Identify Windows Version using Linux

Fred Marshall
Fred Marshall used Ask the Experts™
on
Often, when repairing a Windows boot process, since Windows won't boot, I'll use a Linux Live CD of one type or another for various things.

And, when doing that, I want to know which Windows version is on the hard drive.

How can that be done using Linux?  I've not found it....
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AlanConsultant
Commented:
Hi,

One option would be to find a common executable such as explorer.exe, (generally c:\windows\explorer.exe) and check its properties for the file version.

For example, the machine I am on right now is running Win10 Pro Version 1703 Build 15063.608 and the explorer.exe file version is 10.0.15063.608.


Alan.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
Interesting question. I do not see a way either. There are some SQL Server tools you can run from Linux, but nothing in there would help you.

What about Ultimate Boot CD   http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

This is more of a Windows environment that might help you.
Consultant
Commented:
To expand on what I said above, if you have booted using a Live Ubuntu DVD (say), you could copy the file to, say, home, then run pev from the command line:

pev -p explorer.exe

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If you don't have pev installed, and you were using, say, Ubuntu:

sudo apt install pev

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Olgierd UngehojerSenior Network Administrator

Commented:
open C:\Windows\System32\License.rtf
AlanConsultant

Commented:
@Olgierd Ungehojer:

I just checked that file on my Win10 Pro machine, and I cannot find any reference to Win 10 in it at all.

I did not read the whole thing (else my brain would now be mush) - I did a search for '10' and the only hits were things like section numbers.

How can you tell the version from that file?

Thanks,

Alan,
Olgierd UngehojerSenior Network Administrator

Commented:
File looks like this on windows 7
Dave BaldwinFixer of Problems
Most Valuable Expert 2014

Commented:
C:\Windows\System32\License.rtf  doesn't exist on my XP machines.
Olgierd UngehojerSenior Network Administrator

Commented:
you have windows version information for Vista, W7, W8, W8.1, for windows 10 there is no information but you know that is windows 10 then.
Olgierd UngehojerSenior Network Administrator
Commented:
Xp is easy to recognize by folders structure.  There is also packet called chntpw on linux what give you option to browse windows register or change windows password.
AlanConsultant
Commented:
Seems easier to check the version of explorer.exe - that should work for all versions of windows unless someone has seriously hacked around, but that's not likely to be a significant issue.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
@Alan, thanks for the pev info.

I'd never thought about checking the version info of the file explorer before.

Dirt simple approach. Added this to my  very long (since 1994) list of Linux tool snippets.

Author

Commented:
Thanks!
Usually it's Windows 10 to begin with but possibly Windows 8 or 7.
Is it [blank/home] or is it Pro?
Which winver?
explorer.exe file version is 10.0.15063.608 but where is a table of these?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
There is no table of versions in Windows Explorer, just the current version, so you need to use the VER tool to see what the version is.

If you need a table of Versions and Builds otherwise, you would have to use Google. Windows does not keep a table of versions. Even old files get cleaned up and deleted.
AlanConsultant
Commented:
Hi,

If you think you will use this very often, then perhaps keep your own list with your list of utilities (that's what I do):

Windows 1.0       1
Windows 2.0       2
Windows 3.0       3
Windows NT 3.1       3.1
Windows for Workgroups 3.11       3.11
Windows NT Workstation 3.5       3.5
Windows NT Workstation 3.51       3.51
Windows 95       4.0 (Not sure about this)
Windows NT Workstation 4.0       4.0 (Not sure about this)
Windows 98       4.1
Windows 98 Second Edition       4.1.2222
Windows Me       4.9
Windows 2000 Professional       5.0
Windows XP       5.1
Windows Vista       6.0
Windows 7       6.1
Windows 8.1       6.3
Windows 10       10

According to my notes, I sourced from here originally, but may have changed since (or even be gone if reading this later):

https://www.msigeek.com/442/windows-os-version-numbers


Alan.

Author

Commented:
What I need really, is to know which Windows Install DVD to use when dealing with a computer that won't boot.
My DVDs have been created in the normal way and are segregated between "Pro" and "not Pro" and between 32-bit and 64-bit.  
Well, there may be some that do double duty but I never know which ones.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
I suggest you try the Ultimate Boot CD and make it with Windows. You might be able to run SystemInfo from it to get what you need. If the non booting system has a hardware or severe OS corruption that may not work (in fact nothing may work in this case) You need to know how to get recovery media.

Author

Commented:
There are other reasons to use a Linux live CD.  So.....
AlanConsultant

Commented:
Lots of options - If 'pev' doesn't work for some reason, maybe combine with other options above.

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