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Why is it called Windows 10 and not Windows 9?

Monday April 6, 2015    12:40 PM

By Jamie Lendino | ExtremeTech.com

Now that Windows 10 development is in full swing, with the new Spartan browser and new Technical Preview builds appearing on a regular basis, let’s take a step back for a moment and address one of the most confusing things about the next version of Windows. When Microsoft announced its newest operating system, the surprise was not that it was coming, but that Windows would be skipping 9 and heading straight to 10. When asked about Windows 10’s name, Microsoft never gave a clear answer. So why, exactly, is Windows 10 getting the nod instead of 9?

Version numbers, schmersion numbers

You may remember that between Windows 3 and Windows 7, versions of Windows were designated by a name rather than a number: 95, 98, NT, Me, 2000, Vista, and so on. When Microsoft announced Windows 7, there was actually a similar amount of disbelief; after a series of named versions of Windows, it seemed odd to jump back to numbers.

There’s also the fact that the name of each Windows release doesn’t actually match the real version number. For example, Windows 8.1 is actually version 6.3 of Windows. Windows 10 is version 6.4. The last time the release name actually matched the version number was the enterprise-focused Windows NT 4.0, which was released back in 1996. Windows 2000, which was called NT 5.0 during development, was actually version 5.0. Windows XP was version 5.1. Windows Vista was 6.0, Windows 7 was 6.1, Windows 8 was 6.2, and Windows 8.1 is version 6.3.

Windows RT, which only ran Metro apps, was a new and separate beast, but it still sat on top of the core Windows NT kernel. It’s dead now.

Technically, modern versions of Windows are still based on the Vista kernel and code base — including Windows 10, which is actually Windows 6.4. There will be some confusion if (or when) we eventually reach internal version 7.0, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Alternative theories for skipping Windows 9

First, an ExtremeTech reader called Benny sent an email to say that the number 9 is considered unlucky in Japan. ... [Full Story]