How Old Is My Computer?
Knowing the manufacturing date of a PC or Mac is useful to keep better track of the state of your system, allowing you to make better decisions related to updating or changing your system. Additionally, should you decide to sell your computer, knowing how old it is will certainly be a big plus.
As expected, there are lots of differences between the methods to determine the age of a PC and a Mac. In addition, some laptops that run Windows also require you to use special methods to determine their age. To help you determine how old your computer is, we’re going to look into all of these methods.
Finding Out When Your PC Was Manufactured
To find out when your PC was manufactured, you need to find the program called “System Information.” The easiest way to do this is by going to the Start menu and typing its name in the search box. In Windows 10, the search box will appear as soon as you start typing with the Start menu open.
When you start this program, you’ll notice that “System Summary,” one of the tabs that can be seen in the left–side pane of the program, is already selected. Under “System Summary,” you’re looking for an item that says “BIOS Version/Date.” That date is the BIOS’ manufacturing date.
Unless you’ve done something that could have changed this date, e.g. updated your BIOS, this is certainly the date your laptop has been manufactured on. Remember, this does not always equal the date you got your computer but can be helpful if the manufacturing date is the one you need.
Windows Install Date
If you’re looking for the date on which you’ve installed your current version of Windows, you can use the Command Prompt:
- Open the Command Prompt by searching it from the Start menu, or just press Win + R to open the “Run” app, type “cmd,” and then press the “Enter” on your keyboard.
- Inside the Command Prompt, no matter if you’ve run it as administrator or not, type “systeminfo.exe” and hit Enter.
- Look for the “Original Install Date.” It shows how long Windows has been installed for.
Check the Laptop’s Serial Number
Laptops have a solution of their own as well. You can always check the serial number that’s usually located on the back of the laptop. Simply lift your laptop, turn it around, and look for this number.
Once you’ve found the serial number, you can either search the internet for additional info or, if that fails, call your computer’s manufacturer and ask them to give you the manufacturing date based on the serial number.
See the Creation Date of System Folders
Show Hidden Files and Folders
Whichever version of Windows you’re using, you could try checking the creation date of certain important Windows folders. Before doing this, you do need to enable viewing hidden files and folders. Here’s how:
- If you’re using Windows 10, enter the File Explorer. You can go to the “View” tab and check “Hidden items” if it wasn’t checked previously.
Note: Another way of doing this that works on all current Windows versions (7/8/8.1/10) is by finding the Folder Options setting (File Explorer Options in Windows 10). It’s located in the Control Panel, so you can go there, or you can just search for Folder Options directly from the Start menu.
- Inside Folder (or File Explorer) Options, click the “View” tab.
- There should be an option labeled “Hidden files and folders” with two radio buttons below. Select “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” if it wasn’t selected already.
Heading to the Properties
Having enabled the display of hidden files and folders, you can check the creation date of a hidden folder. Here’s what you should do:
- Go to the File (or Windows) Explorer and find the partition that your Windows OS is installed on. That’s usually drive (or Local Disk) C.
- While inside “Local Disk (C:),” see if you have a folder named “System Volume Information.” If you do, right-click on it and click “Properties.”
- In the “Properties” window, the creation date should be clearly visible.
If there’s no “System Volume Information” folder in here, try doing the same with your “Windows” folder. This way doesn’t even require access to hidden files, which is very good for non-advanced users. Keep in mind that you should never delete any system files.
Learning More About Your Mac
System Report and System Information
If you have a Mac, there’s a way to see which model you’re running and find out more about the manufacturing date. To access it, click the Apple button that’s located in the top-left corner. A dropdown menu should appear. From there, choose “About This Mac.”
By clicking the “System Report…” button inside of this window, you’ll be taken to the “System Information” window that reveals even more info about your Mac device. To open “System Information”, you can also press and hold the “Option” key, click on the Apple button, and then choose “System Information.”
If your Mac is not on and you’re not near it, try finding additional info on the device’s packaging, or take a look at the device itself outside of your operating system. Logging into https://appleid.apple.com/ is also an option, as this site lets you check the “Devices” section. This is where your Apple computer should be, which further lets you check its serial number.
Remembering the Date
There are lots of ways to determine the date when your computer has been manufactured, or at least when your operating system was installed. However, keep in mind that the Windows methods may sometimes be inaccurate, especially on computers running Windows 10 due to the OS updates. Still, these are solid ways to find the approximate date, at least. It’s very hard to determine when you’ve bought your computer, unless you wrote the exact date down or have kept the receipt.
Did these methods help you find out when your computer was manufactured or at least when your operating system was installed? Is there some other method you would mention as especially helpful or accurate? Let us know in the comments below.