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Microsoft Operating Systems Windows

Windows 7 To Be Called ... Windows 7 772

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's Mike Nash came forward today in a blog post on the Windows Vista Blog and revealed the official name for Windows Code Name '7' as simply 'Windows 7.' The reasoning, by Mr. Nash, is that Windows 7 is 'the seventh release of Windows.' As much wonderful sense as this makes on first glance, it seems as if Microsoft's marketing teams pulled this number out of thin air: the Windows 7 kernel is version 6.1, and there's no way Windows 7 adds up as the seventh release of Windows anyway."
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Windows 7 To Be Called ... Windows 7

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:31AM (#25367805) Journal

    the Windows 7 kernel is version 6.1

    Perhaps they simply wanted to avoid the inevitable Windows 6, SP 6, Revision 6 ... of the beast?

    • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:35AM (#25367839)

      I dunno, it works out if you do consumer OSs:
      Win 3
      Win 95
      Win 98
      Win ME
      Win XP
      Win 7

      • by Renstar ( 142001 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:40AM (#25367913) Homepage

        Per the wiki, Win 95, 98, and ME are all revisions of version 4, which makes xp 5, vista 6, and 7 7.

        • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:41AM (#25367925) Journal
          They called it Windows 7 because 7 is a lucky number, and they need all the luck they can get.
        • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:58AM (#25368185)

          What wiki? So you are saying that it goes:
          Win 1
          Win 2
          Win 3
          Win 4 (95, 98, ME)
          Win 5 (NT 3, NT 4, 2000, XP)
          Win 6 (Vista)
          Win 7

          That's plausible except for grouping the entire history of NT up until Vista as one big version. Then again, it also fits into what I was saying if they only count consumer OSs and XP is the only version of NT that "counts" prior to Vista.

        • by jfruhlinger ( 470035 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:07AM (#25368329) Homepage

          Yeah, but that's insider stuff for geeks. As far as Microsoft's branding was concerned, they were three separate OSes. Importantly, if I'm remembering right Windows 98 wasn't a free upgrade from Windows 95, for example.

        • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:43AM (#25368925)

          Since when did 95, 98, and ME use the NT kernel?

        • by electrictroy ( 912290 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @11:34AM (#25369705)
          >>>Per the wiki, Win 95, 98, and ME are all revisions of version 4, which makes xp 5, vista 6, and 7 7.

          No, no, no. You see the "consumer" 16/32-bit version of Windows is dead. It was never updated after Win98/ME. The current versions we use are actually part of the "professional" 32/64-bit NT line, and the major releases include:

          Windows NT 3.1 (which was actually 1.0, but Microsoft called it 3.1 for marketing reasons)*
          Windows NT 4.0 (1996)
          Windows NT 5.0 (Windows 2000)
          Windows NT 5.1 (XP in 2001)
          Windows NT 6.0 (Vista in 2006)
          Windows NT 7.0 (Windows 7)

          * Another reason it may have been called 3.1, was because it was originally supposed to be a joint IBM-Microsoft release of OS/2 3.0 but which later fell apart.
        • by jht ( 5006 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @12:20PM (#25370417) Homepage Journal

          Going back in history, here were the versions and reasons for numbering (I was in the channel back in those days so I still remember a lot of this):

          Windows 1.0 - program launcher that competed with things like Desqview.

          Windows 2.x - A full "environment" that also shipped as a runtime for programs that required a GUI on DOS. PageMaker was a good example, it came with the Windows runtime. Also available as a version with rudimentary 386 support

          Windows 3.0 - This was the first version of Windows most users saw back then. It supported 386 mode fully, and was really the first version to be used as a full-time GUI by most folks. They made a huge retail push back then to get it out there. Windows 3 was the first version to be produced post-IBM split and pretty much killed the OS/2 market in infancy.

          Windows 3.1 was an improvement to 3.0. It also was released around the same time as the first NT version, so for marketing reasons NT 1.0 was labeled as NT 3.1, so as to help them differentiate between the "pro" and "consumer" Windows versions.

          3.11, Windows for Workgroups, etc. were all branches off this tree.

          Windows NT continued to evolve to the 3.5 and 3.51 branches. Meanwhile, Microsoft kept working on a DOS-based version of Windows that was initially called "Chicago" in-house and was versioned as Windows 4.0. That became Windows 95 when it shipped. Windows 95 was the basis for Windows 95 OSR2 (added initial USB support and some other stuff), Windows 98, and finally Windows ME. Thus endeth the DOS-based line of Windows.

