Why 7?

  • Comments 85
  • Likes

There's been a lot of lively discussion since I confirmed yesterday that the official name for the next version of the Window client operating system will be "Windows 7" about how we got to the number "7."

I'll say up front, that there are many ways to count the releases of Windows and it's been both a trip down memory lane and quite amusing to read all the different theories about how we got to the number "7."

Anyway, the numbering we used is quite simple.  The very first release of Windows was Windows 1.0, the second was Windows 2.0, the third Windows 3.0.

Here's where things get a little more complicated.  Following Windows 3.0 was Windows NT which was code versioned as Windows 3.1. Then came Windows 95, which was code versioned as Windows 4.0.  Then, Windows 98, 98 SE and Windows Millennium each shipped as 4.0.1998, 4.10.2222, and 4.90.3000, respectively. So we're counting all 9x versions as being 4.0.

Windows 2000 code was 5.0 and then we shipped Windows XP as 5.1, even though it was a major release we didn't' want to change code version numbers to maximize application compatibility.

That brings us to Windows Vista, which is 6.0.  So we see Windows 7 as our next logical significant release and 7th in the family of Windows releases.

We learned a lot about using 5.1 for XP and how that helped developers with version checking for API compatibility.  We also had the lesson reinforced when we applied the version number in the Windows Vista code as Windows 6.0-- that changing basic version numbers can cause application compatibility issues. 

So we decided to ship the Windows 7 code as Windows 6.1 - which is what you will see in the actual version of the product in cmd.exe or computer properties.

There's been some fodder about whether using 6.1 in the code is an indicator of the relevance of Windows 7.  It is not.

Windows 7 is a significant and evolutionary advancement of the client operating system.  It is in every way a major effort in design, engineering and innovation.  The only thing to read into the code versioning is that we are absolutely committed to making sure application compatibility is optimized for our customers.

We're just over a week away from showing off Windows 7 at PDC and WinHEC.  I look forward to sharing more soon!


You must be logged in to comment. Sign in or Join Now
  • Okay, I get that Windows 7 is just a name and your decision to have the build number be 6.1 instead of 7.0, but what does not make sense is to release the Windows SDK as "Windows SDK v7.0" when historically the Platform/Windows SDK name has been consistent with the build number.

    Platform SDK v5.0 = Windows 2000 Professional and Server

    Platform SDK v5.1 = Windows XP

    Platform SDK v5.2 = Windows Server 2003

    Windows SDK v6.0 = Windows Vista

    But someone made the SDK version 6.1 for Windows Server 2008 which the OS is still 6.0 and broke from a clear and understandable correlation. So now the Windows SDK is version 7.0 and targets a version 6.1 product, and the next major release is really going to confuse developers when they would be most likely using version 8.0 of an SDK that targets a version 7.0 product.

    Couldn't you just up the version to 6.2 for both the SDK and the platform to be consistent and still avoid the compatibility issues that you are talking about? When doing this, everyone wins and you prevent a big headache down the road...

  • iGAT
    6 Posts

    I wish it was 7.0 too but I see where they got 6.1 from. Should have thought of this before you made the final name Windows 7!

  • iGAT
    6 Posts

    I also feel that this should be 7.0, however I do see where you got 6.1 from. But you should have thought of this before officially naming it Windows 7.

  • Eric
    1 Posts

    Codename it "Nadir"

  • As an IT professional, I am exciting about some of the compatibility issues being addressed from Vista.  I personally have obtained certifications for the Operating System, and I have done extensive research on capatibility issues.  For the most part, all issues can be summarized as old applications or hardware (read drivers).  Time has a method of curing all of these ailments, and Windows 7 will, in the minds of consumers, seperate itself from Vista.  It will be treated as a totally new animal, and the general public will not be aware of its true nature.

    That being said, it is very clear that Windows 7 is not a radical departure from Vista.  In my eyes, these were best demonstrated by Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.  I note these Operating Systems because these are the ones the general consumers know.  Marketing names are not done for the IT professional, but rather they are done for the masses.  Everyone in IT is fully aware that XP is merely Windows 2000 with enhanced media features, application compatibility fixes, and movement from real mode to protected mode for the masses.  Windows 7 is very much the same for Vista.  It's not a major version, and version numbers should be reflective of vast changes in the code base for an Operating System or application product.

    What to do?:  I think this is the perfect time to recognize Windows 7 as a refresh of Vista, just like Server 2003 R2.  I do not believe that an end user should have to pay a full price of an Operating System for a refresh.  At the same time, Microsoft deserves to be paid for the hard work coding, testing, and distributing such a product, and let's not forget patching.  Perhaps now is the time to implement software as a service for End Users.  Instead, make the initial purchase of an Windows a fixed fee, and then people can pay a yearly subscription to turn on additional features.  The base Operating System (think Basic) could be completely free or very affordable. (One hundred US dollars comes to mind).  Then, users could enable the enhancements, kind of like Vista's versioning model, at a cost.  This is a yearly cost however rather than a single-time purchase.  The yearly cost would also enable to home user or business user to upgrade to the next version, just like Software Assurance does.  Think affordability with this one though.  Home Users cannot pay 300.00s for an Operating System every year or two.  It's much easier for them to pay $100.00 for the initial release and $30.00 every year thereafter.  For $50.00 a year, they could get AntiVirus and AntiMalware protection to boot.

    The short, ditch the Windows 7 Moniker unless you are just trying to deviate from the marketing losses associated with Vista.  Take advantage of the software by subscription models and make it easier for Average Joe's (or Joe the Plumber :P ) to obtain and update the Windows Operating System.

