Find out which operating system is installed on your computer

Which Operating System is My Computer Using?

The majority of desktop and laptop computers will be running a version of either Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX or perhaps a flavour of Linux.

Microsoft computers

You will often see a "Splash Screen" during the startup routine of your computer. This often shows the Operating System and version. Windows 8 has a distinctive desktop(see below) . Typical splash screens you could see look like this:

Microsoft Windows XP Microsoft Windows Vista Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows 8 Microsoft Windows 8 Desktop

If you haven't been able to identify the version from the above, the following methods are used with different operating systems:

1. Check for operating system info in Windows 8 or Windows RT

  • On the Start screen, type Computer, press and hold or right-click Computer, and then tap or click Properties.

  • Look under Windows edition for the version and edition of Windows that your PC is running.

2. Check for operating system info in Windows 7 or Windows Vista

  • Click the Start button , enter Computer in the search box, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.

    Look under Windows edition for the version and edition of Windows that your PC is running.

Here's what the Start menu looks like in Windows 7 and Windows Vista'

3. Check for operating system info in Windows XP

  • Click the Start button, click Run, type winver, and then press Enter.

Apple Computers.

Learn how to find your OS X version and build information. This information may be helpful when updating software or the operating system on your Mac.

From the Apple menu, choose About This Mac. The About This Mac window shows your OS X version number.

In the above example, OS X Mountain Lion is installed.

Linux Computers

As with other computers the splash screen could tell you which distribution and version you have. If a log on screen appears this could also supply the information.

If you are unable to find the information from the above sources, try this.

  • Open up a terminal window (on my computer Start/system/terminal)

  • Type lsb_release -a (if pasting, use the menu Edit/paste command)

  • <Enter>

Output should look like this:

Me@Me-My Computer Name ~ $ lsb_release -a

Distributor ID: LinuxMint
Description: Linux Mint 13 Maya
Release: 13
Codename: maya

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