released by Windows was back in 2011 when it released Windows 7 Service Pack 1. For Windows 8, no service packs were released. The next version Windows 8.1 was directly introduced.
Service packs were Windows patches. They could be downloaded separately. Installation of a Service pack was similar to that of patches from a Windows update. Service packs were responsible for 2 activities – All the security and stability patches were combined into one large update. You could install this instead of installing many small updates. Some service packs also introduced new features or tweaked some old features. These service packs were released regularly by Microsoft. But it eventually stopped with the introduction of Windows 8.
Also Read: How to Change Default Operating System in Windows 10
The current scenario
The working of Windows Updates hasn’t changed much. They are still essentially small patches that are getting downloaded and installed. These are listed in the control panel and one can uninstall certain patches from the list. While day-to-day updates are still the same, instead of Service Packs, Microsoft releases Builds.
Each build in Windows 10 can be thought of as a new version itself. It is just like updating from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. Upon the release of a new build, it gets automatically downloaded and Windows 10 installs it. Then your system is rebooted and is the existing version is upgraded to suit the new build. Now, the build number of the operating system is changed. To check the current build number, type Winver in the Run window or the start menu. The About Windows Box will display the Windows version along with the build number.
Previously Service Packs or Windows updates could be uninstalled. But one cannot uninstall a build. The process of downgrade can be carried out within 10 days of the build release. Go to Settings then Update and Security Recovery Screen. Here you have an option to ‘go back to an earlier build.’ Post 10 days of release, all old files are deleted, and you cannot go back to a previous build.
This is similar to the process for reverting to an older version of Windows. That’s why each build can be considered as a new version. After the 10 days, if you still want to uninstall a build, you will have to reinstall Windows 10 again.
Thus one can expect all the big updates in the future will be in the form of builds rather than the classic Service Packs.
Finding the details using the Setting App
The Settings App displays the details in a user-friendly way. Windows+I is the shortcut to open the Settings App. Go to System à About. If you scroll downward, you can find all the details listed.
Understanding the displayed information
- System type – This can be either the 64-bit version of Windows or the 32-bit version. The system type also specifies whether your PC is compatible with the 64-bit version. The snapshot above says x64-based processor. If your system type displays – 32-bit operating system, x64-based processor, it means that currently, your Windows is a 32-bit version. However, if you wish, you can install a 64-bit version on your device.
- Edition – Windows 10 is offered in 4 editions – Home, Enterprise, Education, and Professional. Windows 10 Home users can upgrade to the Professional edition. However, if you want to upgrade to the Enterprise or Student editions, you will require a special key that is not accessible to Home users. Also, the OS needs to be reinstalled.
- Version –This specifies the version number of the OS you are using. It is the date of the most recently released large build, in the YYMM format. The picture above says that the version is 1903. This is the version from the build release in 2019 and is called the May 2019 update.
- OS Build –This gives you the information about the minor build releases that happened in between the major ones. This is not as important as the major version number.
Finding information using the Winver dialog
There is another method to find these details in Windows 10. Winver stands for Windows Version tool, which displays information related to the OS. Windows key + R is the shortcut to open the Run dialog. Now type Winver in the Run dialog box and click Enter.
An About Windows box opens up. The Windows version along with the OS Build. However, you cannot see whether you are using a 32-bit version or a 64-bit version. But this is a quick way to check your version details.
The above steps are for Windows 10 users. Some people still use the older versions of Windows. Let us now see how to check for the Windows version details in older versions of the OS.
Windows 8/Windows 8.1
On your desktop, if you do not find the start button, you are using Windows 8. If you find the start button on the bottom left, you have Windows 8.1. In Windows 10, the power user menu which can be accessed by right-clicking the start menu is there in Windows 8.1 too. Windows 8 users right-click the corner of the screen to access the same.
The control panel which can be found in the System applet holds all the information regarding the version of the OS you are using and other related details. The System Applet also specifies whether you are using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are the names given to versions 6.2 and 6.3 respectively.
If your start menu looks similar to the one shown below, you are using Windows 7.
The control panel which can be found in the System Applet displays all the information regarding the version details of the OS in use. The Windows version 6.1 was named Windows 7.
If your start menu is similar to the one shown below, you are using Windows Vista.
Go to System Applet à Control Panel. The version number of Windows, the OS Build, whether you have a 32-bit version, or a 64-bit version and other details are mentioned. The Windows version 6.0 was named Windows Vista.
Note: Both Windows 7 and Windows Vista have similar Start menus. To differentiate, the Start button in Windows 7 fits exactly into the taskbar. However, the Start button in Windows Vista exceeds the width of the taskbar, both at the top and the bottom.
The start screen for Windows XP looks like the image below.
The newer versions of Windows have just the start button while XP has both the button and the text (‘Start’). The start button in Windows XP is quite different from the more recent ones – it is aligned horizontally with its right edge curved. Like in Windows Vista and Windows 7, the Edition details and architecture type can be found in the System Applet à Control Panel.
- In Windows 10, the version can be checked in 2 ways – using the settings app and typing Winver in the Run dialog/start menu.
- For other versions such as Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1, the procedure is similar. All version details are present in System Applet which can be accessed from the Control Panel.
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I hope by now you’re able to check which version of Windows you have, using the above-listed steps. But if you still have any queries feel free to reach out using the comment section.