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Which OS Do You Have?

I just bought a computer from a friend of mine and they didn’t know a whole lot about it. Therefore, I don’t even know which operating system it has. How can I determine that?

Don’t feel bad! This sort of thing happens to a lot of people. Whenever you make a deal on a computer from a friend or family member, chances are, you’re not going to know much about it until you start investigating. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be a bit frustrating until you figure some things out. Another situation could be that you bought a computer a long time ago, but never really used it. You may not remember certain things from way back when.

Either way, one of the most important things you need to know about a computer is what operating system it is running. Without that information, you won’t be able to do certain things, you won’t know which programs will and won’t work, etc. So, it’s pertinent that you find out that little piece of information first. While that sounds easy enough to do, you may not be sure how to go about it. Well, I’m here to help you with that, so let’s get started!

There are a couple of ways you can do this with any computer. Now, before you begin, you must know that the computer does have a version of Windows. It can’t be a Mac or be using Linux, etc. If the computer has anything other than Windows, this tip won’t work.

Okay, here’s the easiest way to check which operating system you have. Hold the Windows key (the one with the Windows logo) and type R (Win+R). In the Run dialog box that opens, type in winver. Press Enter on your keyboard. That will bring up a new window that has all the information about your computer’s operating system. It will give you the version (XP, Vista, Windows 7, etc.), the build information and the Service Pack version, if one is installed. In XP, it will look something like this:

In Vista it will look like this.


In Windows 7, like this.


Now, there are other ways you can go about doing this as well, just in case you couldn’t get it to come up with the above directions. For one, in XP, right click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose Properties. Under the General tab, you will see the operating system information and some data on the actual computer. What you see here is a little different from all that you get with the first option, but it still gives you the basics. Likewise, in Vista and Windows 7, click the Start button, right click on Computer, select Properties, and you’ll find basic system information.

Either way you do it, you will be able to find the information you’re looking for and you can then go on your way to making the computer you want to have. It’s nice to have options, isn’t it?!

~ Erin