Tutorial :What should I display in my About box?


I've built a small .NET winforms utility for internal use at my company, and as the primary interface is a tab control, I've decided to add a tab for the "about box" instead of a separate form. So, I have some space to fill in my about box.

Thus far I have:

  • the program's icon & name
  • version
  • the author's name (me)
  • the year of creation (2009).

With a fair amount of empty space left over, I thought I might try to add something useful perhaps... but maybe it's unnecessary? Here's what else I've added so far:

  • Operating system version
  • .NET Framework version
  • Current Directory
  • Computer Name
  • User Name

I figure in the event of some odd behavior, this could be useful.

What do you think? Is there some useful information you'd like to have displayed in the about box or should I just keep it nice and simple?


I always recommend putting in someone else's email address.

In all seriousness - anything that you feel will help in both giving valuable information to the user as well as someone who will provide tech support. For example, we would probably identify the Environment the application is running under such as TEST, CERT, or PROD.


Keep it nice and simple. Users might worry about why you need to know the computer name and user name (for example).

If you're expecting problems then have another way of gathering this information and tell your users to use that - it could even automatically send you an e-mail with the information.


I wouldn't start going over the top trying to feature creep an about box, it's just an about box after all. From my experience not a lot of people read it. However, if the information is relevant to the program, adding it in wouldn't hurt.

When using software, the only time I go into the help menu (where an about button is usually located) is when I'm totally unaware of how to accomplish a certain task. If your program is laid out well and basically self-documenting, not many people are going to venture into the help menu.

With that being said though, when I use software from individual developers, I'm usually interested in who worked on it if it is a good piece of software. So if your software is catered to developers (and curious ones like me), feel free to put some nifty information in there as I love reading it.


The first list you gave seems solid. I'd definitely include everything from that list.

As for the second list: I think the .NET framework version and possibly the OS version are useful. Don't bother including the computer name, directory, and username; they don't seem to serve a purpose and thus will probably just cause confusion.

You might also want to include the date the program was last updated. I realize this information is sort of captured in the version number, but having both handy would let users know how often this tool changes.


If you have a website for your application, I'd recommend putting that in. That ways those that are interested in more details, or potentially want to file a bug request, have a quick way to get to your site.

I'm not the biggest fan of an e-mail address, as it could open the door for those with less than honorable intentions. You could easily put a contact form on the website.


The only reason to put more into an About box is if you plan on using it for diagnostics when users call for support.

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