Windows 10 is Windows 10, right? Well, no -- not at all.
To see what version of Windows 10 you're using, go down to the Cortana search box (to the right of the Start icon), type the following:
Then press Enter. You see the About Windows box for your machine.
Most Windows 10 users (who aren't connected to a corporate domain) are running the version of the latest Windows 10 build shown on the official Windows 10 update history page.
When I took the screenshot below in early November 2016, the latest Win10 was version 1607 build 14393.351, which happens to match the version and build number in my About Windows box; thus, my machine is up to date.
The About Windows box also tells you if you're running Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise or Education edition. The latter two editions are only available in multiple-installation packs.
If you scroll down the Win10 Update History page, you can see that Win10, to date, has been released in three versions:
- The initial version, commonly called 1507 or 10240 (although it doesn't have an official name), released July 2015
- The Fall Update, version 1511, released November 2015
- The Anniversary Update, version 1607, released August 2016
The Update History page isn't complete. Microsoft didn't start publishing update information until February 2016. There have also been some other cumulative updates -- most recently KB 3197356 -- which, for reasons unclear, don't appear on the list.
You can see full details about which builds were released, when, with a detailed changelog for which machines (including beta test builds!) on the ChangeWindows.org site. If you really want to dig into the details on versions, builds, release rings and the like, check out my Sept. 16 article, "Which way with Windows? Here are your options."
Poster Kenney on AskWoody.com has a good question:
Ver. 1507, Ver. 1511, Ver. 1607, and the upcoming Ver. 1703. These are all brand new Windows 10. They are not like taking the first version and rolling in the new features like updates. It's like if you go to the store and getting 4 shrink wrap boxes of Win 10. Am I in the ballpark?
That's close, but not exactly right. Each version is like a completely new incarnation of Windows 10, and as you say, there's a distinct hop from version to version. If you get a new machine with Win10 installed, the first time you run Windows Update, you'll be moved to the latest version and build of Win10 -- that's the version/build you can see on the Update History page. If you want to use an earlier version of Win10 (and aren't connected to a corporate domain), you have to block forced automatic updates and move forward manually.
Unfortunately, the About Windows box doesn't tell you for sure if you're running the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version of Windows 10. If you want to know the "bittedness" of your machine, you need to dig deeper. Click Start, then the Settings wheel. Choose System, then on the left choose About. You see the full details in the screenshot.
Jason Fitzpatrick at How-To Geek has a thorough explanation of the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 10. Chris Hoffman explains how to upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit, should you feel so inclined.
Up next: A tip about blocking Win10 updates.
A blog within a blog, Woody's Win10Tips focus on useful techniques and tools. They're in the usual "Woody" style -- to the point, no bull, no marketing fluff. They (intentionally!) aren't long enough to discuss all of the nuances, but they point in the right direction. Here's the first installment. There's a full list of tips on the AskWoody.com site. Looking for a tip or tool? Have a tip about a tip? Email me: Win10Tips@AskWoody.com. Like what you see? Pick up a copy of my 986-page "Windows 10 All-in-One for Dummies 2nd Edition" at Amazon US or Powell's Bookstore.