How-To Geek

Stupid Geek Tricks: How to Display the Windows Version on the Desktop

Have you ever noticed during all the beta releases of Windows, there’s always a Windows version on the desktop in the lower right-hand corner? Here’s how that “feature” is enabled or disabled.

Obviously this isn’t terribly useful, which is exactly what makes it a Stupid Geek Trick. Either way, it’s a good learning experience to better understand how your OS works.

Adding the Windows Version to the Desktop

The trick is really simple, you just have to edit a key in the registry and you are done. Let’s start by opening the “Start Menu”, type “regedit” then hit Enter.


When the Registry window open,  from the left pane, navigate to this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Make sure you select “Desktop” and not the subfolders in it, then on the right-hand side, search for “PaintDesktopVersion” and double-click it.

Registry Key

A dialog will pop-up, change the “Value Data” field to 1.

Registry Key Value

Now restart and you’ll see your Windows version printed on the desktop. It’s pointless but interesting.

Final Product

If you want to remove the watermark, just change the “Value Data” field back to 0 for disabled.

Omar Hafiz is a geeky Linux user who loves customizing Ubuntu to fit his personal style. Whether it's the login screen or his Gnome panels, he's got them tweaked to perfection.

  • Published 04/11/11

Comments (16)

  1. Daryl

    I read this and immediately thought: “Neat!”. My second thought was one of realisation that I am therefore a geek :)

  2. LH

    I tried that a week ago. For some reason, it doesn’t work on my Vista Home Premium 32bit.
    It should do. Can’t figure it out.

  3. JCMOtech

    Is it possible to display ‘other’ system info using similiar registry entries?

  4. Varun

    I have the same quustion as JCMOtech

  5. Varun

    I have the same question as JCMOtech

  6. RossMcD

    Take a look at BGInfo – simple way to put configurable system info on your desktop

  7. Ian R

    What does the build number mean or represent?

  8. Annie M.

    I must be a real DUMB Geek because when I click open start menu, there is NO PLACE to type “regedit”? What am I missing? I clicked on “Start”. Is that correct?

    H E L P !!!

  9. vistamike

    @Annie M. Should be a search box at the bottom of the start menu. Or try the windows key + R. that should open the run box

  10. jag

    Looks good on my Windows XP SP2.

  11. hariks

    @JCMOtech @Varun

    Try Rainmeter or Conky in Ubuntu/Linux

  12. zhu ruiyin

    Please try again LH. I tried that on both my Windows Vista Home Premium 32bitand Windows 7 Home Premium 32bits machines and they both work as instructed.

  13. LH

    zhu ruiyin Hi. I have a feeling, that I disabled that in HKLM awhile ago, when I was removing such from when I was using an RC version. That would overwrite the HKCU option. I just can’t remember. It was a while ago.

  14. Stephen Friend

    Annie M.
    To find box to type in “regedit” open Start Menu then click on run to type “regedit”, omitted in instructions unless Windows 7 is different to XP.

    must be a real DUMB Geek because when I click open start menu, there is NO PLACE to type “regedit”? What am I missing? I clicked on “Start”. Is that correct?

  15. LH

    vistamike already answered that. Press the Win + R keys.

  16. Kristof Mattei

    reg add “HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop” /v PaintDesktopVersion /t REG_DWORD /d 1

    For the commandline users :)

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