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Why Call it Windows 7?

Now, because I’ve been running a lot of info on Windows 7 a few questions are bound to spring up. How much does it cost? Will my old programs work with it, etc. However, the biggest query that fills my inbox is always “Why is it called Windows 7?”

With so many different versions of Windows throughout Microsoft’s course, where’s the sense? We had Windows 3.0, 3.1, 95, 98 (revisions A and B), 2000, ME, XP, Vista and that’s not even counting Windows NT, and the Mobile iterations! I probably even forgot a version or two in there somewhere!

Point is, that the numbers don’t match up. So why exactly does MS see fit to name it “7”?

Here’s what tech writer Ed Bott has to say about this:

– Windows 3.0 and 3.1 (and Windows for Workgroups 3.11) from the early 1990s used the version numbers as part of their name. The first releases of Windows NT, also from that era, followed suit, with Windows NT 3.1 and 3.5.

– Windows 95 was technically version 4.0. Windows NT 4.0, which was released exactly a year after Windows 95, adopted the Windows 95 interface. Windows 98 was version 4.10.1998 and Windows 98 Second Edition was 4.10.2222A. The much-maligned Windows Me was 4.90.3000. (History lessons here and here for those who care.)

– Windows 2000 was the first release in the version 5 family. It was followed by Windows XP, which was version 5.1. Service packs are identified by build numbers, but service packs do not affect the version number.

– Windows Vista was Windows 6.0. Because the next release of Windows is going to be based on the same kernel as Windows Vista, it should have the version number 6.1. Indeed, every screenshot of Windows 7 that has been in public view so far has had a build number of 6.1.xxxx. This numbering is almost certain to remain in the final product. If the major version number changed to 7.0, many applications written for Windows Vista would fail to install or run properly, simply because of version checking.

In summation, there is no good reason to call it Windows 7 at all! Bott goes on to predict that Microsoft will probably go back to their old naming convention for the next version, but who wants to even think about that right now?