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I know I can download the Salesforce Data Loader directly from within Salesforce, however, how can I find out what version it is without downloading and installing it? Also, where can I find the release notes for the most recent version of Data Loader?

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You can look at the wiki page on Developerforce. There is a link to the latest User Guide PDF on that page.

I'm not sure where to see a list of version changes in one place such as a changelog. However, you can view the source on GitHub. From there, you can see the release tags and issues.

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Wiki can be found here. Never bothered what version I was running - not sure it really matters....

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While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – Simon Lawrence Mar 25 '14 at 14:06

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