Windows 7 Has a Name: Windows 7! Windows 7?

By  |  Monday, October 13, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Over at the Windows Vista blog, Microsoft’s Mike Nash just posted with a bit of news that’s both minor and significant: The upcoming version of Windows code-named Windows 7 will, in fact, be called Windows 7.

On one hand, the name of a new version of Windows is utterly unimportant–it could be called Windows Garanimals for all I care if it’s solid, and if it’s not solid it doesn’t matter in the least what its moniker is. But it’s nice, at least, to know the name without any further ado. And as I write about Windows 7–and I will, in great profusion–I won’t have to call it “the product code-named Windows 7, although Microsoft has not released its official name to date.”

At first blush, I like it–it’s simple and direct, and has a back-to-basics feel. If the operating system it applies to has the same personality–and it sounds like Microsoft’s aims are in that direction, at least–it’ll be good news. I’ll be attending Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in a couple of week, where a lot more information about Windows 7 should be released–stay tuned for details.

Okay, back to that name. Microsoft is saying that it stems from this being the seventh version of Windows. I’m not sure if the company has specified what the six previous versions were, but the AeroXperience Blog ((via the Seattle Times)) is trying to account for them. It started with this, which is based on kernel versions:

  1. Windows
  2. Windows 2
  3. Windows 3.0
  4. Windows NT (NT 4)
  5. Windows 2000 (NT 5)
  6. Windows XP (NT 5.1)
  7. Windows Vista (NT 6)

That’s seven versions not counting Windows 7, and it doesn’t even include Windows 95–it can’t be right. They then tried this list of consumer-oriented editions:

  1. Windows
  2. Windows 2
  3. Windows 3.0
  4. Windows 95
  5. Windows 98
  6. Windows ME
  7. Windows XP
  8. Windows Vista

That’s eight versions not including Windows 7. How about business-oriented releases?

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

That’s seven versions, but it ignores the first six years or so of Windows history. And I repeat: Not counting Windows 95 as a version of Windows is like listing American presidents and leaving off FDR. (Er, lousy metaphor on multiple levels, but you get the idea.)

Lemme take a stab at this:

1. Windows 1.0
2. Windows 2.0
3. Windows 3.0
4. Windows 95
5. Windows NT 4.0
6. Windows XP

Okay, I’m to six versions already and haven’t mentioned Windows 2000 or Windows Vista. I give up.

I assume Microsoft is thinking of a specific list of Windows versions–if you know what it is, lemme know.But this sort of reminds me of the days when the Walt Disney company wanted to trumpet each animated feature it released with an important-sounding number–its fifteenth feature, or the twentieth, or the twenty-fifth–and did so by counting differently each time it released a new one.

Alternate theory on Microsoft’s thinking: It’s calling this Windows 7 because seven is a lucky number. It’s as justifiable a rationale as any other…

I won’t even bring up the fact that Windows 3.11 was technically one of the most minor versions of Windows, but also one of the best and most popular. And I’ll ignore the point that Ed Bott made in a post before the name Windows 7 became official–that the new version is technically Windows 6.1. (It’s not hard to figure out why Microsoft didn’t give it that as its formal name.)

So what’s your opinion about that name?



7 Comments For This Post

  1. SaT Says:

    this is just going real bad….

    Not even beta and it has a RTM name….

    Microsoft is skipping a lot now…

    for some reason i feel now that 7 will be a new Windows ME
    and even worse an incomplete Windows , last time i checked Windows on every new version they added new programs and new things not just Bug Fixes (like apple) but now everything seems to be moving to the Live Wave , it could be good but you will always need the base OS to be better than the services.

    i hope 7 wont turn in to a bad WinME based on NT and Version 7

    If Longhorn was ripped from its foundations / concepts. Windows 7 seems to be breaking from what Windows is…

    i wonder what we will see at PDC or WinHEC..
    a demo of… Windows Live Avalon! and Windows Live Notepad!
    and how Windows now has nothing but Touch support and …. and…. a Office like UI?
    oh and don’t forget the Castles demo errm i mean “Home Groups” and umm.. .NET 4 and… well looks like there are not new things on the new version…
    just maybe better graphics, better sound , maybe a new UI , Office Like Apps, and tons of Installers to make Windows , feel like Windows.

    As long as they don’t rip the clock and make it Windows Live Clock I think it will have some of the Windows concept…

    I hope Steven gets the hell out of the Development or at least stop giving out “Great Ideas”

  2. Greg Says:

    It is called Win7 because it is the seventh iteration of the NT kernel:
    1) NT 3.x
    2) NT 4.0
    3) Windows 2000
    4) Windows XP
    5) Windows 2003
    6) Windows Vista/2k8
    7) Windows 7

  3. Greg Says:

    I was corrected on another site… I should rephrase and say “seventh release based on the NT kernel”

  4. TheWindowsFix Says:

    I like it, keep it with the numbers, it works for the MAC, that’s obviously why they are doing it.

  5. John Says:

    Thanks for clearing it up. I was confused as confused as Harry as to how they got “7”. I still think 7 is stretching it though. Although we all know what the kernel is how many regular users do? But then again how many of them can name all the Windows releases and figure out it doesn’t come up to 7? Maybe Microsoft found out that there is some human physiological response to the number 7. Like how the color blue is calming. Maybe 7 invokes a feeling of security and well being.

  6. Dan Overes Says:

    As Greg says, it’s all based on the version of the NT kernel. MS never should have dropped the use of numbers for the OS version numbers in the first place.

    NT 3.51
    NT 4.0
    2000 = NT 5.0
    XP = NT 5.1
    Vista = NT 6.0
    7 = 7.0

  7. dsdevries Says:

    i’m thinking microsoft is trying to synchronise Windows’s release cycle with Windows Mobile’s.

    a few weeks ago microsoft announced that the release of Windows Mobile 7 will be delayed from begin 2009 to midd 2009. About the same time Windows 7 will be released. coincident? maybe.

    I’m not surprised if the next windows server will be called Windows Server 7. It’ll be a sleek naming convention.