XP, Vista, and Windows 7: Show or Remove Version and Build Number on the Desktop

   Posted June 1, 2012 by David Kirk in Windows

The following tutorial contains a quick registry hack which describes how to show your version and build number of the Windows OS on the desktop.

In our large network environment, we are now displaying the version on every user’s system. This helps us figure out if problems are related to issues such as service packs. Many users installing beta versions of Windows will want to show (or maybe hide) the build number of the OS.

The registry area of interest is as follows:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]

DWORD 0 is off
DWORD 1 is on

Manual Steps

1. Start regedit and confirm if UAC is active.

2.Navigate to the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.

3.Right-click DWORD value PaintDesktopVersion and select Modify

4.Change value to 1 to display version or 0 to remove the display of the version.

Scripting Changes

If you would like to create a script, just paste the following code into an blank notepad document:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]


Save this as showver.reg onto your desktop. Double click the file and allow windows to insert it into the registry when prompted.

In the days of XP, of course, users could install Microsoft Power Tools, but that is too troublesome to use in an enterprise environment. Of course, other versions of Windows did not have powertools available so you’ll be limited to gedit or registry changes.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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  • vivek

    Does it work for windows 8 release Preview……It ddnt wor for me…………
    Windows 8 RP 64bit….

    • David Kirk

      That’s a great question. I’ve actually got a request into the crew to see if they can figure this one out.

  • CurtisScott

    Dr. Dave:
    i very much appreciate your ability to compress technical solutions into concise answers. As a geek myself, -it’s easy to get bogged in explaining the “art of the details”. So, I’ve got a stumper for you: I have a personal friend who recently got a Windows 7 laptop (Toughbook CF-74). Bizarre situation though: When he opens his “Computer” folder, –his Windows (C:) icon is a generic blank sort that might be used if the regular icon isn’t available. Right clicking the icon does NOT offer an option to change it (as so many other file type icons allow). I’ve asked jeeves, Google, Yahoo for solutions & downloaded replacement icon theme packs, etc. Nothing works.
    Do you know of a registry trick or other tweak that will allow the system to change such an icon?
    Oh … one last point: He used Microsoft’s migration tool to pull his files across from his previous laptop which was an XP machine. I can tell you that outlook did NOT migrate smoothly (what a headache)! Do you know of that tool causing these sorts of errors?
    So, there’s my latest headscratcher. Thanks for writing such concise articles!

    • David Kirk

      If the default icon is corrupted, your friend likely has serious other issues created by the faulted migration. I would start by opening an administrative elevated prompt and running this command:

      sfc /scannow

      This checks and fixes system files. It’s probably his best chance.

      Alternatively, you could try to manually change it through this article…


      but I wouldn’t recommend it in his case.