    Also, as a sidenote, I would love to see a "Gamers Edition" of the Operating System with all additional security checks removed.  Vista is a huge hit in gaming, just like XP was from Windows 98.  Would it be possible to make a version of the OS that removes all unnecessary software for businesses and just put in the binaries to load the OS, hardware drivers, and GUI?  Vista is amazing for businesses, but not so much for gamers. Even WINE on Linux is starting to outperform Vista.  *evil grin*

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    I think you are trying it on!

    Windows 7 should be 6.1 (given your argurment).

    People are calling it an update to Vista, so you try to make it out to be some sort of different operting system altogether. It's clearly not!!!

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    OK,  so I agree with most of what you lot are saying but is MS going to do the same sort of release as it did with Vista where nobody knew what was really going to be best for them - perhaps (as it's V7) it could market seven versions :

    V7 for kids

    V7 for teenagers

    V7 for adults

    V7 for third agers

    V7 for little companies

    V7 for big companies

    V7 for even bigger companies

    then we would know what to buy !!!

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    Hope Windows7 will be better than Vista. The latter is, obviously, the worst OS by MS.

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    Who cares whether it's called Windows 7 or Windows-X or whatever ?  As long as it runs well, runs quickly without needing a massive investment in new hardware, is 100% stable and is easy to develop good quality apps for, that's all we need.  Of course, being fully back-compatible with as many existing apps as possible would be a BIG plus!

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    Sounds sort of like buying a 2 litre V8 muscle car with a 1.1l engine.

    Makes no sence but will make money if marketed well enough.

    Microsoft may aswell set up a direct debit from our bank accounts.

    Rather than treating this 7 thing like SP3 which those of us who indulged in Vista kind of really deserve and would be free to d/l. MS has decided to charge for this SP3 no doubt marketing was key factor here.

    Linux is sounding better everyday.

    Thinking about it I bought VISTA (not worth the money) if they want me to pay for SP3 they better be wearing a mask.

    SP3 or 7 morally SP3 is right and 7 is robbery

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    "Here's where things get a little more complicated.  Following Windows 3.0 was Windows NT which was code versioned as Windows 3.1. Then came Windows 95, which was code versioned as Windows 4.0.  Then, Windows 98, 98 SE and Windows Millennium each shipped as 4.0.1998, 4.10.2222, and 4.90.3000, respectively. So we're counting all 9x versions as being 4.0."

    err..where is NT4 ? I'd have counted that as a version 4 of windows over 9x/ME anyday of the week.

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    It doesn't matter what it's called by Marketing.

    The internal version number makes a lot of difference to application compatability?

    Then number it whatever makes applications work !

    What's held Vista back is that applications or drivers don't work.

    Loading of outdated drivers that aren't compatible for off-the-shelf hardware is a contributing factor.

    Loading of (old) applications that aren't compatible with Vista is another nail in its coffin.

    BUT for the sake of having applications that will run, and not work properly, and for plugging in hardware with drivers that cause the OS to crash - DO NOT make the mistake of maximising this fake "compatibility" through verison number.

    If that is what is indeed happening, then I expect WIndows 7 to be just as unreliable as Vista on real-world equipment.

    I've lived through many Windows version changes, and Vista is the first one that has really, seriously, been so bad that I refuse to touch it with even someone else's barge pole.

    I have Windows 0.95 OEM somewhrere and Windows 1.0 on floppy (yes, one floppy!) ... those were the days !

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    I already have Windows 6.1 ... on my mobile phone ;-)

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    Which version of Windows 7 should I buy when available?

    No tech jargon - just what should an average consumer do?




    Any programs available for 64-bit?

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    wait a minute.. so "Windows 7" is actually version 6.1

    then what will the next one be? "Windows 8" = 7.0 ?

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    Naming the product 7 and numbering it 6.1 will only be confusing. For the users who are told different numbers, For the programmers who might expect the major number 7 when they request the version.

    For the sake of clearity, if the name contants a simple number, make the version the same.

    Windows NT 7.0 would be nice.

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    ah....got it!

    MS has a crush on the borg....7 of 9....LOL!

    anyhow....another driver nightmare i'm sure, more obsolete hardware, software incompatibles.  by 2010 there will be a new wacko idea...

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    guess i'm older than most.... still have a boxed version of windows 386

    also windows 3.11 for work groups.

    also a floppy demo disk of HP NewWave....the original GUI for windows 3.0....identical to windows 95s GUI.  never went into production under threat from Apple.

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    I have a desk top with the 2000 in it.  no problems.  my laptop has the vista, big pain.  somee times it will just shut off by itself, some time it won't turn on and lately when it is on aol if you leave it for 10 minutes it will display,shut down a program, not enough memory.  I just use it for IM, amazom and aol.am only semi-computer literate. wanted something that would just work, now continually have problems.  Any solutions that I could understand

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    I think its good choice, but I'm not conviced to the numbers of previous versions.

    اعتقد انه اختيارٌ جيّد ؛ لكنني لست مقتنعًا بترقيم الإصدارات السابقة

  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    I personally have always loved the name Seven.

  • McoreD
    2 Posts

    Windows 2000 code was 5.0 and then we shipped Windows XP as 5.1, even though it was a major release we didn't' want to change code version numbers to maximize application compatibility.

    Why we keep saying: to maximize application compatibility?

    If an application is properly coded it shouldn't have such compatibility issues because of a version number.

  • Guys, you are making a mountain from a grain of sand. I agree completely with Brandon LeBlanc and any other consideration about "numbers" is simply hilarious and out of reality.

    Windows 7 will be called "seven". Period.

    The rest, as psychologist say, it's masturbatory obsession.

    And, let me say, until you see Windows Seven in action you are only looplessly speculating on nonsense.

  • nycbesad
    16 Posts

    Anybody else having their hard drive thrash out of control after installing the latest security update or is this just another case of "Vista being Vista"?  Thank God I have an XP laptop I can use, b/c my Vista workstation is done.

