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CFileVersionInfo - Retrieving a File's full Version Information Resource

, 18 Jun 2002
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A class that enables you to easily retrieve a file's version information.
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There are many cases, when version information extracted from a file's version resource could be useful. One example is to test for needed DLL versions. Another one is to simply use the version information from an application to display it in the about-dialog of the application. If your application contains more than one language resources, changing the version number becomes a boring task if you have to change the version label in each about-dialog. Using CFileVersionInfo you could simply read the version dynamically during runtime and insert it into the dialog. So you only will have to change the version resource when the version number of your application has changed.

Using CFileVersionInfo

Using the class CFileVersionInfo is very easy. Simply construct an object, call the Create() method to initialize the object with a file's version information and call the attribute operations to retrieve the required information.

The following short example writes the application's version information to stdout:

CFileVersionInfo  fvi;

// Retrieve version information for this module
if (fvi.Create())
    // Print version information
    << _T("Product: ") <<fvi.GetProductName()
    << _T("\n") << _T("Company: ")
    << fvi.GetCompanyName() << _T("\n")
    << _T("File Version Label: ")
    << fvi.GetFileVersion() << _T("\n")
    << _T("File Version Number: ")
    << fvi.GetFileVersion(3) << _T('.')
    << fvi.GetFileVersion(2) << _T('.')
    << fvi.GetFileVersion(1) << _T('.')
    << fvi.GetFileVersion(0);

CFileVersionInfo - Reference

Most of the methods are self-explanatory. Here are the references for the methods expected parameters:


Initializes the object.


BOOL Create(HMODULE hModule = NULL);
BOOL Create(LPCTSTR lpszFileName);


Module handle of the module, from which version information should be extracted. Specifying NULL creates an object that uses the version information of the module used to create the calling process.
Full path to the file, from which version information should be extracted.

Return Value

Returns TRUE if the version information has been extracted successfully and FALSE otherwise.


Retrieves binary file version.


WORD GetFileVersion(int nIndex) const;


Byte of the file version to return. 0 specifies the least significant and 3 the most significant byte.


Returns the binary product version.


WORD GetProductVersion(int nIndex) const;


Byte of the file version to return. 0 specifies the least significant and 3 the most significant byte.


This should run on Windows 95 or later and Windows NT 3.1 or later.

You will need to link your software with version.lib.

Unicode support

Though I haven't tested it, there is no reason, why this should not work with Unicode.

Implementation Details

The class simply uses the following Windows' "File Installation Library Functions" for retrieving the version information:

  • GetFileVersionInfo()
  • GetFileVersioninfoSize()
  • VerQueryValue

Retrieving the strings of the version information is a little bit tricky. Different from other resource's, where Windows chooses the language that best fits the user's preferences, for the version resource the developer is responsible for choosing the best matching language.

The datablock returned by GetFileVersionInfo() (lpData) contains a list of all language-codepage-combinations included in the datablock. One can receive this list using the following sequence:

LPVOID   lpInfo;
UINT      unInfoLen;
VerQueryValue(lpData, _T("\\"), &lpInfo, &unInfoLen);
VerQueryValue(lpData, _T("\\VarFileInfo\\Translation"), &lpInfo, &unInfoLen);

CFileVersionInfo uses the following tests to get the best matching strings:

  1. Checks if version information is available that matches the user's main and sub language.
  2. Checks if version information is available that matches the user's main language.
  3. Checks if version information marked as "neutral" (LANG_NEUTRAL) is available.
  4. Checks if version information in English language (LANG_ENGLISH) is available.
  5. Uses the first language from the language list.

The first matching language is used. The users's main and sub language are retrieved by using the GetUserDefaultLangID() function.

Revision History

19 Jun 2002 - Initial Revision
19 Jun 2002 - Reformatted and rewrote some sections


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Sven Wiegand
Web Developer
Germany Germany
Sven Wiegand (1976), IT professional living in Berlin (Germany), develops open source software in his free time. His most successfull project is the LaTeX IDE TeXnicCenter which is distributed under the terms of the GNU-GPL and has more than 100,000 users all about the world.
"The picture shows me with my racing bike on the top of the Roque de los Muchachos (2426m) - the highest point of the canarian island La Palma."

Comments and Discussions

QuestionCurrent date in File Version Info [modified] PinmemberVijay Pate8-Feb-12 9:40 
QuestionSemantic Versioning Specification Pinmemberddbug11-Nov-11 20:54 
Interesting proposal on consistent use of version information[^]
( older version:[^] )
GeneralYou are the best Pinmemberturkim2-Oct-10 12:37 
GeneralUNICODE Problem PinmemberAric Green19-Mar-10 5:38 
Generalproblem PinmemberAric Green18-Mar-10 19:10 
GeneralThank you Pinmemberandrewtruckle16-Apr-09 0:39 
GeneralLicense Pinmembermsvenc2-Aug-07 6:50 
AnswerRe: License PinmemberSven Wiegand2-Aug-07 22:26 
GeneralExcellent Pinmemberwaldermort13-Aug-06 13:33 
GeneralA tip for Version.lib Pinmemberfader000313-Jul-06 10:29 
GeneralVisual Studio .Net PinmemberLea Robbo1-Mar-06 23:20 
GeneralFor linking to version.lib...just a tip, and if u get inconsistent dll linakge errors Pinmemberbrrrrrr1-Dec-05 18:36 
GeneralRe: For linking to version.lib...just a tip, and if u get inconsistent dll linakge errors PinmemberPandele Florin29-May-07 4:34 
GeneralRe: For linking to version.lib...just a tip, and if u get inconsistent dll linakge errors Pinmembertypical user19-Feb-09 8:36 
GeneralLINK : warning LNK4089: PinsussLea Rob27-Jul-05 5:46 
GeneralWarning if running from network PinmemberJonathanMerel4-Apr-05 10:27 
GeneralUSEFUL!! PinmemberSamGw4-Feb-05 23:46 
GeneralShared Folder Path PinmemberFawad Asrar Qureshi19-Dec-04 21:55 
Generaluse on VC7 PinmemberKnuddlbaer24-Nov-03 0:24 
GeneralRe: use on VC7 PinmemberRail Jon Rogut15-Jul-04 7:31 
GeneralThanks PinmemberZorglab4-Aug-03 11:13 
GeneralUnresolved external PinmemberAl Newton23-Jan-03 12:24 
GeneralRe: Unresolved external PinmemberSven Wiegand23-Jan-03 22:21 
GeneralThank you.... Pinsussrollasoc29-Aug-02 7:28 
Generalproblem with exe PinsussAnonymous28-Aug-02 8:46 
GeneralRe: problem with exe PinmemberSven Wiegand28-Aug-02 22:24 
GeneralRe: problem with exe PinmemberMindaugas Rupsys20-Oct-06 4:48 
GeneralRe: problem with exe PinmemberMass Nerder16-Nov-06 1:42 
GeneralRe: problem with exe PinmemberMindaugas Rupsys16-Nov-06 9:41 
QuestionAm I missing something? PinmemberMel23-Jun-02 23:48 
AnswerRe: Am I missing something? PinmemberSven Wiegand25-Jun-02 22:50 
QuestionWhy use Create method? PinmemberTom Welch19-Dec-01 10:44 
AnswerRe: Why use Create method? PinmemberSven Wiegand20-Dec-01 0:45 
GeneralBuild date PinmemberHans-Georg Ulrich13-Dec-01 6:27 
GeneralRe: Build date PinmemberBjoern Graf15-Feb-02 9:08 
GeneralRe: Build date PinmemberJamie Hale16-May-02 10:27 

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