Why Windows 8?

Windows 8’s name was chosen because it will be the 8th version of Windows. Double-checking this isn’t as easy as you may think and trips up many people. Here are the Windows versions that preceded Windows 8:

  1. Windows 1.0
  2. Windows 2.0
  3. Windows 3.0
  4. Windows 95 (Windows 4.0)
  5. Windows 2000 (Windows 5.0)
  6. Windows Vista (Windows 6.0)
  7. Windows 7 – Launching October 22nd 2009
  8. Windows 8!

Now, some of you who are paying attention will notice that Windows NT, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE and Windows Millennium. This is because:

  • Windows NT was actually treated asw Windows 3.1
  • Windows 98, 98SE and Windows Millennium shipped as 4.0.1998, 4.10.2222, and 4.90.3000

Now, to make matters even more confusing Microsoft have versioned Windows 7 as Windows 6.1. However, they are still treating it as ‘Windows 7’ because of the significance of the release.

There you go – hope that makes sense now!

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24 Responses to Why Windows 8?

  1. Adam Dempsey July 25, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    What about XP? Wasn’t that 5.1 or something?

  2. Adam Tiley July 25, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    Does that mean that they are planning the next OS to be big….Windows vista was a step to something big and apparently it was just a ‘beta’ of an upcoming O.S, maybe Windows 7 is the same? Maybe Microsoft are planning their Windows to eventually become insanely amazing! …Or maybe not..

    • Everton July 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

      I think microsoft have cheated a bit by calling Vista 6.0 and not 5.2, as Windows 7 really deserved the jump to 6 in my view and not Vista.

      Given that Vista to Windows 7 still isn’t a big jump, I think Windows 8 will warrant a new number

      • wier11 August 26, 2009 at 11:03 am #

        Windows 7 is 6.1 because of compatibility issues. Programs that check the win version to be 6.x will be compatible with win 7 too, because the core of it doesnt differ that much from Vista!

      • khairul1 September 20, 2009 at 4:07 am #

        Microsoft said that the reason they didn’t jump to 7.0 is because of program compatibility issues. Some older programs will be happy to operate on a system that’s got a 6 at the beginning but nothing more than that.

        Apparently, Microsoft learnt that lesson from Vista.

  3. JMR July 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    and where is windows XP on this list?

    • Everton July 29, 2009 at 7:57 am #

      see comments – XP was 5.1

  4. IEuser July 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    Windows 8 really sucks. It crashes on me every single time on website like nytimes.com. And the character encoding completely not working. what the hell??

    • Everton July 31, 2009 at 12:44 am #

      are you sure you are using windows 8 and not windows 7?

      • Croatia August 7, 2009 at 4:39 am #

        I think he meant Internet Explorer 8 🙂

    • Rob August 18, 2009 at 8:47 am #

      and he called him self ‘IEuser’… say no more

    • khairul1 September 20, 2009 at 4:09 am #


  5. mattdesilva September 7, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    personally I don’t care what they call it, Win7 is great and I just hope that Microsoft continue with the improvements that have been shown so far

  6. John Platts December 7, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    Even though the internal version number used on Windows 7 is 6.1, Windows 8 would probably have an internal version of 8.0. This will probably not break most applications because of the following:
    – Applications carrying the Windows logo must be able to run properly with Windows major version numbers greater than 6
    – Applications must be able to handle Windows major version numbers greater than 5 to support Windows Vista and later, and would probably run correctly with an internal version number of 8.0
    – Developers of applications would be aware of the Windows major number change prior to the Windows 8 release, and would take that into account in Windows version checking code
    – Software vendors would deliver patches or new Windows 8 compatible releases to fix problems in version checking code
    – Windows 8 would contain compatibility modes that would allow applications with incorrect version checking to install and run properly on Windows 8

    Other reasons why Microsoft would want to have the actual internal version of Windows 8 to be 8.0 instead of 6.2, 7.0, or 7.1:
    – Microsoft actually skipped internal version numbers in Microsoft Office two times. First, Microsoft Office 95 had a version number of 7.0, whereas the version of Microsoft Office preceding Office 95 had a version number of 4.3. Second, Microsoft Office 2010 has an internal version of 14.0, whereas Microsoft Office 2007 has an internal version number of 12.0.
    – Microsoft Visual C++ 4.0 was the next version of Visual C++ after Microsoft Visual C++ 2.2
    – The first version of Windows NT was Windows NT 3.1, and not Windows NT 1.0. This is because Microsoft had already released Windows 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 before Windows NT was released.
    – Confusion would be eliminated if the release version number and the internal version numbers actually matched.

  7. go4it7arh January 22, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    I think the reason they have it like that is because Windows XP is just windows 2000 with a theming experience, really. That’s most of the difference, at least. I mean there was a lot of bugfixes too, but yeah. Same with Windows 7. It’s called Windows 6.1 because it’s Vista with tons of fixes, instead of entirely redesigned.

  8. go4it7arh January 22, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    Windows won’t call their next version Windows 8, because then it would be even more confusing, as the version number would actually be 7.0. Windows 7 isn’t the seventh version of Windows, it’s just Vista with tons of fixes, and a hint of new stuff. Since the poster didn’t count XP/98/98SE/ME as new versions because they weren’t .0 as the version number, Windows 7 shouldn’t be counted either. According to the way that he wrote this, Windows 8 will ACTUALLY be called Windows 7, as it will be 7.0… unless they actually just add more pointless stuff to Windows 7, to make it even more confusing. Windows 8 as 6.2 o_O 🙂

  9. Eidbest February 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    No matter what Microsoft will do, XP will remain the king of he hill for most of us.

    • Online Shopper March 30, 2011 at 1:57 am #

      I wouldn’t think so as Windows 7 is superior in terms of performance and stability, even when compared to Windows XP

  10. GameDev April 10, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    uhmm linux is more resource efficient an offers same functionality, I’d like to see microsoft break the visuals/application functions to hardware limit (efficiency)
    and the price per feature barrier

  11. Comments June 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    So Windows 3.1 was what? Windows 3.1* ?

  12. Comments June 9, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    …XP will remain the king of he hill
    So then Vista is Dale Gribble?

  13. Pictures June 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Windows 8 has got many new features that i like the most, one of it is touch screen. In addition to this the main feature that was shown is the extensively redesigned user
    interface. The Start menu is replaced by the new “Start screen”, which
    includes live application tiles. The user can return to the regular
    desktop by choosing a “Desktop” application. Examples of applications on
    the Start screen include a weather application, Windows Store,
    Investments, RSS news feeds, user’s Personal Page, and user’s Windows
    Live Account.

  14. Doberman71969 September 24, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    So tired of the upgrade game Microsoft plays. Gonna get me a box, run Win 2000 Server, and dual boot with SOLARIS.

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