  • Zod
    12 Posts

    I really like Windows 7's name! Can't wait for it to be released. I know that this doesn't match with the rest of the discussion but i need you to know one of the worst bugs ever met in Vista and i don't know how to submit to Microsoft. Please Microsoft team,read and help. My problem is that Windows is not working as fast as it should on AMD dual core. Here follows my pc hardware information:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+

    4GB RAM DDR2

    Nforce 6100

    Ati HD 3850

    OS:Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 X64

    The ONLY way i could get Windows to run FAST and fluid how it should be is to keep Windows Media Player opened. Whenever i close it the general laggin' comes back. The same thing happens on another laptop I tried with an AMD Turion 64 on it. This doesn't seem to affect Intel processors. Ah one more thing,the system is completely clean,even if just formatted and with no drivers at all (exept the basic ones installed automatically) it has this problem. I suppose there is a problem with AMD driver which is not updated on Vista unlike on XP. This is really a bad bug,it reminds me of WOW game which runs faster if WMP is open (especially with AMD X2). I need help,otherwise i have to come back on XP (and I don't want to) and wait for Windows 7 :(

  • MapDot
    1 Posts

    I don't know if this is an appropriate place to make a suggestion, but a lot of people have been complaining about the size of the Vista installation, and the WinSxS folder in particular. Ditching backwards compatibility MacOSX-style will only solve the problem temporarily, since new versions of DLLs come out much more frequently than Windows releases.

    I think to alleviate the space issue, it might be possible to use some sort of scaled-down versioning system (like Subversion, but faster and with fewer features) for the compatibility DLL store. Modern versioning systems have diffing algorithms that work well with binary files, and there are a lot of mature libraries out there that will only have bug fixes (i.e. very small changes).

    That way, even the OS's DLLs could be added in multiple versions.

    Main Advantage: the size of the installation might decrease dramatically because there is no need to create a full copy of each DLL.

    Main Disadvantage: The further you go back in time to fetch a DLL, the longer it will take. There won't be a performance hit for fetching the latest version, but fetching previous versions will take some CPU time. because multiple diffs will need to be applied.

  • Darwood
    1 Posts

    Thanks for the informative post but please don't mismatch the code version and the name! Life is confusing enough.

    I reckon that MS is calling it Windows 7 so as to distance it from Vista but the code base hasn't changed enough to warrant uplifting the code number to 7.0 and existing apps are expecting 6.x hence this dichotomy. Microsoft would understandably not want to include the name Vista in this release as to do so would make it vulnerable to Vista prejudice and make it hard to justify charging for what some might view as little more than a service pack.

    Please either come clean and call it Vista Improved (or Vista Reloaded or something, anything) or uplift the code version to 7.0 and we will live with the compatibility issues.

  • Any reasonable person can see that it's not actually the 7th version. How stupid does Microsoft think we are to buy that this is somehow version 7 if the stars align right and we kind of look at the issue sideways?

    Spin and lies. Spin and lies. That's all these forums do.

  • Anything is better than:

    Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1

    I have a copy of the VHS tape that shipped with Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1.  The video had this guy in a cable knit sweater introducing the product.  But, rather than shorten the product name to "Windows NT" as later became common practice, he would say "Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1" in its entirety everytime he referred to the product.

    As the version history went... In my book, the 95/98/98SE/Millenium/Bob track ran itself off a cliff and was only given a version number (and the Windows name) to help sell the product.  

    The true windows version numbers clearly follow the NT codebase (including the OS/2 prequel):

    OS/2 1.x (LAN Manager 2.2), OS/2 2.0, Windows NT 3.1, 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, 2000(5.0), XP (5.1), XP x64 (5.2), Server 2003 (5.2), Vista (6.0), Server 2008 (6.0).

    So, that's how we get to Windows 6.1 (err.. 7)

  • nycbesad
    16 Posts

    They'd never call it Vista SE, b/c it's obvious they want to forget Vista ever happened as soon as possible.  7 will be out next year b/c MS cannnot wait to move on.

  • Windows 7 being based on Vista is just ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, Vista is OK, but not great. As far as naming goes, Windows "7" should really be called "Vista 2.0" or "Vista SE"(like Windows 98 SE) if it is essentially going to be using Vista's code and GUI. I have seen the GUI and it looks like Vista and Office 2007 mixed together with the new "ribbon" toolbar from Office 2007. This is definitely not a major release. It almost sounds like they are trying to be like Mac and use something similar to their naming conventions.

  • While were talking about IE8, it does have one BIG BIG problem, the Favorites Bar which replaced the Links Bar, now lists items added to it at the top of the list, not the bottom as Links did.  While this is fine for those who use drop down menus it just ruins the function for those who use it as a shortcut Toolbar menu.

    At the least, how new items are added should be customizable.

    Please correct this before release :-)

  • From the Photo's; it's just, "Lipstick on a Pig." From the Windows 7 Blog it's just,"Lipstick on a Pig."

    What's in a name? that which we call a rose

         By any other name would smell as sweet;

    by Billy Shakespeare 1594

    Vista and now it appears Windows 7 is just , Steve B's way of saying, I wanted to do this for years but Bill wouldn't let me.  

    Bill, take a page from Apple or should I say a Job from Apple; that is Steve Job's just come back, and take Microsoft in the direction that it should be. Who gives a rats back side what it's named. It's the end result is what I'm interested in and if it's anything like the Beta of IE 8 and Dean, "Have it my Way" Hachamovitch, it's just, "Lipstick on a Pig!"

  • omgbbq
    26 Posts

    RE: Brandon,

    No, the windows name does not need to be tied to the version number. XP and ME are letters, so of course this doesn't reflect a version number. However, when you use a number after the name of the software, do you really think people aren't going to think it's version 7.0?

