typically there is version information displayed in the lower right hand corner of windows in pre release versions, but there is a quick way to display the desktop version information on your computer by changing a registry key.
windows 7 service pack 1 displays as build 7601
open regedit.exe, navigate to the hkey_current_user\control panel\desktop subkey and double click on paintdesktopversion. change the default 0 to a 1
this only shows up in the lower right hand corner if the wallpaper is not white (the text is always white)
harder to read because there is a lot of white in the lower right hand corner
paintdesktopversion appears to do nothing because the lower right of this wallpaper is white
so what if you created or edited a wallpaper and placed certain information of your own in the lower right hand corner? let’s just say i got a number of internal emails inquiring about the next version of windows a while back (and this friday is april fools day after all…)
from the ces keynote video where steve ballmer and michael angiulo demonstrated the next major version of windows running on system on a chip (soc) architectures (notice the information in the lower right?)
so let’s say you were watching live in january and wrote down the build number and sent it around to coworkers in email as a joke. someone else suggested a dvd with the information written with a sharpie (less work and equally interesting to people i interact with!) have a great week and april fools day on friday!
now i’m going to add the disclaimer. all of my postings but especially this one are provided "as is" with no warranties, and confer no rights.
Thanks for keeping the PaintDesktopVersion key alive and verifying Windows 7 compatibility.
There is a fairly simple method to invert the CSD lettering font from default white to black if you momentarily select white(RGB #FFFFFF) for a background color instead of a wallpaper.
Apply the setting and verify your paintedesktopversion text has inverted black on solid white. The registry key didn't reflect the change and other lighter colors tested today also inverted the text to solid black (RGB #000000)
Return to the desktop personalization menus and reinsert your wallpaper instead of the just recently selected solid white background.
Most likely, the text will remain black against any image including your heavily white architecture pic and has been doing so for me since XP and my uploaded pic was verifies it working on 2012 Server DC edition. ( I was successfully displaying and inverting the info even in 2012's basic mode before installing the experience pack and loading themes service). But it doesn't seem to tatoo onto my installation of Metro.
Refer to the pic for Lego level instructions
Reapplying any saved themes made prior to this change has typically reset the CSD version text back to the white font we just worked over.
I loathe speaking in absolutes about any Windows configuration tip since there are multiple methods to accomplish even the narrowest of tasks.
Maybe someone else can take the time to snapshot the system registry before and after to determine which registry values are getting flipped when the font color gets inverted.