The official name for Windows 7 will be: “Windows 7”

Considering all the gruff Microsoft took over the name “Windows Vista” (including some gruff from me) it’s probably a smart move on their part to just go with something simple for the next major release:

Windows Vista Team Blog : Introducing Windows 7

And, as you probably know, since we began development of the next version of the Windows client operating system we have been referring to it by a codename, “Windows 7.”  But now is a good time to announce that we’ve decided to officially call the next version of Windows, “Windows 7.”

While I know there have been a few cases at Microsoft when the codename of a product was used for the final release, I am pretty sure that this is a first for Windows. You might wonder about the decision.

The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity. Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows.  We’ve used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or “aspirational” monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista.  And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense.  Likewise, coming up with an all-new “aspirational” name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows.

Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore “Windows 7” just makes sense.

As you know if you’re an SEB regular, I actually like Vista despite my initial dislike of the name itself. Which I suppose makes me a kind of maverick. Which I suppose makes me like John McCain. No wonder everyone hates me.

Anyway, I find the name Windows 7 to be very agreeable. It’s simple and doesn’t try to evoke a vaguely defined “experience” that the product will supposedly provide me. It’s Windows and it’s the 7th version. Short, to the point, and not wishy washy.

27 thoughts on “The official name for Windows 7 will be: “Windows 7”

  1. Of course it’ll be a lot like Vista, it’s using Vista as its code base. That’s not at all surprising. Windows 98 was a lot like Windows 95 and Windows 2000 was a lot like Windows NT.

    And I realize I’m one of the few people who feel this way, but Vista isn’t a bad OS at all. It’s nowhere near as bad, in my mind, as the ill-fated Windows ME which attempted to bridge the gap between Windows 9X and Windows NT/2000.

  2. True, no sense in MS reinventing the wheel. In all fairness to Vista, a lot of the ensuing problems were due to lack of compatible drivers – not MS’ fault. The publicity of those issues, coupled with bad marketing, on top of even more lukewarm reviews created a perfect storm that severely crippled its sales.

    Still, I’m still clinging tight to XP, and will wait to see what Win7 has to offer.

  3. How it is the 7th release of Windows? Maybe I’m counting ‘wrong’ but starting with Windows 1.0 and counting every whole number or named release of windows (both the dos based and NT kernel releases) you get:

    Windows 1.x
    Windows 2.x
    Windows 3.x
    Windows NT 3.x
    Windows 95
    Windows NT 4.x
    Windows 98
    Windows ME
    Windows 2000
    Windows XP
    Windows Vista
    Windows 7(!?)

  4. The folks at the Vista Blog answered that question the next day:

    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.

    So there you go.

  5. So Windows 7 is derived from Vista just like XP’s code base was derived from Windows 2000. Yet Windows 7 is a whole number higher for its version number instead of x.1, except it really isn’t “because we don’t want to break compatibility”. Guess marketing didn’t like the name Windows 6.1?

  6. All I can tell you is this: It’s their software. They can call it whatever the hell they want. grin

    Though I do like ‘Windows 7’ as a good simple name.

  7. I can see an argument for that name, though my install of Vista is still more stable than my install of Ubuntu.

    Speaking of Ubuntu, the suggestion by someone that I use the EnvyNG tool to install the video drivers appears to have worked. Most of my crashes since then have just been Flash killing Firefox, the OS has been relatively stable for the most part.

    At least until a big software patch on Tuesday managed to screw things up again. Made them worse, actually, because instead of crashing to a warm boot it ended up working for a little bit and then slowly garbling the display until it was unusable and then crashing.

    Fortunately running EnvyNG again seems to have corrected that problem. I also uninstalled and reinstalled Firefox 3 and Flash and that has helped reduce the number of crashes there. So there’s some progress at least.

  8. I can see an argument for that name, though my install of Vista is still more stable than my install of Ubuntu.

    Apropos of glitches, can you tell me why Explorer on one of my XP desktops is oblivious to file copy/moves/renames? It’s damn annoying having to refresh the windows after making any changes.

  9. All I can tell you is this: It’s their software. They can call it whatever the hell they want.

    Yes, they can. It is just painfully obvious that the decision was made by marketing.

    Though I do like ‘Windows 7’ as a good simple name.

    “Bob” was also a “good simple name”…  raspberry

  10. Iteration 7
    or maybe Irritation 7.0.7.0.7.0.7.0.77.0.0.P.S.

    As far as most biological infestations are concerned they are ambivalent as to the name, just as long as it works.