    Also, no, it is not the seventh release of Windows. I've tried to think of it in many ways since the last blog post, and I couldn't figure it out. The way you guys explain it in this blog post makes it seem like you were looking for a way to come up with the number 7.

    It's too bad it seems whenever someone from marketing makes up their mind, then that's that, no matter how confusing it may turn out to be.

  • I personally don't care about what its called to me its just anohter new windows OS. Now I hope all of the fools out there who said they were waiting to upgrade to this version of windows don't start saying they are going to wait for the next version of windows to come out in a few years. Because if they are then they are already behind the 8 ball of OS's. Windows 7 to me is just vista on steroids. I can't wait for it to come out so I can play with it. As for Vista I've had no problems with it. as for people saying they are having problems check your equipment make sure your wireless mouse has fresh batteries, your vidoe cards are up to standard. also make sure your not using old printer drivers. No excuse for ou now to complain because all of the drivers are out there unless you have a old old peice of equipment. Then its time for you to start doing some updating if not don't complain and stick with XP or any other older windows OS you have, but, don't complain to the rest of us about your old equipment not being up to snuff. If your going to complain go buy a over priced Apple machine or get a Linux machine, but leave us true blue Vista users alone we are tired of hearing you whine. Windows 7 bring it on!

  • Forget about arguing fancy name for upcoming OS.

    Just call it Microsoft New Operating System Alpha.

    Let starting all over again to design a new OS.

    By the way , I am using Vista now, I have just lost my mouse cursor, it is jumping to a corner

  • Well, basically the new version of Windows will be 6.1. but called 7, all good marketing really.

    However as we all know, Seven is percieved by many to be a lucky number and so naming it Windows 7 should result in more sales.

    Just like Office 2009 will not be Office 13, because of Triskaidekaphobia it would not sell that well if it was called that.

    All good.

  • rnkbb
    1 Posts

    Wow, that's ridiculous, even wikipedia knows better!

    NT branch was 3.1, 3.5(!), 3.51, 4.0, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 6.0 (even more if you count by marketing name). Windows7 is going to be 6.1 - so it is not the 7th in any case.

    I like Windows7 name, but the "explanation" is just a marketing jibbery joo ;-)

  • (Quote from Drew:

    Since the codebase is NT the numbering really should be from:

    3+Share 1

    LAN Manager 2.0 2.2

    NT 3.1, 3.51, 4 (NT with 9x shell)

    2000 and XP 5.0, 5.1

    Vista and 2008 6.0 and 6.1


    Finally someone draws out the right lineage for the NT Kernel based OS. The Win9x OS line died when Microsoft discontinued support for Windows ME. Although the from Windows 2000 on the OS has a Windows 9x look, feel, multimedia capabilities and other API for more than just buisness apps it uses an NT kernel for stability. It was a smart move for M$ but you cannot compare Vista or Windows 7 to Win95.

  • Drew
    1 Posts

    Since the codebase is NT the numbering really should be from:

    3+Share 1

    LAN Manager 2.0 2.2

    NT 3.1, 3.51, 4 (NT with 9x shell)

    2000 and XP 5.0, 5.1

    Vista and 2008 6.0 and 6.1

  • bday
    3 Posts

    Just make the version 7 so it matches for crying out loud and shut everyone up. Please. :) Personally I'm sick of having to learn silly numbers which don't really make sense for WMI queries and filtering. Ok so it is Windows 7, just make it v7.0 and SP1 can be 7.1 and SP2 can be 7.2... and so on and so on.

  • I heard that Windows 7 comes up without any changes in GUI leaving it with Vista user interface. If that is true, I'm the first one in the line to feel bad. Could some one clarify if that is true or it's just for the time being Windows 7 uses Vista look?

  • I am looking forward to windows 7, it sounds great!


  • terranc
    1 Posts

    I suggest that Microsoft should further divide the application runtime platform and the OS itself, especially when it comes to the application compatibility.

    .NET framework is a good start. As a developer, we only concern the behavior of the API. If my application runs on .NET Framework 3.5, we should not care about whether the underlaying OS is Windows 7 or Windows Vista (or Windows XP or even it is other OS with Mono 2.0 installed).

    In that way, it is not necessary to use the version number to fool the application that it is compatible with the OS.

    Certainly there are still tons of applications running on Win32 that care about the version no. But Microsoft should provide a compatibility container to host them (by fooling them with a previous OS version of choices so as to allow them to run properly).

    But other than that, Windows 7 should report a version no. of 7.0 to further avoid confusion.

    The version number (both the OS and the application runtime environment) should reflect the level of changes in the area. If the OS (so as the application runtime environment) is changed significantly, the major version no. should increase.

    It will lose its meaning if it is used merely to maintain the compatibility.

    In addition, the compatibility issues (both the applications and device drivers) should be isolated. If Windows 7 should use the new Windows Driver Model, we should expect that the existing drivers for Windows Vista will continue to work in Windows 7 regardless the OS version no.

    Unless Windows 7 is merely Windows Vista SP2, it shouldn't bear the 6.1 version label.

    We don't want to see Windows 8 the version 6.2 and Windows 9 the version 6.3 and then Windows 10 the version 7.0. What a mess.

    It is definitely a poor convention to go for.

  • Remember :

    Windows Server 2000 -Built on NT Technology..

    Windows Server 2003 -Built on Windows 2000 Technology..

    Windows 7 -Built on Windows Vista technology

    That means we will be facing the ulgy Vista again

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    The real problem will be when the real NT 7.0 (whatever it maybe named) comes and again will be perceived badly for causing confusion with Windows 7.