          Meanwhile, Windows NT was revved up to 4.0, gaining the Windows 95 GUI and moving video and printing into the kernel. This bought big performance improvements but at the cost of introducing us to the modern BSOD (most fatal errors back then seemed to trace down to the video drivers). NT 4 became the basis for NT 5.0, which became known to us as Windows 2000.

          Windows 200 introduced USB support to Windows, along with some of the usability improvements that were in consumer Windows at the time and also brought us Active Directory - their attempt to dethrone Novell as directory services king.

          It worked.

          Windows 2000 still really wasn't a "consumer-worthy" OS, so for NT 5.1 they focused on the user experience. They prettied up the UI, added features like System Restore, and split the desktop OS into Home and Professional versions. It became Windows XP.

          Meanwhile on the server side, Microsoft was taking that same kernel and rebuilding it into a successor to Windows 2000 Server. It, in turn, became Windows 2003 Server (version 5.2).

          The next project was to produce a successor OS. The codebase got revved up to what became Windows 6.0, and it wound up coming out as Windows Vista and, after a year's more development the server version became Windows Server 2008. Both are based on the 6.0 codebase.

          So now comes Windows 7.0 - the server version will be AKA Windows Server 2008 R2 and will break into a 64-bit version only.

          So the numbering overlapped for a while, but if you look at the original Windows history and then pick up NT from there it mostly makes sense. There have been some branches and dead ends (All the 16-bit Windows versions after 95, CE, XP Embedded), but the main line goes 16-bit to 95, then picks up 32-bit with NT and goes 32-bit and up only with 2000 (5.0) and beyond.

      • by DrLang21 ( 900992 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:47AM (#25368007)
        You forgot Windows 2.1. Yes it existed... I have a copy.
        • by Migity ( 1199059 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:58AM (#25368187)
          Is that you Bill?
        • Rookie... I have Windows 1 on 5.25 360k floppies...
        • by leamanc ( 961376 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:17AM (#25368495) Homepage Journal
          Was that the one called "Windows 386" that had the terrible rapping-office-chick promo video?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I remember Windows 2.1. Man, was it ugly. Even uglier than the default theme in XP, although not by much.

      • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:52AM (#25368099)

        I dunno, it works out if you do consumer OSs:
        Win 3

        There were two versions of Windows before Windows 3, that's why they called it Windows 3. And Windows 3 wasn't an OS, it was a shell that ran on top of DOS. Some people say that Windows 3 was an OS because it had drivers for certain pieces of hardware. I disagree, unless you are willing to call all the contemporary games with Soundblaster drivers "operating systems" too. The first consumer OS Microsoft produced was Windows 95. It still used DOS as a makeshift bootloader, but that's about it.

      • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:54AM (#25368127) Homepage

        I know they sucked and hardly anyone used them, but that kind of overlooks Windows v1 & v2. I think it makes more sense if you go with the major steps of the UI:

        1. Windows 1 - Initial release.
        2. Windows 2 - Now with over-lapping Windows!
        3. Windows 3 - And pseudo 3D effects!
        4. Windows 9x (& ME) - Look Ma, we can multitask without... Oh, never mind.
        5. Windows XP - So easy a toddler could use it... Which might explain why it looks a lot like Duplo.
        6. Windows Vista - UAC: Making your PC more secure by training you to click "Yes" to everything!
        7. Windows 7 - What do you want us to fsck up today?
      • Don't think so. See: []

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Or maybe they just wanted to send /. into a tizzy.
    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:27AM (#25368667) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, I'm not getting the version number explanation either. I suspect the real reason for the name is that they're planning to release this in 2007...
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:32AM (#25367815)

    I will wait for Windows 7.11 for Workgroups

  • I would have called it Vista 2!
  • version? (Score:5, Funny)

    by tritonman ( 998572 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:34AM (#25367833)
    If the version is 7 and the kernel version is 6.1, maybe they should compromise and call it Windows 6.66
  • (blinks) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErikZ ( 55491 ) * on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:35AM (#25367841)

    Does...anyone really care? It's just a name.

    Frigging *pick* one and get back to work.

    • Re:(blinks) (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dword ( 735428 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:44AM (#25368949)
      Finding the proper name is work, for the marketing department. Unfortunately, you're probably a software developer and name your applications "vi" or "fsck" because you don't bother that much to improve your image. You sell software, the company sells a product. Software needs good lines of code, the product needs a good name and wrapping.

