How to Check Kernel Version in Linux: A Step-by-Step Guide

Wondering how to check the kernel version in Linux? It’s simpler than you might think! By following a few quick steps, you can easily find out what version of the Linux kernel your system is running on. This is super handy for troubleshooting, updating, or just satisfying your curiosity. Let’s jump right into how you can do this.

Step by Step Tutorial: Checking Kernel Version in Linux

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand why you might want to check your Linux kernel version. The kernel is the core of your operating system, handling all interactions between your computer’s hardware and software. Knowing your kernel version can help you ensure compatibility with certain software and maintain system security.

Step 1: Open the Terminal

The first step is to open your terminal. You can usually find it in your applications menu, or you can use a shortcut like Ctrl+Alt+T.

The terminal is the gateway to your system’s internals, where you can execute all sorts of commands. Think of it like the control room of a spaceship – it’s where you give orders to the computer’s brain!

Step 2: Enter the Kernel Version Command

Once you’ve got your terminal open, type in uname -r and hit enter.

This command is short for “unix name” and the -r flag specifically asks for the kernel release information. It’s a quick and easy way to get the info you need without sifting through tons of data.

After this, you’ll see a string of text that represents your kernel version. It usually includes numbers separated by dots and sometimes additional information after a dash, which can indicate specific customizations or updates to the kernel.

What Happens Next?

After you’ve followed these steps, you’ll have the Linux kernel version displayed right in your terminal. You can now use this information to make decisions about software installations, system updates, or troubleshooting any issues that may be related to the kernel version.

Tips for Checking Kernel Version in Linux

  • Always make sure your system is up to date before checking the kernel version to get the most accurate information.
  • If you’re running a graphical desktop environment, you can often find system information (including the kernel version) in the “About” section of your system settings.
  • Remember that different Linux distributions may use slightly different kernel versions, so don’t be surprised if you see different results on different systems.
  • There are other flags you can use with uname to get more information about your system, like -a for all information or -m for machine hardware name.
  • Keep in mind that having the latest kernel version isn’t always necessary, but it can provide security and performance improvements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Linux kernel?

The Linux kernel is the core part of the Linux operating system. It manages the system’s resources and allows software to communicate with hardware.

Why should I check my Linux kernel version?

Knowing your kernel version can help you with troubleshooting, ensure software compatibility, and maintain security through updates.

Can I update my Linux kernel?

Yes, you can update your Linux kernel. However, it’s usually done through your distribution’s package manager and should be approached with caution to avoid system instability.

What’s the difference between the kernel version and the distribution version?

The distribution version refers to the specific release of your Linux distribution, like Ubuntu 20.04. The kernel version is the version of the core system software – the Linux kernel – that your distribution is using.

Is it safe to share my Linux kernel version information?

Yes, sharing your kernel version information isn’t a security risk. It’s general information that doesn’t expose your system to vulnerabilities.


  1. Open the Terminal
  2. Enter the Kernel Version Command


So there you have it, a straightforward guide to checking your Linux kernel version. Whether you’re a seasoned Linux user or just dipping your toes into the world of open-source operating systems, knowing how to check your kernel version is a useful piece of knowledge to have in your toolkit. Not only does it help with system maintenance and troubleshooting, but it also empowers you to understand a bit more about the inner workings of your computer.

In a world where technology is ever-evolving, staying informed and savvy about your system’s components is always a plus. Plus, learning how to navigate the terminal can open up a whole new realm of possibilities for customization and optimization of your Linux experience. So next time you’re curious about your system’s core, just pop open the terminal and in a couple of quick commands, you’ll have all the info you need.

Remember, Linux is all about freedom and flexibility, and checking the kernel version is just the beginning of what you can do. So go ahead, explore more, tweak your system, and make the most out of your Linux journey. After all, that’s what Linux is all about!