  • Hello my name is Josh I am new to this blog. I just had to comment on the “Windows 7” name. I feel that regardless of version numbers what MS have done is used the so called “main” releases since “95”.

    Why you ask, because most consumers only know from 95 and the “main” versions onward.

    So let us take a look.



    2000 (Confusing name took much like “Me”)

    Me (Confusing name took much like “2000”)

    Xp (Let us be honest it wasn’t even called Xp it was called “Windows Experience” many people I speak to do not even know this)



    Using my list “Windows 7” is the 7th version yes this is only going from 95 and passing over NT but look at it this way the average Windows user (no one on this blog) will only know these versions so it will make sense to them.

    As for version numbers they can go to hell they don’t matter it is a number. I will say this looking back at the names and version numbers used starting with windows 1.0 Microsoft could have put more thought into it at the time but hey Windows 7 is a strong lucky name it in the west so works for me.

    PS: I doubt however there will be a Windows 8, 9 etc and we all ready know there will be no windows 13 as MS skipped this as a codename for the next office.

  • @PatriotB for:

    "I doubt this very much.  XP was set of evolutionary improvements over 2000 and so the version number of 5.1 was very fitting and very deserving.  Certain components (namely, shell & common controls) DID do their own thing and bump up to V6 with XP (causing additional issues when they were still V6 in Vista), but overall the OS would never have been considered worthy of NT 6.0 by anybody."

    My Comments:

    XP is actually just a small update to the windows 2000. The major part is the shell which is actually use the desktop theme, and there is some tune on the kernel for better stability.

    While from NT 4 to Windows 2k, and XP to Vista, there is an overhaul work on the kernel.

    For development of Operating System, the most important is kernel code. While the UI is the shell part is something like 'gimmick' for the OS programmer

  • Want to HIGHLIGHT this:

    Here's where things get a little more complicated.  Following Windows 3.0 was Windows NT which was code versioned as Windows 3.1. Then came Windows 95, which was code versioned as Windows 4.0.  Then, Windows 98, 98 SE and Windows Millennium each shipped as 4.0.1998, 4.10.2222, and 4.90.3000, respectively. So we're counting all 9x versions as being 4.0.

    Do not know if it about to be simplified, but that informations is inaccurate, and I amazed that statement is come from Corporate Vice President, Windows Product Management, Microsoft Corp.

    I'm using windows since it is version 3, was seen windows version 2 on friend, but never play with it at all.

    Firstly, before Windows 2000, Microsoft have 2 totally different OS, (should be different kernel)

    On first Branch there are Windows 2, Windows 3, Windows 3.1.1 (Windows for WorkGroup), Windows 95, 98, 98SE, and the Last is ME

    Second Branch there is NT 3.51 ( I do not know any previous version), NT 4 (3 variance: Standard, Enterprise, Terminal Server). This NT 4 is lasted at SP6a, somedate after 2000 (rather forgot about this one).

    The first branch, is more for aesthetic, so was marketed for end user, but lack of stability. On this part, why Microsoft have really bad name on stability OS, too much blue screen.

    The Second branch, is more stable, but less hardware support and lack of something like direct-x.

    It's need years for Microsoft to blend this 2 branch (guessing more than 5 years, as NT was trying to get the windows 95 UI, but still have lack of wide-range hardware support. Windows ME, actually should be version 5 on the first branch, that is why it have code 4.90. but the release already too close to windows 2000, that come from second/NT branch.

    For the rest starting Win 2k, I agree with Mike

  • Brandon though I still believe it is a marketing ploy or tactic, that doesn't mean that it is the sole reason for the name.  I am quite sure other facets of the company had their say.  As far as the name not matching the true version number, Just look at the industry, AMD has been doing this for years, your Athlon 64 X2 4000 is 2.1 GHz.  My Intel core 2 duo E6550 is 2.33GHz (3.1 GHz over clocked :)) ATI and Nvidia have really convoluted their naming schemes lately.  What Microsoft is doing with the name I can take, all I want to see is it an actually an improvement over Vista.  My biggest complaint with Vista is the UI, and again going by the photos,and the Beta or IE 8.  I beleive Microsoft is serving it their way, just like they did in the beta's of Vista. Locking down the UI and giving their customers no choice. Their sort of a polar opposite of Burger King, "Your complaints, don't up set us because we know we know we know better, Have it our way, at Microsoft..."  sort of a little more catchy tune than "Life with out walls." and a lot more truthful, but I could be wrong, I'll know when I get the beta... :)

    "Vita per Moenia"

  • RBLevin
    1 Posts

    This is a twisted connect-the-dots explanation for why the WRONG version number will be returned to apps that query.  Make it 7.0 and make sure lazy ISVs do their homework and update their apps.Or offer a compatibility switch that allows the OS to fool an old app that's doing a version check.  But don't create newspeak.

  • rimete
    1 Posts

    In terms of market and recognition I think that the name Windows 7 is great and in a sense goes back to the roots of Windows and naming/naming convention.

    The revision number in general terms to the public is usually lost and with Windows XP and Vista, that broke ground to more colorful names.

    The time and period might have been right then and it was in a sense the X era (breaking away a little) but with XP - you had OS X and obviously any *niX based OS.

    So it's time to come back around or break away, easy to remember and actually catchy sounding. So in general I have no problems on those grounds.

    My hope and worry is that doesn't fall into future releases that would coincide with the 9.x era...ie: Windows 7 SE.

    With service packs common (NT) I would imagine that it wouldn't and if Windows 8 folowed on a major revison across time that would be in-line.

    At the same time it tells my that at 6.1 it is the same relation as Windows 2000 was to Windows XP in terms what to expect in general as an upgrade.

    Now question and adding some humor to the subject - is the inside joke that 7 is the lucky number?