    Hehe:
    W111

  11. Now the question will be how versions of Windows 7 will they release. Windows Vista is such a convoluted thing. I don’t now how the average person is supposed to decide between the 8 different versions of XP that they would need to run on their computer. It seems to me that Vista was just the painful push towards a 64 bit operating system, although nobody actually has the 64 bit versions installed.

  12. (er, wow. proof reading is a good thing. This was supposed to read as follows.)

    Now the question will be how many versions of Windows 7 will they release. Windows Vista is such a convoluted thing. I don’t now how the average person is supposed to decide between the 8 different versions of Vista that they would need to run on their computer. It seems to me that Vista was just the painful push towards a 64 bit operating system, although nobody actually has the 64 bit versions installed.

  13. Sounds like they’re just going back to using numbers like everyone else is doing (even them back when Windows 3.11 came out)

    Not very ‘innovative’ MS.

    My problems with Windows are not it’s stability.  They haven’t had serious stability issues since they did away with Windows ME.  My problem is security and privacy.  I switch off active X, automatic updates and remote desktop and keep a third-party firewall between Windows and my internet connection and everything is fine.  Everyone I know who has problems with their Windows box doesn’t do one or more of those things.

  14. Also, can anyone tell me if you can read a Vista formatted HD with another OS?  One of the things I use Linux for is recovering data off my XP hard drive if XP eats itself.  Vista apparently uses MS encryption whenever the system writes to the drive.  Can I get my data off the drive if I can’t get at it through Vista, or can I turn off the encryption?  That would be a major impediment for me if I was forced to upgrade to Vista.

  15. Vista uses plain old NTFS so as long as your OS can read NTFS it shouldn’t be a problem. The new file system that was supposed to come with Vista was dropped before release.

  16. Idiocy? That’s debatable. The new file system, which would have gone by the name WinFS, was a major step forward in organizing the data on your hard disk and increasing interoperability between applications. The motivation section of WinFS’s Wikipedia entry explains what they were hoping to accomplish:

    Many filesystems found on common operating systems, including the NTFS filesystem which is used in modern versions of Microsoft Windows, store files and other objects only as a stream of bytes, and have little or no information about the data stored in the files. Such file systems also provide only a single way of organizing the files, namely via directories and file names.[5][6]

    Because a file system has no knowledge about the data it stores,[5] applications tend to use their own, often proprietary, file formats. This hampers sharing of data between multiple applications. It becomes difficult to create an application which processes information from multiple file types, because the programmers have to understand the structure and semantics of all the files.[7] Using common file formats is a workaround to this problem but not a universal solution; there is no guarantee that all applications will use the format. Data with standardized schema, such as XML documents and relational data fare better as they have a standardized structure and run-time requirements.[8]

    Also, a traditional file system can retrieve and search data based only on the filename, because the only knowledge it has about the data is the name of the files that store the data.[7] A better solution is to tag files with attributes that describe them. Attributes are metadata about the files such as the type of file (such as document, picture, music, creator, etc).[5] This allows files to be searched for by their attributes, in ways not possible using a folder hierarchy, such as finding “pictures which have person X”. The attributes can be recognizable by either the file system natively, or via some extension.[5] Desktop search applications take this concept a step further. They extract data, including attributes, from files and index it. To extract the data, they use a filter for each file format. This allows for searching based on both the file’s attributes and the data in it.[5]

    However, this still does not help in managing related data, as disparate items do not have any relationships defined. For example, it is impossible to search for “the phone numbers of all persons who live in Acapulco and each have more than 100 appearances in my photo collection and with whom I have had e-mail within last month”. Such a search encompasses needs to have a data model which has both the semantics as well as relationships of data defined.[5][6] WinFS aims to provide such a data model and the runtime infrastructure that can be used to store the data as well as the relationships between data items according to the data model, doing so at a satisfactory level of performance.

    That’s a pretty ambitious goal and parts of the filtering system did make their way into Vista (you can tag some files such as pictures and music, for example, and then sort based on those tags) but the ultimate functionality Microsoft was shooting for is not available due to the use of NTFS.

    Would it have worked? There’s no way of knowing unless it’s released some day. Suggesting that developing a new file system is idiocy when there are definitely disadvantages with the current system is, I think, stupid. NTFS has some limitations that are starting to show as hard drives get larger and people start collecting more data on their systems. Hell Linux itself has some 15 to 18 or so file systems whereas Windows primarily has three.

  17. Just a quick question Les. What benefits do you find you have gained using Vista over XP? I know the biggest difference is supposed to be directX 10 for gaming, though few games use this yet. Also as far as I am aware the benefits of DirectX 10 can really only be gained when using the 64bit operating system. Do you know if this true?

