Not sure of hold old your computer/laptop is? In this post, we’ve highlighted a handful of different methods that you can use to tell hold old your computer is.
Whether you’re wondering how old your computer/laptop is because it is running slowly and you think it might be time for an upgrade, or you want to check if your system is still under warranty, there are a few easy ways to tell how old your system is.
In this guide, we’ve outlined four different ways that you can tell how old your computer is.
1. Check Your Computer or Laptop’s Serial Number (If Available)
If you bought a custom PC or a pre-built system from a company like Dell or HP, or you have a laptop, the chances are that there is a sticker somewhere on your computer that has a serial number on it. On a desktop computer, the serial number will likely be found on the back of the computer. For a laptop, the serial number will likely be found on the underside of the chassis.
One you’ve found your system’s serial number, simply type it into Google and the manufacturer’s website should show up and they should have information about your computer—including an approximate manufacturing date.
2. Check Your BIOS Version via Command Prompt: systeminfo.exe
Running the systeminfo.exe commmand prompt will pull up a bunch of information on your computer and that can be used to help estimate how old your system is.
This prompt will also tell you the ‘Original Install Date’ of Windows, but this date can be misleading since Windows resets the install date listed every time there is a big Windows update released. For instance, I know that my computer was build in December of 2017, however, the ‘Original Install Date’ in the systeminfo.exe prompt shows ‘8/13/2019’.
So, the better way to check via systeminfo.exe is to look at the ‘BIOS Version’ listed. For mine, it says American Megatrends Inc. 0408, 8/31/2017. That is pretty close to the date that I built my computer and is close enough to give a good idea of how old the computer is.
Here’s the step-by-step process to pulling up your system’s info via command prompt:
- In the Windows search box in the taskbar, type cmd and hit enter.
- Once the Command Prompt window has opened, type systeminfo.exe and hit enter.
- Scroll down until you see ‘BIOSVersion:”
- Check the date listed
If you have updated your BIOS since you have purchased your computer, though, that might not give an accurate date. And, if you bought your computer used, there’s no guarantee that the BIOS was not updated by the previous owner. So, even after you check the date that is displayed after ‘BIOS Version’ it is a good idea to cross-check the date with some of the other methods listed here.
3. Check Your CPU’s Release Date
Another way that can give you a rough estimate of how old your computer is is to check what CPU you have and then see when that CPU was first manufactured.
This method won’t give you a super accurate date of how old your computer is. New CPUs come out every year or so, but some computer manufacturers do use older generation processors in their budget-oriented systems and there is the possibility that the system you bought sat on a shelf (or—if you bought it online—in stock) for any given amount of time.
But, generally, checking your CPUs original release date can at least give you a ballpark range of how old your computer is—especially if you cross-check it with the methods listed in this guide.
Here’s how to check your CPUs original release date:
- In the Windows search box in the taskbar, type sysinfo and hit enter.
- Your CPU will be listed next to ‘Processor’
- Take your processor name and search for it in Google
- Click on the manufacturer’s website (either Intel or AMD)
- Somewhere on that page, there should be an initial release date of your processor
For my processor (Intel Core i7-8700K), Intel lists an original release date of Q4’17, which falls right in line with when I built my computer.
Again, this method isn’t perfect, but it can help you narrow down hold old your system is.
Also Read: When Should you Upgrade your CPU?
4. Check the ‘Date modified’ Dates of the Folders in Your (C:) Drive
Another way that you can use to help you tell how old your computer or laptop is, is to check the ‘Date modified’ dates of the folders in your computer’s (C:) drive.
This is another method that isn’t full-proof and it is possible that you will see items in your (C:) drive that are actually older than what your computer is. But, again, this can be a good method to cross-check the information you’ve found using the methods listed above.
Here’s how to check you (C:) drive’s folders:
- In the Windows search box in the taskbard, type file explore and hit enter.
- In the File Explorer on the left-hand sidem click on ‘This PC’
- Then, double-click on ‘Local Disk (C:)’
- Check the ‘Date modified’ dates listed after the folders
- You can also hit the ‘Date modified’ tab twice to sort by the oldest items
For me, the folder for my processor (Intel) lists a date of 12/19/2017, and there is a text file called ‘audio’ that lists the same date. If I go into the ‘Windows’ folder and sort by the oldest items, the oldest folder there has a date of 12/19/2017.
However, in the main (C:) drive, there is an item ‘msdia80.dll’ (it’s a part of the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package and is a necessary file) that has a ‘Date modified’ date of 12/1/2006. Obviously, I know my computer isn’t that old. So, beware of taking the oldest file in your (C:) drive and assuming that was the date your system was manufactured.
Ultimately, finding out how old your computer is can be as simple as checking the serial code of the system, punching it into Google, and seeing approximately when it was manufactured. Or, it can be as difficult as using the other three methods listed above and cross-checking them to get a general idea of when your system was built.