  • Why not just title it Windows 6.1?

    Its still simple, and you keep the kernel version number, and it matches more what it is going to be in relation to vista.

    From what I have seen, 7 is hardly going to be a major revision.

    And if your determined to use windows 7, but say you cant increase the kernel number to 7 then I must ask: isn't that what the windows compatibility settings are meant to accomplish?  Its really a non issue, considering it would be such an easy obstacle to overcome.

  • The Windows 7 name makes sense to me.

    For one, the name itself is something that can be marketed to the general public.  As a developer and a small business owner I realize that the terminology and names you use as a developer may not be realistic to use when talking to your customers.  You need to provide a name that is easy to remember, sets your product apart and has a nice marketing ring.

    Second, the name make sense if you follow the grouping that Mike outlined.  These groupings tend to be the same mental groups I have lumped the various "versions" of Windows into anyway.

    1 = 1.0

    2 = 2.0

    3 = 3.0

    4 = 9X

    5 = 2000, XP

    6 = Vista

    7 = 7  

    I can also understand the actual OS version for 7 being 6.1 because they are trying to imply that while there are significant changes to the OS that qualify as a Major release there are minimal breaking changes in the API's between Vista and 7.

    So, it seems to me that the name was chosen more for marketing reasons to highlight the fact that this is a significant enhancement in features while the actual OS version was chosen to represent the volume of breaking changes in the API's between Vista and 7.

  • Ceinach
    45 Posts


    You are truely the Dana Perino of Microsoft.


  • Ceinach, Windows 7 is far beyond simply being some "service pack" and there is much more to the release than simply "ribbon bars and touch screens" that make it what we consider a major Windows release. Stay tuned to both PDC and WinHEC in a couple of weeks when we begin to talk about many of the advancements we're making in Windows 7. I'll be covering Windows 7 quite it bit from PDC myself.



  • Ceinach
    45 Posts


    It's hilarious. You are justifying naming something "7" even though behind the scenes even the coders know it's "6.1".

    Brandon, you are terrible at analogies. XP makes sense to be 5.1 because "XP" and "5.1" are completely unrelated.

    In the case of Windows 7 this is not the case. Windows 7 is in actuality Windows 6.1. If I run winmsd and the version comes up "6.1" guess what Brandon? - it's running Windows 6.1...not Windows 7.0.

    marketing trumps logic again I guess. Windows 7 does sound a lot cooler than Windows 6.1, but really this is just a minor release and is in fact a warmed over Vista with yet another service pack, correct? Ribbon bars and touch screens do NOT a major release make.

  • Spc
    1 Posts

    I would like to see return of legacy WDM drivers and DirectSound.

    What i mean by this is if i have a sound blaster live platium and i install Windows XP WDM drivers it should work on windows 7.

    Also i'd like to see more compatibility for older programs with XP/2000 and lower system specs.

    That would make windows good again and users will not have to buy a brand new pc / hardware to use it.

  • Ceinach, as explained above - Windows 7 is called 7 because it is the seventh Windows release as Mike explains. You're saying Windows 7 having a winver of 6.1 doesn't make sense because you are tying the name "Windows 7" with the Windows version number. It doesn't need to be tied together. Windows names don't need to necessarily reflect the Windows version. Windows XP wasn't Windows 5.1 - it was called Windows XP. Does the name Windows XP not make sense because its not tied to the 5.1 version number? There can be *other* reasons for a Windows name instead of simply calling it by its version number - which is the point Mike makes above. And will the average user even care what the version number for Windows 7 is? Do they care now that Windows Vista is 6.0 or that XP is 5.1?

    The naming decision is a result of collaboration across the entire company not just any single group. So it is an incorrect assumption that "marketing still gets to decide things for coders" at Microsoft. The "coders" were very involved in the naming process.

    Thanks to everyone for the comments - keep them coming!

    - Brandon

  • Ceinach
    45 Posts

    Let me get this straight.

    Windows 7 will have a winver response of 6.1?

    That makes no sense Mike. No sense whatsoever. You keep posting blogs trying to explain this, but nothing you have said so far makes any sense other than a complete marketing ploy.

    I guess Marketing still gets to decide things for the coders at Microsoft. What a way to assign priorities.

  • I can't beleive some of the odd comments.

    I can see that the Devs are doing their job because of the driver and software compatability issues involved in Vista that are not so evident here, In Widows 7 everything seems to work or has a builtin work around...I am using hardware and software that would not install in Vista.

    7 is a lucky number...and I am the lucky one that gets to use my hardware that was in a box!

  • Y'all should just call it Windows Vista SP3. Isn't that pretty much exactly what Windows 7 will be? It shares the same kernel and such, so I can't imagine it will be much different from Vista itself.

    Now you call it a major release? How so? Even the numbering above doesn't make complete sense.

    Just admit it - you decided to call it Windows 7 because it a> sounds cool and b> has absolutely no reference to anything Vista.

    Really it's just Vista SP3 no matter what the big brains at Microsoft (who did so amazingly well with Vista in the first place and are helping with this effort too? I can only cringe) want to call it.

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    This is lame. I understand why they are doing it, but it's still lame. There are app compatibility features built into the OS, let folks use those for the few apps that will have issues.

    If you're going to call it Windows 7, then winver should report that. If you can't do that, then just give it some random name like Vista and XP.

    Only Microsoft cab pull off a blog post like this. Incredible! Just when I thought "Windows 7" would simplify things.

  • I still think this is all to confusing and the logic laid out in the blog post doesn't really make sense (By your logic WinXP (a major release) should be Windows 6 and WinVista (a major release) Should be Windows 7) but I think you can rectify it in the future, if you keep the new naming convention... When Windows 8 comes out just make sure it is v8.0. You can artifically skip v7.0.