  18. Also, a traditional file system can retrieve and search data based only on the filename, because the only knowledge it has about the data is the name of the files that store the data.[7] A better solution is to tag files with attributes that describe them.

    What do you mean ‘traditional’ I’ve been waiting for them to dump NTFS for ages.  The ability to tell file-types without having to resort to the filename has been available in non-windows file systems for decades.  Being able to fool Windows into thinking a text file was a word document was one of the more amusing (and yes.. stupid) things I found out about Windows a LONG LONG time ago.  There was no point to doing it that way then and no reason to do it that way now.

    Creating new file systems is all well and good, and improvements from NTFS (created by MS btw) are definitely needed, but potentially making a system where only Windows can read your hard drive(until someone comes up with the specs) is… in a word… stupid.  MS is all about keeping things secret, even if it interferes with functionality.  The official reason is that it increases security, but their system is still the least secure out there, so I have no choice but to conclude that it’s just proprietary nonsense.  Oh they like to talk about opening up their system, but they pass up really useful opportunities like this one when it comes down to it.

    Would it have worked?  Like you said… hard to know until they do it.  But it also depends on what they were trying to accomplish.  Maybe they decided it would bwork their system.  Just a new file system I can handle, but I certainly know I don’t want the only system to be able to read my data being Windows, and that’s pretty much what it comes down to.  With Windows, the best I can say is “Trust, but verify.. a LOT.”

  19. Filesystem design is a contentious issue. While all filesystems solve the same generic problems, most of them are designed to satisfy specific objectives and constraints. I haven’t looked at the list of filesystems supported by Linux, but there are a couple of journaling ones, a couple of distributed ones, some that are optimized for flash memory, and so on.

    I can’t say I’ve followed the saga of WinFS, but it basically sounds like they wanted to replace a “traditional filesystem” with a (proprietary) relational database, which is an idea I’m actively opposed to. I actually like the idea of a filesystem being data-agnostic and in all the years I’ve used computers I never needed to run such as the example Wikipedia gives.

    If you want something like this with NTFS today, but use alternate data streams for metadata. Good luck about application support, though.

    In short, even if WinFS would have seen the light of day, I’d never even consider using it.

  20. Also keep in mind that Microsoft wasn’t exactly forthcoming in releasing the NTFS file system so that other systems could take advantage of it.  As it is, no one uses it unless they want to interface with a Windows system.  That right there should tell you something.  A new filesystem will start that all over again, and it will hurt MS more than anyone else.

    Don’t get me wrong… Windows has come a LONG way since Win98 and even NT, but they can’t innovate until they’ve caught up with everyone else.  They don’t seem to realize this.  I own two Windows systems.  They’re both XP Pro and they won’t be used for anything more important than games until MS gets their head screwed on properly.

  21. Also keep in mind that Microsoft wasn’t exactly forthcoming in releasing the NTFS file system so that other systems could take advantage of it.  As it is, no one uses it unless they want to interface with a Windows system.  That right there should tell you something.

    A proprietary filesystem isn’t likely to be widely used, is it? People have reverse-engineered it, but it’s not like NTFS has compelling features that make it interesting for uses other than interoperability—i.e. forensics, disk recovery, and dual-boot systems.

    WinFS would have been, well, WinFS. Nothing from Microsoft is so great that it’s worth the lock-in.

  22. Catching up on a comment from Terrorance I meant to reply to sooner:

    Just a quick question Les. What benefits do you find you have gained using Vista over XP?

    Stability mostly. Other than some driver issues for a few weeks at the initial release, Vista is surprisingly robust. Or at least it has been for me and I’m not running it on the latest and greatest hardware. It’s also quite a bit more secure than XP. Still far from invulnerable, but a damn site better just the same.

    Beyond that I make heavy use of the file tagging system on my MP3 collection which makes finding what I want to hear very easy and I really like the built-in calendaring system.

    I know the biggest difference is supposed to be directX 10 for gaming, though few games use this yet.

    I wouldn’t say that’s the biggest difference nor would I say it’s the most important. It’s nice, but not a must-have by any stretch. It’s not a reason I’d put forth to someone considering an upgrade to Vista.

    Also as far as I am aware the benefits of DirectX 10 can really only be gained when using the 64bit operating system. Do you know if this true?

    I haven’t heard that myself. I’m currently running the 32bit version of Vista Business edition and it seems to run DirectX 10 just fine. I’ve got the 64 bit version coming from Microsoft soon and I’ll probably switch to that when it arrives (if you have the 32 bit version you can order copy of the 64bit version on DVD for $10). I’ll let you know if I see a huge difference with DirectX 10 when I switch.

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