Sounds simple (and maybe it is), but bear with me.

While on a support call, I asked a client what version of windows they had. XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10...etc? They didn't know. They could have any version and each one is slightly different.

System properties is a standard method. Right click "My Computer" and go to properties. Well where is "My Computer"? Maybe it just says "Computer" or "This PC". It's in the Start Menu which looks different for each version. Maybe there is no start menu.

In windows 7, clicking the start icon loads the pop up menu. In windows 8.1 it throws up the whole start screen. You can right click to start icon and select "System" (I think).

There's a keyboard shortcut, Windows Key + Pause Break. What if they have no Windows Key? What if it's a laptop that requires the Fn key to hit "Pause Break"?

The only semi-reliable method I could think of was a process of elimination. Is there a start button? Click it, what do you see? etc.

The best I could find was websites that tell you the OS that's running. That requires an email or spelling out a URL. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/which-operating-system


Is there any non-technical and version independent way of determining what version of Windows a client is using?

  • Win + Pause|Break will open the system control panel applet on any of the above versions of windows, and states the precise windows SKU in plain English. Jun 15 '16 at 15:23
  • I'm voting to close this a opinion-based, only because you seem to know how to do it, you're just looking for an "easy" way to do it for a "non-techie", which has no absolute answer. Plus you could keep adding similar caveats as to why any one suggestion isn't good enough, for example. "Click the Start button, and hit Run" -- "I don't have a Start button." "It's the button down in the corner." "Which corner?" "The bottom left" "I don't have a button there". Turns out they moved their tool bar to the side and button is at the top, so that answer is no good now, etc. Jun 15 '16 at 15:46
  • 4
    – DavidPostill
    Jun 15 '16 at 16:08
  • @Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007: The question wording isn't optimal and your points are true based on the literal wording. But the intent of the question is a little different and the answer and comment answers go to the intended meaning. You described the gist and purpose of the question--is there a universal method, simple to explain, that works regardless of Windows version and (implied but not stated), usual variations in keyboards. Would you consider it on-topic with editing along those lines?
    – fixer1234
    Jun 16 '16 at 3:54
  • There's a difference between asking for a universal way, and asking for a "non-techie" way, that is also universal. like I said, it's the caveat(s), and the fact that the OP seems to know (or be able to find) many different ways to accomplish the task, but isn't satisfied that it's "non-techie" enough. Personally, running a command-prompt and then running Ver.exe seems pretty "techie" in comparison to other ways, which simply may just require more work to accomplish blindly with a non-tech driving. Jun 16 '16 at 12:29

I don't know if you'll consider this too advanced for support calls, but this process is universal across all windows platforms.

1: Windows Key + R (Or start menu -> Run) enter image description here

2: Type cmd in the window that appears.

3: Type ver in the cmd window that opens. enter image description here

This returns the windows version that is being used. A quick google search from this point will tell you what version is there.

  • 2
    You don't even need to type in ver. Its printed the version already.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jun 15 '16 at 15:24
  • Included Ver for a complete answer. I won't assume that every cmd prompt everywhere will always display the version when opened. (I use cmder for instance, even though I know my windows version)
    – todd.pund
    Jun 15 '16 at 15:25
  • 3
    To avoid having to open a cmd prompt first, just run WinVer. :) Jun 15 '16 at 16:09
  • @Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 - That's a better answer: it should be submitted separately.
    – AFH
    Jun 15 '16 at 16:32
  • Accepted because you can "Shift + Right click" to "open command window here". Followed by Techie's WinVer answer. Jun 15 '16 at 17:43

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