      Also, "Windows 7" may have a small impact on geeks but let's not forget MS's target is Average Joe to whom it may sound nicer than "Longhorn" or "Fiesty" which also don't mean much to me. What the hell are Fiesty and Gusty and which one is better? What's the difference between them? Now look at it like this: We have Windows 7, there were 6 other versions before it and that alone makes it "better", which means it's cool! I know this isn't true but it's the way Joe thinks and it's what MS is trying to sell.

      MS is choosing a name for their product and people complain that there are more important things? It depends what your job is, but software developers should actually take a few moments and think about this and try to avoid naming their applications like cat, fsck, vi, nice, apt, sudo, etc. You have to admit, "type" is more intuitive than "cat."

      In other words: Application names are a lot more important than you might think.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

        Sorry, but your post needs correcting. Are you in marketing by chance?

        Unfortunately, you're probably a software developer and name your applications "vi" or "fsck" because you don't bother that much to improve your image. You sell software, the company sells a product.

        Developers don't sell software, they write it. They create it. It doesn't exist before they cause its existance. They actually PRODUCE. They create the actual wealth, rather than capitalizing on it and exploiting it like the marketers and exe

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Abreu ( 173023 )

        It depends what your job is, but software developers should actually take a few moments and think about this and try to avoid naming their applications like cat, fsck, vi, nice, apt, sudo, etc.

        Don't forget The Gimp!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cptdondo ( 59460 )

        MS wants a clear break from Vista. Vista is such a flop, that calling the new version anything related to Vista is bad. Thus, MS Pinnacle might be bad. So might MS View. So might Vista II. Although the V-2 might be appropriate for all the wreckage it has caused. [Stretching the analogy here....]

        When your product shits the bed as bad as Vista, you 'go back to basics'. And that's what Windows 7 harkens back to. It's simple, it's basic, it comes from a time when things just worked.

        Ford Model T
        VW Type 1

  • by BobVila ( 592015 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:35AM (#25367849) Homepage

    Maybe Microsoft isn't counting Vista. And Windows 7 sounds way better than Windows Vista Do-Over Edition.

  • Lets count: (Score:4, Funny)

    by CrackerJackz ( 152930 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:35AM (#25367855) Homepage

    Windows 1.x = 1
    Windows 2.x = 2
    Windows 3.x = 3
    Windows NT 3.5 = um... 3.5?
    Windows NT 4 = 4
    Windows 2000 = 5
    Windows XP = 6
    Windows Vista = null
    Windows 7 = 7


    • Win95, Win98, WinME

    • Re:Lets count: (Score:5, Informative)

      by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:09AM (#25368359) Homepage Journal


      No, Windows 1.x, 2.x and 3.x aren't part of the NT line. TFA and everyone are conflating two completely different operating systems just because they all happen to be named Windows:

      1 = Windows NT 3.1
      2 = Windows NT 3.5
      3 = Windows NT 4.0
      4 = Windows 2000
      5 = Windows XP
      6 = Windows Vista
      7 = Windows 7

      So, you see it makes perfect sense.

      Now someone tell me why I'm defending Microsoft because I have no idea.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by djohnsto ( 133220 )
        Close, but it's actually based on kernel version:

        Windows NT 3.x = kernel version 3.x
        Windows NT 4 = kernel version 4
        Windows 2000 = kernel version 5
        Windows XP = kernel version 5.1
        Windows Vista = kernel version 6
        Windows 7 = kernel version 7

        Note: Current betas of Win7 are kernel version 6.1, but I'm guessing that it will change before release.

  • check the count. (Score:5, Informative)

    by DragonTHC ( 208439 ) <Dragon.gamerslastwill@com> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:38AM (#25367883) Homepage Journal

    1.) November 1985 Windows 1.01
    2.) November 1987 Windows 2.03
    2.) March 1989 Windows 2.11
    3.) May 1990 Windows 3.0
    3.) March 1992 Windows 3.1x
    3.) October 1992 Windows For Workgroups 3.1
    4.) July 1993 Windows NT 3.1 NT 3.1
    3.) December 1993 Windows For Workgroups 3.11
    3.) January 1994 Windows 3.2 (released in Simplified Chinese only)
    4.) September 1994 Windows NT 3.5
    4.) May 1995 Windows NT 3.51
    5.) August 1995 Windows 95
    6.) July 1996 Windows NT 4.0
    7.) June 1998 Windows 98
    8.) May 1999 Windows 98 SE
    9.) February 2000 Windows 2000
    10.) September 2000 Windows Me
    11.) October 2001 Windows XP
    11.) March 2003 Windows XP 64-bit Edition
    12.) April 2003 Windows Server 2003
    11.) April 2005 Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
    13.) July 2006 Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
    14.) January 2007 (retail) Windows Vista
    15.) July 2007 Windows Home Server
    16.) February 2008 Windows Server 2008
    17.) 2010 (planned) Windows 7

