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A new way to display the Windows version on your desktop

Desktop Version windows 8

I have discovered a new hidden trick in Windows 8 which allows you to display the Windows 8 edition, build information and Windows folder right on your desktop, at a glance without opening System Properties.

In previous versions of Windows, starting with Windows 95, one could add the PaintDesktopVersion DWORD value at the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

In case you never heard about it until now, the following image shows what the old value does:

PaintDesktopVersion Windows 8

Windows 8 introduces yet another value, which overrides the PaintDesktopVersion value. It additionally displays your Windows installation directory below your Windows edition and build version.

This new DWORD value DisplayVersion is located at

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows

When it is set to 1, your Desktop will show the following information in the bottom right corner:

DesktopVersion In Action

For most users, the Windows directory shown will be C:\Windows.

I have no idea why Microsoft added another value, I guess they use it for debugging purposes.

You can download ready-to-use registry files from here:

Click here to download ready-to-use scripts

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

9 thoughts on “A new way to display the Windows version on your desktop”

  1. On Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, the version is displayed as follows :
    Windows 10 Pro
    Build 14393.rs1_release.160715-1616
    Is there any way to tidy this up to show, say :
    Windows 10 Pro
    Build 14393
    or is it Windows which looks after the display ?

  2. This doesn’t appear to work 100% correctly.

    My Desktop image shows “Build 19041.vb_release.191206-1406”
    But in Windows update OS build info section it shows version 20H2, OS build 19042.685

    I see the registry entry “BuildLab”=”19041.vb_release.191206-1406”
    So is this an other version of Windows?

    1. It is due to 2004/20H2 enablement package.
      It unlocks the features, but doesn’t internally change the OS version. The same had happened to 1903 and 1909.
      We can call it a Windows 10 feature, or a bug. The behavior you mentioned is as expected.
      Microsoft doesn’t bother to fix it.

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