Microsoft Justifies Its Windows 7 Naming Decision

Alex Castle

Two days ago, Microsoft announced that the code name “Windows 7” was in fact more than a code name, and that the OS would actually be released under the moniker. Since then, there’s been some head-scratching about what exactly Windows 7 will be the seventh of. Today, Mike Nash posted again to clear up the confusion, and explain exactly how Microsoft arrived at the name.

In brief, Nash explained that the up through Windows 3.0, each release got its own number. Then, they started getting a little more conservative with release numbers, with NT still being part of version 3, and all the 9x platforms making up 4.0.  2000 and XP comprised number 5, and Vista is 6.0.

So, naturally it’s called Windows 7 because it’s Windows 7.0, right?

Err, no. Windows 7 is actually Windows 6.1. He explains the reasoning for this as follows:

“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 Windows 7 is certainly not the seventh Windows release, and it’s not Windows 7.0, either. It’s just… Windows 7. What do you think of the name? Hit the jump and let us know.

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