    • by Nimey ( 114278 )

      I'll just point out again that Windows NT 3.1 was really Windows NT 1.0, which makes NT4 NT 2.0, W2K NT 3.0, XP NT 3.1, and Vista NT 4.0, and therefore this Windows 7 will be NT 4.1.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bdenton42 ( 1313735 )
      Here is most of that list in pretty graph form: []
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oblivionboy ( 181090 )

      If we go strictly by the NT line it makes perfect sense.

      1 - Windows NT 3.1
      2 - Windows NT 3.51
      3 - Windows NT 4
      4 - Windows 2000 (NT 5.0)
      5 - WIndows XP (NT 5.1)
      6 - Windows Vista (NT 6.0)
      7 - Windows 7 (NT 7.0)

      Now this little bit about the kernel being 6.1 might be a bit tricky, if its true and if you are assuming that OS versions are based on their kernel, but in Microsoft's world this isn't always the case. I have at home an HP Jornada that has Windows CE 3.0 burned into its rom, but its clearly CE 2.11 that's

  • by naz404 ( 1282810 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:39AM (#25367903) Homepage
    at least they didn't name it something like "Wii". Gah.
  • perfection (Score:2, Funny)

    by freg ( 859413 )
    Seven's the number of perfection. Maybe this time they will get it right!
  • 6.1? (Score:2, Funny)

    by syrinx ( 106469 )

    Here I figured "Windows 7" actually made sense. But if the kernel is only 6.1, then never mind. Don't know why I would assume MS would do something that made sense.

    95 = 4.0
    98 = 4.1
    ME = 4.9
    2000 = 5.0
    XP = 5.1
    Vista = 6.0

    So I assumed if they're calling it "Windows 7", that this was going to be 7.0. Oh well.

  • by thompson.ash ( 1346829 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:41AM (#25367933) Journal

    I think M$ saw the whole 666 thing coming.

    I don't blame them for picking them a different name!

    And quite frankly they can call it whatever they like - no one is going to trust it straight up after the fiasco of Vista.

    You can call it Microsoft Windows Affordable-Beautiful-And-Absolutely-Fucking-Bombproof. Noone will buy it!

  • Nothing new here really, marketing always start to exaggerate the version number when no mayor changes happen any more.

    OS/2 Warp 3 had kernel version 2.3
    OS/2 Warp 4 had kernel version 2.4

    And 2.x they where (the planned 3.x was supposed to feature what today is called a hypervisor).

    Solaris won't mention the mayor version for ages - still stuck at 2.x as nothing fundamental new happen any more.

    Only new to windows is the adding factor: 6 + 1 = 7. So my guess is that Windows 8 will be kernel version 6.2 ;-)

  • by gravyface ( 592485 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:42AM (#25367953)

    If they tacked on a year to the product name, they'd be bound to that date and would never hear the end of it when it's late.

  • Maybe Microsoft is hoping to get lucky?

  • by The Slashdot Guy ( 793685 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:46AM (#25367989)
    Blatant rip off of Slackware.
  • And here I was hoping they really would call it Windows $NEXT_VERSION []. Or, to be more Windowsy, %NEXT_VERSION%.

    (I'm sure it'll be a perfectly decent OS, based on Vista but not sucking nearly as badly. But the news articles will resemble that link in the previous paragraph, like every news article on Windows since 1994.)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "7" will be just a maintainance release for Vista.

    The really new Windows version will be called "Ubuntu". It has new "chocolate" artwork and they have switched to a Unix-based core and a modular architecture. It is going to be much more stable, user-friendly and fast.

    You can download preview releases at [].

  • Code versions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @09:48AM (#25368037) Journal
    So he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. Up to Windows 3, the version and the name correlated.

    95 was version 4. So was 98 (4.1) and ME (4.9).

    XP was version 5. Vista was version 7. Each substantialy different from their predecessor.

