How to show Windows 10 version and build number on your desktop, also works with Anniversary Update Build 1607

Posted by Paul Braren on Jul 29 2015 (updated on Aug 17 2016) in
  • Windows
  • Productivity
  • Registry_Editor_PaintDesktopVersion_TinkerTry_Steps
    Here's the 6 steps in regedit.exe, then just logoff/logon [or restart Windows Explorer using Task Manager Processes view]. You're done!

    Why

    During the Windows Insider Preview period, essentially was public beta test of Windows 10, Microsoft wisely chose to show the version of Windows and the Build Number on the desktop. Helped us keep things straight. Kind of like a lite version of the sysadmin's beloved BgInfo.

    But once Build 10240 was released, the "GA" or release version of Windows 10, they took that nifty version display feature away.

    You can get it back again! The very short video and written procedure below show you exactly how, with the change taking effect immediately. That's right, no log off required.

    I really like this tweak for my VMs and home lab, especially handy when a system or VM hasn't been used in a while. Now I know at a glance what I'm looking at, before Windows Update has had a chance to catch up.

    Editing the registry carries some danger, and requires administrative rights. This is done at your own risk. Only proceed with this if you're comfortable with backing up and restoring your registry keys, if needed, as explained by Microsoft here.

    Video 1 - looping, just 47 seconds long

    Step-by-step, left-click shows red, right-click shows blue. You can pause at any time. Click the audio control to unmute, if you want to hear the mouse clicks.

    Video 2 - YouTube, with explanatory voice-over

    This video steps you through the entire tweak procedure, with an explanatory voiceover.

    You're still here, looking for words? Here you go.

    Step-by-step Instructions

    1. Win+R

    2. type Regedit and press Enter key

    3. When User Account Control asks you Yes or No, select Yes

    4. Expand the sections below Computer to navigate your way to
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

    5. Making sure you've selected Desktop in the left pane, next, look for PaintDesktopVersion in the right-hand pane of alphabetical entries

    6. Double-click on Desktop

    7. Type 1

    8. Press Enter

    9. Press Control+Alt+Del, select Task Manager

    10. Select the Processes tab

    11. Scroll down the list, and left-click Windows Explorer once to select it

    12. Press the 'Restart' button

    That's it, you should now see the Windows version painted on your lovely Windows 10 desktop, from here forward. Enjoy!


    Update AUG 03 2016

    The upgrade to Windows 10 Anniversary Update seems to remove the version number showing on the desktop. Great news, the above article still works just great! See also:

    First, a screenshot of how the bottom right corner of your desktop looks before the upgrade.

    Windows-10-Pro-Build-10586

    Windows 10 Pro
    Build 10586

    Next, a look at the desktop after the successful upgrade, and the above registry entry reset to 1:

    Windows-10-Pro-Build-14393.rs1_release.160715-1616

    Windows 10 Pro
    Build 14393.rs1_release.160715-1616


    See also at TinkerTry