What is the real version number of Windows 8?

real version of windows 8 poster

Simpler Times...

Today Microsoft launched its latest version of its iconic Operating System: Windows 8.  There have been many version of Windows over the years, and one can’t help but wonder what justifies this version number.  Microsoft and other technology companies have over-written and re-named their product history before, so we take a good hard look at all the previous operating systems to see if the numbers add up.

Microsoft Windows started as version 1.0 as an add-on to the DOS operating system.  The product was a simple GUI program that was little more than a visual file manager.  Windows 2.0 was released to take advantage of the features offered by Intel’s 286 processor.  Windows 3 is the version that really started Microsoft on its current path of success.

 

All of these versions numbers are very logical and can be easily counted.  Where things start to get a little ambiguous is when Windows NT is thrown into the mix.

On the next page we start at the simple and humble beginning…

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9 Comments

  1. ocmodshop

    October 27, 2012 at 8:46 am

    This article is an exercise of reductio ad absurdum. Even with a conclusion reached with evidence and logic, there still is no clear answer. Yes, I'm aware that Windows 8 has a version of NT 6.2, but as Tam pointed out (and I did on the first page of the article), Windows NT 3.1 really should have been NT 1.0.

    Why is it that Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 are considered subversions of each other (NT 6.0, NT 6.1 and NT 6.2) when Microsoft marketed them as completely different OSes? I didn't mention this in the article because it was long enough…

    The whole thing doesn't make sense. This article simply counts up all of the products that have had the name "Windows" and lays out the evidence.

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  4. Sixshot

    October 27, 2012 at 3:55 am

    I dunno how to interpret or what to make of this… I'll refrain from making critical points. Instead, I'll just lay it out in a simple form.

    1 = Windows 1.x
    2 = Windows 2.x
    3 = Windows 3.x
    4 = Windows 9x/Me
    5 = Windows XP
    6 = Windows Vista
    7 = Windows 7

    And…

    NT3.x = Windows NT 3.x
    NT4.0 = Windows NT 4.0
    NT5.0 = Windows 2000
    NT5.1 = Windows XP
    NT6.0 = Windows Vista
    NT6.1 = Windows 7

    Yes, there are disparities. Yes, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Rather than trying to break it down and be technical about it, instead consider each release in a simpler generational matter. For the first part I laid out, each number is to coincide with a generational consumer release of Windows. In the 4th generation consumer release, we got Windows 95, which also includes Windows 98 and its follow-up derivatives, like a family. When Windows XP came about, it became the 5th generation consumer release, as it is the first consumer release of Windows based on Windows NT codebase. Again, by following that rule, then you run into some inconsistency. And again, that's where you have to stop trying to be technical about it and focus on how to simplify the number flow.

    Only the geeks and nerds are going to know the difference between one version and the next. If people wonder where that 7 came from, then go read this:
    http://blogs.windows.com/windows/archive/b/window

    • ocmodshop

      October 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Thanks for that link. So, they DID lump in Windows 9.x with NT 4.0! I knew it!

  5. N2JC

    October 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Such a lengthy article to guess what version Windows 8 actually is when a few clicks of the mouse would tell you it's version it is. There is no standardized version numbering system that everyone uses (look at Chrome and Firefox). Windows 8 is actually Windows NT version 6.2. It even says so in the About Windows box which you can access from any Windows Explorer window (not to be confused with Internet Explorer) by pressing ALT to get the File… menu, click Help and About Windows. It says right in the about box for Windows 8: "Microsoft Windows Version 6.2 (Build 9200)."

    The Windows NT code started at version 3.1. Windows 2000 is NT version 5.0, and XP is NT 5.1. Windows Vista was NT 6.0, Windows 7 is 6.1 and Windows 8 is 6.2. If you want to get technical about it and consider Windows NT 3.1 as NT 1.0, then Windows 8 is really Windows NT version 4.2.

  6. Tam

    October 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    The way I look at it is – since 'modern' Windows is based on the NT core, we have:

    1 – Windows NT 3.1
    2 – Windows NT 3.5 (and 3.51)
    3 – Windows NT 4.0
    4 – Windows 2000
    5 – Windows XP
    6 – Windows Vista
    7 – Windows 7
    8 – Windows 8

    Ta-da!

    • John Chow

      October 27, 2012 at 8:57 am

      I agree that NT 3.5 was significant enough to be considered its own OS, because that's the version that got really popular. But then again, I liked Windows 98 better than 95, so should it be considered a different version just because I like it better? Calling 3.5 a different version from 3.1 is subjective.

      Like Alan says, the final version of W8 "depends on how you look at it". Microsoft certainly did.

  7. Nerdderp

    October 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Excellent article man! Me and a buddy were talking about this the other day. Massive insight into the whole subject on your part. Thanks!