    Presumably Microsoft has some internal policy of when they have a new version

    The workstation/server versions started their numbering at 3 for various reasons that make sense to MS marketing. NT3.5 = version 3, NT4 = version 4, Windows 2000 = version 5. At this point the consumer and server versions merged.

    MS may well be on version 6.1 of their code. It may have evolved into version 7 by the time it's released. This is similar to the Linux kernel releases being extremely similar to the development versions that precede them.
  • Mike Nash : The OSes all go to seven. Look, right across the board, seven, seven, seven and...
    PHB : Oh, I see. And most OSes top off at Vista?
    Mike Nash : Exactly.
    PHB : Does that mean it's better? Is it any better?
    Mike Nash : Well, it's one better, isn't it? It's not Vista. You see, most blokes, you know, will be using Vista. You're on Vista here, all the way up, all your CPUs burning, all the way up, you're on Vista on your PC. Where can you go from there? Where?
    PHB : I don't know.
    Mike Nash : Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
    PHB : Put it up to seven.
    Mike Nash : Seven. Exactly. One better.
    PHB : Why don't you just make Vista better and make Vista be the top number and make that a little better?
    Mike Nash : [pause] These go to seven.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:07AM (#25368327) Homepage Journal

    Apple names their versions after cats and what chases cats?
    So Windows CE/Mobile will be called Windows Poodle.
    Windows 7 will be Windows Jackal.

  • by tclark ( 140640 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:16AM (#25368467) Homepage

    I've heard it said that MS needs to win over the geek crowd of early adopters. Maybe this is an attempt to get them with an implied Seven of Nine reference. All it needs now is an ad campaign featuring Jeri Ryan.

  • Too obsessive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeff Hornby ( 211519 ) <jthornby@[ ] ['sym' in gap]> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:17AM (#25368493) Homepage

    I know that slashdotters don't like Microsoft, but isn't it a little too obsessive to be criticising them for their version numbering scheme? Isn't that like hating someone because their hair is just the wrong shade of brown or the daiameter of the buttons on their shirt are a millimetre too small?

  • Mojave (Score:4, Funny)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @10:40AM (#25368881) Homepage Journal

    And here I thought they'd call it Windows Mojave!

  • by DreadfulGrape ( 398188 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @11:25AM (#25369569)

    Found this amusing critique buried in the comments of TFMSB (the fine MS blogpost):

    Win 3.1 (Normal)
    Win 3.11WG (Good)
    WinNT (bad)
    WinNT3.5 (normal)
    Win95 (bad)
    Win95+Patch (normal)
    Win98 (bad)
    Win98SE (good)
    WinME (pathetic)
    Win2000 (bad)
    Win2000 SP1 (less bad)
    Win2000 SP2 (normal)
    Win2000 SP3 (good)
    Win2000 SP4 (excellent)
    WinXP (bad)
    WinXP SP1 (less bad)
    WinXP SP2 (normal)
    WinXP SP3 (good)
    WinVista (bad)
    WinVista SP1 (less bad)

  • 7 makes sense. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kitsune818 ( 927302 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @12:17PM (#25370375)
    I beta tested (officially) most of the Windows releases except for 3.11 and anything after longhorn. Each major release would often be refereed to by a sequence number and a code name. For instance, 95 was Win 4.0 a.k.a "Chicago". The numbering seems confusing because a lot of you are trying to incorporate NT, which for most of Windows life span was an independent product, and because 95 through ME were only incremental revisions to 95, not new projects in the same way Chicago, Whistler, and Longhorn were.

    1 = Win 1.0
    2 = Win 2.0
    3 = Win 3.0, 3.1, 3.11, Some code shared with OS/2
    4 = Win 95, Win 95 OS/R 2, Win 98, Win 98 SE, Win ME
    5 = Windows XP (Move to the NT kernel.)
    6 = Vista
    7 = Windows 7
  • so, like, what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday October 14, 2008 @02:53PM (#25372615) Journal

    A lot more important than the name, is what kind of godawful hardware is it going to take to run it?

    We already know from the Vista experience that "Windows 7 ready" isn't going to mean anything, and that "minimum requirements" mean "yes, it'll boot". I own five PCs (not including the mac) and not one of them is fast enough to run Vista acceptably, not even my media center. I despair of ever catching up.

    ...which leads to another question -- eventually the chip manufacturers will reach some kind of performance limit as to what can reasonably be sold in a consumer PC. What happens when the requirements for a reasonable Windows experience surpasses what the market can reasonably provide (or the consumer can reasonably afford)?

    Especially during an economic downturn...

System restarting, wait...