How to Check the Windows Version

Let’s say we have to check if our application is running under Windows 8.1 or newer. A “classic” way, often found in legacy code, is to call GetVersion or GetVersionEx.

Using GetVersion

Using GetVersionEx

However, if running under Windows 8.1 the above functions may return FALSE.
Moreover, compiling in Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 or newer, we can get warnings or even errors if SDL checks compiler option (/sdl) is set.

That’s because with the release of Windows 8.1, the behavior of the GetVersion and GetVersionEx has changed. Additionally, the MSDN documentation says that GetVersion and GetVersionEx may be altered or unavailable for releases after Windows 8.1. Instead, we still can use VerifyVersionInfo.

Using VerifyVersionInfo

Much easier and recommended in MSDN documentation, is to use Version Helper functions defined by VersionHelpers.h, which is included in the Windows 8.1 SDK. In our case we can simply call IsWindows8Point1OrGreater.

Using Version Helper functions


  • We can still use the deprecated GetVersion and GetVersionEx returning correct version under Windows 8.1 by setting Windows 8.1 target in the manifest (see Targeting your application for Windows 8.1 topic in MSDN). However, using Version Helper functions is easier and probably more reliable for the future versions.

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