“My computer’s been running for 100 days without a reboot!” “I haven’t reinstalled Windows in five years!” Geeks love to brag about this stuff. Here’s how to find your uptime and installation date on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

“Uptime” is a geeky term that refers to how long a system has been “up” and running without a shut down or restart. It’s a bigger deal on servers than typical desktops.

Windows — Uptime

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Your Windows system’s uptime is displayed in the Task Manager. Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager or press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to open it.

On Windows 8, click the Performance tab and look under “Up time” at the bottom of the window.

On Windows 7 or Vista, you’ll also find this information on then Performance tab — look for “Up time” under System.

Windows — Installation Date

You can find the date you installed Windows with the systeminfo command. First, open the Command Prompt — press Windows Key + R, type cmd into the Run dialog, and press Enter. Type the following command into the Command Prompt window and press Enter (note that you must type Original with the capital letter on older versions of Windows).

systeminfo | find /i “Original”

If you are using Windows 7 or Vista you might need to use this line instead:

systeminfo | find “Original”

Linux — Uptime

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Many Linux utilities display your uptime, from the “top” command to graphical system information utilities.

There’s also a dedicated uptime command to display this information. To see your uptime on Linux, open a terminal window, type the following command, and press Enter:


Linux — Installation Date

There’s no one standard way to see when you installed your Linux system. What you want to do is find a file that hasn’t been modified since you installed Linux and see when it was created.

For example, Ubuntu’s installer creates log files at /var/log/installer when you install it. You can check when this directory was created to see when the Ubuntu system was installed. To do this, open a terminal window and run the following command:

ls -ld /var/log/installer

The time and date the folder was created is when you installed your Linux system.

You might also try looking at the /lost+found folder, which is generally created when you install Linux and set up your drive. This should work on other Linux distributions, too:

ls -ld /lost+found

Mac OS X — Uptime

Your Mac system displays its uptime in the System Information window. Click the Apple menu icon on the bar at the top of your screen, hold down the Option key, and click System Information. Scroll down in the left pane, select Software, and look for “Time since boot” to see your Mac’s uptime.

You can also use the uptime command on a Mac, too. Press Command + Space, type Terminal, and press Enter to open a terminal window. Run the uptime command.

Mac OS X — Installation Date

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You should be able to find when your Mac OS X system was installed from its install.log file. First, open the Console application. Press Command + Space, type Console, and press Enter to open it. Expand the /var/log folder in the sidebar, scroll down, and click install.log in the list. Scroll up to the top of the install.log file and look at the oldest date there.

If you’ve been using your Mac for a while, there may be archived install.log files with the names install.log.0.gz, install.log.1.gz, and so on. Open the oldest one, which is the one that has the highest number in its name.

This information is interesting, especially when you compare it with other people’s computers. There’s not much practical to be done with this information, of course — it’s mostly for bragging rights.

Image Credit: Trevor Manternach on Flickr

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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