  • Let's face it the name is for consumers and company bureaucrats who don't IT but write the checks. Microsoft is just distancing this release from Vista. I sincerely hope Microsoft has something up it's sleeve, because if it's like the Beta of IE 8 or the small amount of photo's on the net, it will be nothing more than Vista ME 2.  As our illustrious political leaders love to state, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."  

    "Vita per Moenia"    

  • This is going to get confusing!

    The Windows 7 name is great - nice and simple, and I can see where the numbering comes from.

    As for the Windows 6.1 version number - I can also see the logical sense in this.

    HOWEVER, I think it's going to cause massive issues down the line due to this "product vs. codebase" numbering disparity.  Will Windows 8 The Product (which one assumes may be a big architectural re-write similar to Windows 2000/Vista) be versioned as v7.0?

    I agree with the other comments that calling this code base v6.1 just to compensate for sloppy version-check code is not a good reason for this disparity between product and version naming...

  • Oh, and one other thing... if 6.1 seems to meager, you can always use 6.5.  Plenty of significant products .5 monikers (NT 3.5, IE 5.5, Exchange 5.5, SQL Server 6.5).

  • I've been programming Windows for 13 years and don't know whether to laugh or shake my head when reading this post.  I will say thanks for at least addressing the issue however.

    "Windows 2000 code was 5.0 and then we shipped Windows XP as 5.1, even though it was a major release we didn't' want to change code version numbers to maximize application compatibility."

    I doubt this very much.  XP was set of evolutionary improvements over 2000 and so the version number of 5.1 was very fitting and very deserving.  Certain components (namely, shell & common controls) DID do their own thing and bump up to V6 with XP (causing additional issues when they were still V6 in Vista), but overall the OS would never have been considered worthy of NT 6.0 by anybody.

    Likewise, "7" is a set of evolutionary improvements over Vista and so the version number of 6.1 is very fitting.  From everything that's been revealed thus far about "7" -- unless you guys are holding some major cards up your sleeve, it's NOT going to be major in any of the ways that made NT4, 2000, or Vista major, and is thus not deserving of NT7.0 at all.

    Anyways, if you're now claiming that XP was "major", then it should definitely be included in your list of Windows versions as "6", then Vista would be "7" and "7" would be "8".

    "Windows 7 is a significant and evolutionary advancement of the client operating system.  It is in every way a major effort in design, engineering and innovation."

    I'm sure it is a big effort -- simply the number of end users it will end up having, makes it so.  But then couldn't even service packs be considered major efforts?

    The point is that 7 isn't as major as Vista.  Not as major as 2000.  I guess as a developer, I am biased, in my measure of majorness is in terms of how much has changed/been added in terms of subsystems, APIs, and underlying capabilities.

    "There's been some fodder about whether using 6.1 in the code is an indicator of the relevance of Windows 7.  It is not."

    Of course it's a very relevant release -- it's the minor versions of Windows (3.1, 98, XP) that have been the most successful, because they've built upon the .0 before them but refined the .0's rough edges.  And a version of Windows that builds upon Vista's incredible platform and then fills in the cracks (or in Vista's case by certain people's opinions, chasms) -- is exactly what we need right now.  And it sounds like that's exactly what Windows 7 is.

    The major-minor heartbeat of Windows has worked well for years and to claim that nothing is ever minor is just wrong.  Yes, minor versions of Windows are more major than most any other software product out there, but compared to true major Windows versions, they are minor.

    It makes me wonder, if it were up to you (you being SteveSi and whoever else makes these decisions) -- what *would* qualify as a minor release?  An infinite series of .0's (like Office does) is kinda silly; maybe you should just stick the service pack level in the minor version slot and be done with it?

    "The only thing to read into the code versioning is that we are absolutely committed to making sure application compatibility is optimized for our customers."

    Even bumping the *minor* version number can cause problems -- evidenced by apps that install on XP but not 2003 -- so why not stay at 6.0 forever?  I'm curious for how long this will remain; Java did 1.0-1.5 and then artificially jumped 1.6 to 6.0.  Same thing for Solaris: 2.7 became 7.0.

    Overall, I *am* a fan of using a simple marketing name that reflects the version.  When Longhorn was under development, I was hoping for it to be released simply as Windows 6.0 (the old-school in me wanted it named Windows NT 6.0).  I'm not opposed to "7" if it really truly was an 7.0-worthy release.  But it isn't.  And what happens when the real 7.0 comes along -- will it need to be skipped to avoid the certain confusion?

    My personal opinion is that Steven Sinofsky brought over the "major version only" mentality from Office and 1) scrapped the non-scope-implying codename Vienna and replaced it with "7", leading the public to expect another release, 2) cooler heads prevailed and realized that it isn't major enough to be 7.0 so it became 6.1.  Yet no one at MS wants to admit that in the grand scheme of things, it's a comparatively minor release, so no one's willing to be brave and stick up for calling it Windows 6.1 after all the months of letting the Windows 7 codename float around.  It would seem like backpedaling of sorts, almost an admission that what we need is an improved Vista, whereas with artificially using the number 7 you get to convey a bigger departure from Vista than what really exists.

    Anyway, thanks for the post, and thanks for reading my lengthy comments.

  • People like names to mean something.

    When I first heard of Windows Vista I thought it was a silly name. But once I saw how nice it looked and the glass effect of Aero it made sense to me

    Windows = Something you see through

    Vista = A beautiful view

    I like the name Windows 7, and it made sense to me with Vista being 6 so the next version should be 7...

    Now that line of thinking has been thrown out the window. Perhaps I can convince my self that version 6.1 is really a code for version 6 + 1...

