Hardware Laptops

How old is my laptop?

macbook pro on brown wooden table
Old timer? Find out how old your laptop is

When I’m not writing, I run an IT support company and one question I often get asked is “How old is my laptop?” or PC. The answer is not as straightforward as you might think, but there are ways to find out. So, whether you’re thinking of upgrading or simply curious, let’s look at a few different methods for determining how old your laptop might be.

Look for your serial number

If you own an off-the-shelf Windows PC or laptop made by a company such as HP or Lenovo, then it’s likely there is a sticker somewhere on your computer with a serial number printed on it.

If you can’t find a sticker, you can also search for the serial number within Windows. To do so, first open a Run box by holding down the Windows Key and then pressing the R key on your keyboard.

Keyboard with Windows key and R highlighted

When the Run window appears, type cmd into the box.

Windows command prompt

Now hold down both the Ctrl and Shift keys and then press the Enter (or Return) key on your keyboard. To find your serial number, command prompt needs to run with administrator privileges and using this key combination allows it to do so.

Keyboard with Shift, Ctrl and Enter highlighted

A User Account Control box will appear. When it does, click on Yes to allow the command prompt window to open.

Windows user account control

When the command prompt window opens, type wmic bios get serialnumber and press the Enter (or Return) key. The serial number of your computer should now appear below your instruction.

Windows command prompt - serial number

If the serial number doesn’t appear, then the manufacturer hasn’t saved it in the computer’s BIOS. If this is the case, then check out the other methods listed below to find out how old your computer may be. Otherwise, with your serial number in hand, head to the PC maker’s support site and – with a bit of detective work – you should be able to find the purchased or build date of your computer.

Support website date information

To help things along, here are a few links to the UK support sites of some of the major computer companies:

Check your BIOS date

If you’re unable to find a serial number, then the BIOS date may also be a good indicator of the age of your computer. The BIOS is a chip on your motherboard that looks after the computer’s hardware and ensures the smooth booting of the operating system. Unless it’s had an update, the age of your BIOS should also be an approximate date of the motherboard’s manufacture – which will give you a good idea of how old your computer may be.

To check your BIOS date, open a Run box by holding down the Windows Key and then pressing the R key on your keyboard.

Keyboard with Windows and R highlighted

When the Run window appears, type msinfo32 into the box.

msinfo32 in run box

When the System information windows opens, look for BIOS Version/Date in the list on the right-hand panel. The date shown should help determine a rough age for your computer.

system information Bios date

Check your processor’s age

Another option when trying to figure out the age of your computer is to look at your processor. The processor or CPU is the brains of your PC. Knowing which one you own can help work out how old your computer is. Intel and AMD update their processors often, so discovering the launch date of a CPU should get you closer to knowing the age of your machine. It’s not a perfect method, as it’s possible to upgrade desktop computer processors to newer models. However, if you have a laptop or are not aware of any upgrades, then it’s worth a look.

The first step to knowing your CPU’s age is to identify which processor you have. To do this, open a Run box by holding down the Windows Key and then pressing the R key on your keyboard.

Keyboard with Windows and R highlighted

When the Run window appears, type msinfo32 into the box.

Command prompt

When the System Information window appears, check the list in the right-hand panel for Processor to identify the model of your CPU.

Windows system information

You can now search Google for the launch or manufacture date of your CPU. It’s usually quite easy to find by typing in your processor model and tagging date on the end.

Google processor date

The Google search will now hopefully reveal the answer and the date you find should be somewhere close to your computer’s age.

processor age intel website

Check your Mac’s age

Apple make finding the age of a Mac laptop or PC much easier than Windows does! To see how old your system is, simply click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen and select About This Mac. The year the device was released will appear alongside the model number, as shown here:

About This Mac

How long should a computer last?

About the author

Mark Parvin

I have worked with and wrote about computers, video games and consumer tech for more years than I care to admit.
I currently run my own IT support business and write about the wonders of tech whenever I can.

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