Am I stupid, or is Windows 7 actually Windows 9?

So it started with Windows 3.1 (or 3.11 for Workgroups). There was of course Windows 1.0 (released in '85) and Windows 2.X (1990) prior to that, but 3.1 was what I used when I first started into computing.

From there, it goes as follows:

Win 95 = Version 4
Win 98 = 5
Win ME = 6
Win XP = 7
Vista = 8
Win 7 = 9

That doesn't even count NT/2000, which was also very much a Windows release.

The only explanation I can think of is that perhaps 95 through to ME were the same thing, but I certainly recall buying three separate sku's so that can't be it.

It's possible that they count all versions with a MS-DOS backbone as the same (Windows 1 through 3.11), but those were the last ones they bothered numbering. If they were going back to the numbering system, why disregard two of these three?

I suppose this is but a low-grade misnomer, but these are the people I'm trusting with my hardware - is it too much to expect them to count properly? Have I taken crazy pills? It's not that big a deal, but Microsoft has so much money, it's fun to prod them a bit. Stick it to the man!

It's mainly marketing. You can check your NT OS kernel version, but any OS is much more than the kernel at its heart.

Vista = 6
XP = 5.1
2000 = 5

And if you wanted to trust MS, you've forgotten that they charged for DOS 6.0. And 6.2. And 6.2.2 after that.

It's named Windows 7 for marketing reasons. You can see the actual version numbers here.

Fine. I can accept the fact Microsoft has developed the Square Enix approach at numbering. By that I mean mostly arbitrary.

Or maybe it's:

Vulgar or Ridiculously Childish wrote:

Win 95 = Version 4
Win 98 = 5
Win ME (Embarrassed, pretend it doesn't exist.)
Win XP = 6
Vista (Embarrassed, pretend it doesn't exist.)
Win 7 = 7

Windows 95, 98, and ME are collectively 4.x, and were numbered internally as such.

Windows 2000 was never considered part of the "desktop" Windows branch. Microsoft was very clear on this back in the day, though many of us used it as such. (You'll note that there was never a "Windows 2000 Home" - only Professional and the various Server versions. And also note how the year-based numbering continued in the server branch only - Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008... Windows 2000 is considered part of that product lineage, not the desktop lineage that brings us up to Win7)

Windows XP = version 5
Windows Vista = version 6
Windows 7 = 7!

Technically, the versions of Windows probably break down like this:

Windows 1.0
Windows 2.0
Windows 3.0, 3.1 -- this was where Windows finally hit its stride, and why Microsoft is famous for never getting it right until the third revision.

Windows 95, Windows 98, WinME -- iterations of version 4
Windows NT 3.0,3.5,4.0 -- version 5. Note that this was really developed in parallel with the version 4 branch. Most software would run on both, but NT was both enormously more solid and much slower. I started using NT in 3.5, and soon switched my desktop to it, because it was the first Microsoft OS that was even vaguely trustworthy.
Windows 2000, XP - Version 6. XP was just Win2K with some more reliability work, ClearType, and a bunch of features to benefit Microsoft.
Vista - Version 7

From my perspective, this is still Windows 7, because this version is just a facelift for Vista, like XP was for 2K.

Nossid already posted a link to the actual list of version numbers.

The essential thing you have to know to make sense of Windows version numbers is that the "Windows 9X" series and "Windows NT" series were counted as two separate product lines, each with their own version numbers, independent of the other. So e.g. Win9X version 4.0 was not the same as WinNT version 4.0 (Windows 95 and Windows NT4, respectively). The NT series was started with 3.0 to keep it in sync with the then-current 16-bit Windows 3.0. The Windows 9X series was based on Windows 3 (which in turn was based on MS-DOS), while the NT series was a complete clean-sheet-of-paper rewrite from scratch.