    Eventhough I think it is a bit silly to call it Windows 7 where the 7 isn't referenced anywhere in the code I'm sure everyone will get over it and learn to love it all the same... heck look at Nintendo's 'Wii' everyone hated that name when it came out and now it is the worlds most popular video game console.

  • someone
    156 Posts

    I do not dislike the name Windows 7. Although it is meaningless without being version numbered NT 7.0 it doesn't matter. What matters is the mismatch. No one is liking the mismatch. Please change the version number to NT 7.0. And Windows XP shipped only 1.5 years after Windows 2000, so it's also logical to call it 5.1 although it had several kernel improvements. In case of Windows Vista and Windows 7, it's a gap of 3 years. Please consider changing to NT 7.0. (As an exception, we're ready for the application compatibility issues that may arise out of this version number thing) but prevent the confusion and meaninglessness of the name.

  • I'm still not entirely sure on how the numbers work out, but I like the name anyways :)

  • Thanks for clarifying!

  • Hmm...

    Windows 7

    Mac OS 10.5

    Will new shoppers believe that Mac is "newer"?

  • Orlando
    1 Posts

    I think that not is very important the Name for Windows.

    The most importante is the performace of Windows, code, high quality.

    i'm Developer, so, i want a good OS for create a lot of projects.

  • Bryant
    7 Posts


    It has nothing to do with developers not knowing how to create applications. When the major is incremented, it generally signifies that the OS has a large number of changes to some features relied upon by third party applications.

    This is why most applications look at kernel revision numbers: if a lot of changes are made between one OS and its sequel and the kernel major isn't incremented, the application which looks out for that "flag" might crash when trying to access methods which would have worked in the previous OS.

    If anything, it means the developers are properly doing their jobs.

  • adir1
    9 Posts

    I like simplicity of Windows 7 name.

    However, I hate the complexity of 6.1 versioning. With all due respect to application compatibility, it should be very simple to add an OS feature to "override" version number reported to application if it is known to act up when it sees 7.0, but we need to start teaching developers how to develop, not giving in to their mistakes and numbering entire operating system as 6.1 just because few developers out there are clueless about how to properly check for version compatibility.

  • MacG467
    1 Posts

    You say:

    Following Windows 3.0 was Windows NT which was code versioned as Windows 3.1.

    I'd like an explanation where Windows NT 4.0 comes into play, then.

    And I thought Microsoft was not using version numbers mainly because the public didn't like the idea of using "Windows 14" in the future because it sounds so antiquated, so you went to year numbers.  After that failed ("OMG, you're using Windows 2000?!!?!  That's SO OLD"), MS decided to switch to naming the operating systems.  And now you're going BACK to version numbers?

  • Hey, I was thinking about it and from your previous post, it looks like you’re going for using the aspirations of what Vista has established as a base for the next foreseeable operating systems, right?

    Because of that, deciding to not use a new aspiration-like name makes a lot of sense; plus, using a numbering convention does make things more straightforward and sequential, which is a really good thing. The simplicity factor is really a strong point.

    At the same time, not having the word “Vista” in there kind of seems like a disconnection of the “sub-brand” of Windows if you get what I mean. So, what I was thinking is:

    -brand (Windows)

    -sub-brand (Vista)

    -specific iteration name

    How about linking it into the idea of a vista and focus each time on specific ideas of vistas like “Sunset” or “Island”? So, for example, one after the other you could release:

    Windows Vista: Sunset

    Windows Vista: Mountain Range

    Windows Vista: Ocean Verge

    Windows Vista: Forest

    That way you have the umbrella of Vista, and then you can keep that base idea while evolving a distinct branch-off. You could have colour and themes and stuff relating to a specific “vista” on the packaging, the default UI, the marketing campaign and such like.

    Probably it’d be too late to change it now anyways, but just I thought it might be some good feedback for you guys.

    Keep up the good work : )

  • Bryant
    7 Posts

    Updated accordingly. Sorry for the hassle, Mike.

  • Wow.  That makes total sense.


    We'll just count all 9X versions as one, and Windows 3.0 and NT count as one release, too.    

    And I just love how you learned your lesson by keeping XP at 5.1, yet forgot it again when you called Vista 6.0.

    So let me get this straight, you counted all the changed in the major version numbers, except 6.1.  Yikes.  

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    I love this Name !!

    Great Microsoft.

    Pls. Mr Mike

    it's possible video streaming for Consumer Enthusiast of PDC session Steven Sinofsky?

  • Why did Mike even have to add this extra blog entry? It's just a name.  Microsoft could have called the new version, Windows Bob, and people with nothing better to do would still have a whinge.

    Go and have a cry now.

  • "So we decided to ship the Windows 7 code as Windows 6.1 - which is what you will see in the actual version of the product in cmd.exe or computer properties."

    wow, this post is hilarious.

  • I still think it should be named Windows Vista SE. Most of the improvements and changes are things that were supposed to be in Vista in the first place and also visually it looks almost the same (judging from screenshots although there could be more visual changes than i witnessed). Now don't get me wrong I have a laptop with Windows Vista and I LOVE IT! Yes there were some issues but sp1 fixed most of them and sp2 will fix the few remainders. The people that complain about Vista are the ones that buy crappy pcs with unbalanced configurations and expect it to run Aero with ease. That's obviously not going to happen with an operating system as rich as Vista. Windows 7 will probably be a noticeable improvement but 1. Windows 7? Come on you gotta do better than that. 2. Unless there's a major overhaul I'd rather stick to Vista.

  • Shresht
    1 Posts

    I dont know but personally I feel to make it easier and more convenient either the version number should be made 7.0 or the name shouldn't be 7.

    7 signifies neither that its the 7th release of windows nor its version number, since both will be untrue. Therefore please make the version as 7.0 or else give a different name