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Which Version of Windows Mobile is Running On My Handheld?

 

NOTE: This article refers only to Windows Mobile devices with touchscreens.

From Pocket PC 2000 to Windows Mobile 2003 SE to the upcoming Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has created a maze of mobile Windows operating system versions and names.  Many third-party software titles require users to know precisely what version of the Windows Mobile OS is running on their handheld (or the Pocket PC OS if your handheld was released around 2001 or 2002) to ensure that the right version of the software is chosen.

Here you can find information you can use to easily identify the operating system installed on your touchscreen handheld.

 

Method 1: Visual Identification

Don't like numbers or version builds?  Don't sweat it.  One of the easiest ways to identify the mobile operating system running on your touchscreen Windows Mobile handheld is to take a look at the Today Screen (the main screen that appears when you first power on your device). The background wallpaper does vary from device to device, but the overall features of the Today Screen remain the same between devices running the same version:

Pocket PC 2000 OS Today Screen
 
Pocket PC 2002 OS Today Screen
Pocket PC 2000 OS
Pocket PC 2002 OS
(2000-2001)
 
(2001-2003)

 

 

Windows Mobile 2003 OS Today Screen
 
Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition (SE) OS Today Screen
Windows Mobile 2003 OS
Windows Mobile 2003 SE OS
(2003-2004)
 
(2004-2005)

 

 

Windows Mobile 5 OS Today Screen
 
Windows Mobile 6 OS Today Screen
Windows Mobile 5 OS
Windows Mobile 6 & 6.1 OS
(2005-2007)
 
(2007-2009)

 

 

Windows Mobile 6.5 OS Today Screen
 
Windows Phone 7 Home Screen
Windows Mobile 6.5 OS
Windows Phone 7 OS
(late 2009-2010)
 
(late 2010 -2012)

 

Method 2: Version Number Translation

The version number listed in the Pocket PC and Windows Mobile operating systems' About utility aren't as straightforward as "Windows Mobile 5" or "Pocket PC 2002" - they're long version numbers which are confusing to casual and seasoned users alike.  The chart below will help you translate the version numbers into the different versions of the software:

Version Number
OS Version
   
3.0.9348
Pocket PC 2000
 
3.0.11171
Pocket PC 2002
 
4.20.xxxx
Windows Mobile 2003
 
4.21.xxxx
Windows Mobile 2003 SE
 
5.1.xxxx
Windows Mobile 5
 
5.2.xxxx
Windows Mobile 6

 

To find the number associated with the version of Windows Mobile running on your Pocket PC or touchscreen Smartphone, tap Start > Settings > System (Tab) > About.  The screen you see in the About utility will look generally the same regardless of the version you're running, but the Version line of data is most important:

The Windows Mobile "About" Utility Screen

 

Using the chart above, you can see that the software version shown, 4.20.1081, is Windows Mobile 2003.

 

Final Thoughts

The information provided above is for Windows Mobile Pocket PCs (PDAs) and Windows Mobile Smartphones with touchscreens.  Non-touchscreen Windows Mobile Smartphones use a different version scheme.

 

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