Windows 9X series:

  • Version 4.0 = Windows 95
  • Version 4.1 = Windows 98
  • Version 4.9 = Windows ME

Windows NT series:

  • Version 4.0 = Windows NT4
  • Version 5.0 = Windows 2000
  • Version 5.1 = Windows XP
  • Version 5.2 = Windows Server 2003
  • Version 6.0 = Windows Vista/Server 2008
  • Version 6.1 = Windows 7

In marketing mathematics, 6.1 equals 7, for sufficiently small values of 7.

CaptainCrowbar wrote:

In marketing mathematics, 6.1 equals 7, for sufficiently small values of 7.

NewWindowsVersion = ceiling( 6.1 ).
NewWindowsVersion = 7.

From my perspective, this is still Windows 7, because this version is just a facelift for Vista, like XP was for 2K.

This.. I'm pretty sure Microsoft wants everyone to just forget Vista ever happened.

Malor wrote:
From my perspective, this is still Windows 7, because this version is just a facelift for Vista, like XP was for 2K.

I consider XP and 7 to be "this is the OS we meant to release but screwed ourselves with a short release cycle."

Does anyone know what criteria MS have for making a new windows release a major or minor version number increment? I'm sure marketing choose the name, but I'm not sure about the number.

LilCodger wrote:
Malor wrote:
From my perspective, this is still Windows 7, because this version is just a facelift for Vista, like XP was for 2K.

I consider XP and 7 to be "this is the OS we meant to release but screwed ourselves with a short release cycle."

A short release cycle for Vista? The thing was in develepment for YEARS and even scrapped/restarted once. I believe it was like 6 years from XP to Vista.

The big fear inside MS is that when Vista was getting ready to launch they were hearing all the things they are now hearing with Win7. They're not believing it's going to be the seller everyone is assuming it will be.

The big fear inside MS is that when Vista was getting ready to launch they were hearing all the things they are now hearing with Win7. They're not believing it's going to be the seller everyone is assuming it will be.

Vista sold well on paper.. the issue was actual "use" of Vista.. That's MS primary concern.. they will sell Windows 7 licenses but its now about getting people finally to migrate from XP TO 7 and actually using 7.

Eezy_Bordone wrote:
LilCodger wrote:
Malor wrote:
From my perspective, this is still Windows 7, because this version is just a facelift for Vista, like XP was for 2K.

I consider XP and 7 to be "this is the OS we meant to release but screwed ourselves with a short release cycle."

A short release cycle for Vista? The thing was in develepment for YEARS and even scrapped/restarted once. I believe it was like 6 years from XP to Vista.

Five years. It was four years between NT4 and W2K. In both instances Microsoft failed to achieve many of their stated goals.

In contrast the release times between W2K to XP, and Vista to Win7 is only two years. In both instances, they basically needed two more years to release the product they actually wanted.

Short is relative. In both instances the cycle was apparently two years short because they needed an OS to sell now.

EDIT: Or they really are that diabolical and figured all their clients were sheep to be fleeced.

LilCodger wrote:
Eezy_Bordone wrote:
LilCodger wrote:
Malor wrote:
From my perspective, this is still Windows 7, because this version is just a facelift for Vista, like XP was for 2K.

I consider XP and 7 to be "this is the OS we meant to release but screwed ourselves with a short release cycle."

A short release cycle for Vista? The thing was in develepment for YEARS and even scrapped/restarted once. I believe it was like 6 years from XP to Vista.

Five years. It was four years between NT4 and W2K. In both instances Microsoft failed to achieve many of their stated goals.

In contrast the release times between W2K to XP, and Vista to Win7 is only two years. In both instances, they basically needed two more years to release the product they actually wanted.

Short is relative. In both instances the cycle was apparently two years short because they needed an OS to sell now.

EDIT: Or they really are that diabolical and figured all their clients were sheep to be fleeced.

