Mac OS X has the Darwin 10.6.0 Kernel, and Ubuntu has the Linux 2.6 Kernel, so in Windows what is it called?


The kernel file itself is ntoskrnl.exe. It is located in C:\Windows\System32.

If you view the properties of the file, you can look on the Details tab to see the true version number running. You can see other versions of the kernel on your system under C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-os-kernel* and C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-os-kernel*. My current kernel, for example, on Win 7 x64 is 6.1.7601.17592. 6.1 indicates Windows 7. 7601 indicates SP1 (RTM lists 7600). The final number is the current revision. If your system has multiple processors or multiple cores in the processor, the details panel will also show that the original file name is ntkrnlmp.exe. The "mp" here means "multiple processors". At one point Windows used different kernels for a system if it had one or more than one processor. I don't know if this is still the case and the internal filename is still kept this way for historic reasons, or if the single processor core version still exists. I don't have a single core system to test on, currently.

In the WinSXS directory, my system currently has quite a few revisions of the kernel (most from the RTM version of Windows 7): 6.1.7600.16385, 6.1.7600.16539, 6.1.7600.16617, 6.1.7600.16695, 6.1.7600.16792, 6.1.7600.20655, 6.1.7600.20738, 6.1.7600.20826, 6.1.7600.20941, 6.1.7601.17514, 6.1.7601.17592, 6.1.7601.21701.

You notice that my system is not using the highest version of the kernel on the system (6.1.7601.17592 vs 6.1.7601.21701). However, it is using the version which was the last one to be digitally signed so even though the final version number is lower, the file is newer. I'm not sure how MS determines what that final version number is going to be.

    – Delta
    Jun 12 '11 at 14:47
  • Sure, but that would refer to any kernel from Windows NT 3.5 through Windows 8 including the server editions. All of those are NT kernel-based. Most often people will refer to the product name when referring to the kernel, or the internal Windows version like @Journeyman Geek did.
    – Bacon Bits
    Jun 12 '11 at 16:49
  • 3
    @umar please, keep CAPS LOCK off... Jul 27 '12 at 9:19

Well, it tends to be Microsoft Windows Version [6.1.7601] for windows 7 - the main change should be the numbers which are MajorVersion.MinorVersion.Build. Vista was 6.0.xxxx, and XP was 5.1.2600 for SP3.

You can find this with the 'ver' command

  • 5
    ver from the command prompt. winver from the Run dialog.
    – heavyd
    Jun 12 '11 at 7:14


  • Windows 7 - Click Start or the Windows logo -> right click Computer -> then click Properties. Look in System.

  • Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 - Click Start or the Windows logo depending on what you have -> then click Control Panel -> System and Maintenance -> System. You could also try Clicking Start or the Windows logo -> then if you have a "Start Search" field type winver -> then Double-click winver.exe from the results. If you had a run box instead of search just click Run -> type winver -> click OK.

  • Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 - Click Start -> Run -> Type winver then click OK. You could also try typing msinfo32 or sysdm.cpl if you like. Lastly you might try typing dxdiag. Windows might prompt you to verify drivers click No.


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