I have dissassembled a few old computers and I am checking the content of their hard disks (connecting them externally to another computer via usb). I would like to understand which operating system is on them without having to assemble the original computers. Is it possible? How do I do that?

  • you can generally make inferences based on filesystem type, directory structure, system library version numbers, etc. – Frank Thomas Sep 10 '16 at 8:20
  • Right, but what if for example I want to understand which version of a Windows OS is installed. How can I find that out? For instance, is there a file where that is written? – Nicola Sep 10 '16 at 8:31
  • May be duplicate of this question superuser.com/questions/363018/… – vembutech Sep 10 '16 at 8:51
  • Yes, pretty much is a duplicate of that other question. The answer would lay in finding all of the kernel files on the drive and checking each for what version they are. The kernel file is the OS, the interpreter for the I/O of everything. The problem with this, is that anyone could put any number of files onto a drive but the drive not be formatted bootable. – TG2 Sep 10 '16 at 12:12

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