Every installation of Windows has a major version, a specific version, and a build number. While you might never, ever need to know the specific version or the build number of your Windows installation, it is important to know which major version of Windows your machine is running. 

Additionally, it looks like future updates to Windows will come in the form of new Windows 10 builds every 6 months. In other words, future updates might be called something like Windows 10 [Build Name]. The latest version of Windows 10 is 20H2, released on October 20, 2020. The next versions in 2021 will be 21H1 and 21H2. 

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    This makes sense because Microsoft is moving away from making money on licensing specific versions of software and towards making money on software as a service (SaaS) where your software subscription includes future updates. 

    If indeed that’s the way it plays out with updates to Windows 10. Eventually, it will be important to know the build number/name of the instance of Windows 10 installed on your computer.

    Why Should I Care?

    By knowing which version of Windows you have, you’ll be in good shape when it comes time to update device drivers or determine what apps you can install on your computer.

    Furthermore, when you search for instructions on how to do something specific on your computer, you can ensure that the instructions are tailored for your operating system. 

    What Do I Need to Know?

    In addition to the major version, the specific version, and the build number, you’ll also want to know whether your installation of Windows is 32-bit or 64-bit. That, too, can determine what software will work on your computer or which set of instructions to follow. We’ll show you how to find all those pieces of information below.

    What’s What: Major Version, Specific Version, and Build Number

    The major version is the edition of Windows. If your computer is new, it is extremely likely that it’s running Windows 10. Support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020. 

    As you might suspect, Microsoft recommends that you “move to a Windows 10 PC” so they can automatically push security upgrades to your PC. That’s all well and good if you have the resources to get a new computer running Windows 10. But if you don’t, it’s still useful to know what version of Windows you have.

    The specific version of Windows will be a number, most likely four digits, like 1909. The build number will be a longer numeric string, such as 19041.867. As mentioned above, future builds of Windows 10 are anticipated to have names, not numbers.

    How to Find Your Windows Version

    We’ll show you several ways to find what version of Windows is installed on your computer. Each method reveals different types of information, so choose the best one based on your needs. 

    Using File Explorer

    1. Launch Windows File Explorer by pressing Win+E or by typing File Explorer in the Windows search bar and selecting the app.
    2. Find This PC on the left. In older versions of Windows, look for My Computer.
    3. Right-click on This PC (or My Computer).
    4. Select Properties.
    1. That will display a window showing basic information about your PC, including the version of Windows that it’s running.

    If you’re running Windows 10 20H2 or higher, you’ll now be brought to the system information (About) page in Settings rather than Control Panel:

    The Control Panel shows that the PC is running Windows 10 Pro and has a 64-bit Operating System. This screen does not tell you the build number of Windows or version. The new About screen in the Settings app, however, give you all of that information.

    Using Winver

    Here’s another way to determine the version of Windows you have that will likely work whether you have Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7.

    1. Hold down the Windows key and press R (Win+R) to launch the Run dialogue or type Run into Windows search and select Run.
    1. Type Winver.
    1. Press Enter or select the OK button.
    2. That will launch an About Windows panel with all the info you’re looking for.

    The screenshot above shows us that the PC is running Windows 10, Version 2004, and Build 19041.867.

    Using the Control Panel or Settings App

    You can use either the Settings app or Control Panel to get information about your PC. Slowly, Microsoft is migrating to the Settings app, so we’ll start there.

    Click on the Start button and then click on the Settings icon (gear).

    Click on System.

    Finally, click on About at the bottom of the left-hand pane. This will bring you to the same About screen as mentioned in the first method above.

    The second method is via the Control Panel. This method will show you the version of Windows on your PC as well as the system type – whether it’s a 64-bit operating system or a 32-bit one.

    1. Type control panel in the search bar.
    1. Select Control Panel to launch the control panel app.
    2. Search the Control Panel for System.
    1. Select System.
    2. That will display a window showing basic information about your PC.

    Again, you’ll get the new About screen in the Settings app as mentioned above if you are running the latest version of Windows.

    Via System Information

    If you like, you can bypass the Control Panel and go straight to Windows’ System Information app by following these steps.

    1. Type system in the Windows search bar.
    2. Select the System Information app to launch it.
    1. In the System Summary panel, you’ll see both your Windows major version, its specific version, and the build number. You’ll also see the System Type, either 64-bit or 32-bit.

    When in Doubt, Use the Command Prompt

    If you prefer using the command prompt, here’s how to find out which version of Windows is running on your PC. This method should work no matter which version of Windows you’re running.

    1. Hold down the Windows key and press R (Win+R) to launch the Run dialogue or type Run into Windows search and select Run.
    2. Type cmd and press Enter or select the OK button.
    1. Type ver in the command terminal.
    1. Press Enter
    2. That will display the version number of Windows, including the specific version number.

    BONUS: For Computers Running Windows 8

    If you followed one of the methods above and found that your PC is running Windows 8, you can find more information by following these steps:

    1. Use your mouse to point to the lower-right corner of your display.
    2. Move the mouse pointer up to reveal the Settings option.
    3. Select Settings.
    4. Select Change PC Settings.
    5. Select PC and devices and then PC info.
    6. Under the heading Windows, you’ll see which edition and version of Windows is installed on the device. Moreover, under the PC heading, it will say whether you’re running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of windows.

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