Which Version of Windows is on Your Computer?

6Which Version of Windows is on Your PC?

To some people, this seems like a simple question, but not for the average person.

Windows is the most common Operating System (OS; software that makes your computer parts work together and allow you to use it–the software at the heart of your computer that controls almost everything that happens on it) for computers in the world. Computers running Windows are also commonly referred to as PCs (or Personal Computers).

Other kinds of computers that don’t run Windows may run Mac OS X (Apple), GNU/Linux (a free open source OS usually used by experienced and brave computer users), or Chome OS, a very simplistic OS made by Google for devices such as Chromebooks.

Now let’s see which version of Windows is running on your PC–and some pictures and dates to help.

What’s the Easiest Way to Tell What Version of Windows I Have?

Look at your Start button or Start Menu or How old is it?

if you have one–see Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

If you see something like this–you’re probably running Windows XP–and it’s time to upgrade to a new machine. See below.October 25, 2001 – June 30, 2008 (General Availability)

If you bought your PC from 2001 – 2007, it’s likely Windows XP–and it’s time to upgrade to a new computer with the new Windows. Extended support for Windows XP ended on April 8, 2014, which means no more security updates, patches, or support from Microsoft.

This is what you should see if you’re running Windows Vista.January 30, 2007 – October 22, 2010 (General Availability)

If you bought your PC from 2007-2009, it’s likely Windows Vista, currently the oldest-yet-still supported version of Windows.

If you’re running Windows Vista, it’s time to consider upgrading to a newer PC, or if your PC was considered “high-end” at the time with decent hardware (parts), consider upgrading to the newest version of Windows, Windows 8.1–or wait a little longer until the release of Windows 10.

Support: Mainstream support ended on April 10, 2012. Extended support ends on April 11, 2017.

This is what you should see if you’re running the more popular Windows 7.October 22, 2009 – October 31, 2014 (General Availability)

If you bought your PC from 2009-2012, it’s likely Windows 7, the most widely accepted and still supported version of Windows.

If you’re nervous about upgrading to Windows 8.1, I’d recommend considering upgrading to Windows 10 when it launches later in 2015.

Support: Mainstream support until January 13, 2015. Extended support until January 14, 2020.

This is something entirely different-a Start Screen that replaces the Start Button and Menu, found in Windows 8.

There’s still a desktop similar to Windows 7 in Windows 8–just click (or tap if using a touch-screen device) the Desktop tile.October 26, 2012 – present (General Availability)

If you purchased your PC in late 2012 to present, it’s likely Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

Windows 8 received a lot of bad reviews, and some mixed reviews. This is mainly because it was so different and at sometimes confusing. It also focused on PCs with a touch screen with “apps” (another name for programs) that were full sceen and awkward to navigate with a keyboard and mouse. Unfortunately, most PCs sold when Windows 8 launched in October 2012 didn’t have touch screens.