It seems to me that in both situations, Microsoft implemented many features that people ended up not liking. I don't see how they would have known (except with better customer testing) that these features shouldn't have been implemented. For the mass market, Vista's two main problems were that it was slow and that it was annoying as hell, asking if you wanted to do things constantly. The slowness could have been worked on with more time (and supposedly was with patches although I didn't see any difference), and the second could be disabled with a setting. These kinds of user experience features wouldn't have magically righted themselves in 2 years of development.

Actually, Microsoft mostly butchering UAC in Win 7 was a hideously bad idea. I VERY STRONGLY suggest that you turn this unpopular feature back on; set a password on your Administrator account and enable it, and then move your user account out of the Administrators group. This will give you a lot more security.

Vista did this right, and Microsoft should have been hardnosed about continuing on the old path of requiring an administrator password to make dangerous changes. The new 'click OK to continue' boxes are pure annoyance without any redeeming feature whatsoever.

That was the one thing that Vista really, really got right. Microsoft should have stuck to its guns and left that as the default, whether the world liked it or not.

Note that you will get lots of these prompts during initial system setup if you're not an admin, so logging in as Administrator while you get all your programs and drivers installed will save you some hassle. Then drop back to your User-level account and start creating your user data, like Firefox profiles. From then on, if the system asks you for a password, be aware that you're doing something potentially dangerous, and you should think about it.

It's a safety net, not an annoyance.

Malor wrote:
Actually, Microsoft mostly butchering UAC in Win 7 was a hideously bad idea. I VERY STRONGLY suggest that you turn this unpopular feature back on; set a password on your Administrator account and enable it, and then move your user account out of the Administrators group. This will give you a lot more security.

Vista did this right, and Microsoft should have been hardnosed about continuing on the old path of requiring an administrator password to make dangerous changes. The new 'click OK to continue' boxes are pure annoyance without any redeeming feature whatsoever.

That was the one thing that Vista really, really got right. Microsoft should have stuck to its guns and left that as the default, whether the world liked it or not.

Note that you will get lots of these prompts during initial system setup if you're not an admin, so logging in as Administrator while you get all your programs and drivers installed will save you some hassle. Then drop back to your User-level account and start creating your user data, like Firefox profiles. From then on, if the system asks you for a password, be aware that you're doing something potentially dangerous, and you should think about it.

It's a safety net, not an annoyance.

Steve Gibson is that you? Sorry, I have been listening to a bunch of "Security Now" podcasts in a row.

Heh, no. He writes better than I do by a long shot.

IMAGE(http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff145/Burnsknds/bill_murray_what_about_bob_i_feel_g.jpg)

Windows 10, more like.

Malor wrote:
Actually, Microsoft mostly butchering UAC in Win 7 was a hideously bad idea. I VERY STRONGLY suggest that you turn this unpopular feature back on; set a password on your Administrator account and enable it, and then move your user account out of the Administrators group. This will give you a lot more security.

Vista did this right, and Microsoft should have been hardnosed about continuing on the old path of requiring an administrator password to make dangerous changes. The new 'click OK to continue' boxes are pure annoyance without any redeeming feature whatsoever.

That was the one thing that Vista really, really got right. Microsoft should have stuck to its guns and left that as the default, whether the world liked it or not.

Note that you will get lots of these prompts during initial system setup if you're not an admin, so logging in as Administrator while you get all your programs and drivers installed will save you some hassle. Then drop back to your User-level account and start creating your user data, like Firefox profiles. From then on, if the system asks you for a password, be aware that you're doing something potentially dangerous, and you should think about it.

It's a safety net, not an annoyance.

There are two types of people. People that know how to manage the security of their system and understand what those prompts are asking and those that don't have a clue. The first doesn't need UAC and the second will answer yes all the time anyway.

I understand the idea, but my grandmother wasn't even able to use Vista without that setting off. She thought every message meant that she needed to get permission from someone to do something or she was going to jail. There is no setting that is perfect for everyone, but I had to turn this off for several people or they couldn't even use their PC.

Also, locking "critical system settings" like the time of day is ridiculous.

So, riddle me this: the Mac OS also prompts you continually for your password before running things deemed potentially hazardous to your machine, but I've spoken with no one who has used both a Mac and Vista who is bothered by the prompts on the Mac while most of them have complained about the prompts in Vista.

Personally, I suspect that it's not so much the feature as it is the implementation. The Vista prompts take a lot longer to come up, and by default they gray out your entire screen and jump to the front of the window stack. I don't think people were really bothered by having to grant permission to things so much as they were bothered that everything seemed to shut down until they did.

Windows has had pretty good security since the NT 3.51 days. The problem has been that Microsoft didn't turn it on by default until Vista.

I think the problem is the windows legacy, and the need for backwards compatibility. If you take programs from a time when programmers could reasonably do weird hacks and it was ok, to where everything is meant to play nice with security and multi-user environments a few things are going to fall off somewhere. When I first installed the win7 RC I couldn't get drag and drop to work with winamp, no errors or UAC, it just didn't work. The solution turned out to be to either turn off UAC or run as an administrator (I set both, so one of them cured it), with no hints how is anyone meant to guess what is going on and how to solve it.

Putting on my "everyone's an expert on the internet" hat, I can't see much progress being made until MS either break compatibility and and go for a windows system and all the software on it being 100% 'right' (at which point you might say, why not change to another OS), or split windows into new and secure and old and heavily sandboxed like the new XP mode.

adam.greenbrier wrote:
So, riddle me this: the Mac OS also prompts you continually for your password before running things deemed potentially hazardous to your machine, but I've spoken with no one who has used both a Mac and Vista who is bothered by the prompts on the Mac while most of them have complained about the prompts in Vista.

Personally, I suspect that it's not so much the feature as it is the implementation. The Vista prompts take a lot longer to come up, and by default they gray out your entire screen and jump to the front of the window stack. I don't think people were really bothered by having to grant permission to things so much as they were bothered that everything seemed to shut down until they did.

The Mac doesn't prompt you continually for potentially running things deemed potentially hazardous to your machine.

Keywords being continually and potentially.

On the Mac you get asked for your password when you install a program or update. That's it. You might get a warning if you download something suspicous....maybe.

On Vista you were prompted "continually" because "potentially" was defined very broadly. I think using your computer fit into that definition.

The Mac doesn't prompt you continually for potentially running things deemed potentially hazardous to your machine.

Apple ads notwithstanding, neither does Windows.

Malor wrote:
The Mac doesn't prompt you continually for potentially running things deemed potentially hazardous to your machine.

Apple ads notwithstanding, neither does Windows.

I boot into XP from time to time, and I use my folks Vista machine when I visit them. The number of prompts is far greater. I loathe booting into XP becasue of it. There may be ways to minimize the interruptions, but we all know that the masses don't tweak. Well, they do download Weather Bug, hence Microsoft assuming the mother hen role.

Also, I saw a weird Windows 7 commercial last night. Was this a stealth Apple ad?

It is windows 7 because it is the 7th version of NT kernal for windows. Win98/95/ME are just GUI over the top of DOS

WinNT 3.1
WinNT 3.51
WinNT 4
Win 2k
Win XP
Vista
Win 7

or at least that is what makes the most sense to me.

3.51, XP, and Win7 are largely facelifts for the prior versions, so your numbering doesn't work very well, Pharacon.

Pharacon wrote:
It is windows 7 because it is the 7th version of NT kernal for windows. Win98/95/ME are just GUI over the top of DOS

WinNT 3.1
WinNT 3.51
WinNT 4
Win 2k
Win XP
Vista
Win 7

or at least that is what makes the most sense to me.

6.1, actually (see CaptainCrowbar's post)

I'm assuming they just took the ceiling of the version number, or wanted people to associate 7 with luck or some other such nonsense. I've got to leave work early to go install it and get Steam reinstalled so I can get my Halloween hats.