Windows 7 to also be version 7 of the Windows kernel?

Almost anyone who has been following the development of Windows 7 knows that it's currently kernel version 6.1. But all that could be set to change, at least if an obscure MSDN page is to be believed.

In a page describing device installation with the Windows Driver Kit, the documentation shows "Msft.NT.7.0" being used as a label to specify drivers only for use with Windows 7.

Previously, Neowin reported that Mike Nash, Corporate VP of Windows Product Management, posted on on the Windows Vista Team Blog with the official explanation that Windows 7 would be kernel version 6.1.

"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."
Has this changed? Is "Msft.NT.7.0" just a way of expressing Windows 7 and not kernel version 7, if not, why not just say NT.6.1 in the INF? Or is the documentation incorrect? It remains to be seen.

Windows 7 RC is expected to go public on May 5, so hopefully that will reflect this change.

Screenshot as of April 20, 11:30AM GMT-6

(Thanks to Neowin member jamesVault who pointed out this page in our forums.)

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Windows 7 is Windows Vista...
Windows 7 is to fixing the broken hole in Windows Vista(not the sp1 or sp2) only the original vista code in 6.0.
Windows 7 i think is not really fully new OS. But remade from 6.0 into 6.1 called windows 7. But the result is better than vista. congratulation to Microsoft Windows 7 team.. until we see it on RC and RTM or GA..

Don't forget Windows 7 is start from build 6519. the interface look fully Vista but improved on faster booting compatibility and other great stuff. Now Windows 7 leak Build 7077 is in new GUI and new improvement(and hav little buggy). That make confusing on the user.
and I still think Windows 7 is not fully new Windows. But i like it.

need said,
Don't forget Windows 7 is start from build 6519. the interface look fully Vista but improved on faster booting compatibility and other great stuff. Now Windows 7 leak Build 7077 is in new GUI and new improvement(and hav little buggy). That make confusing on the user.
and I still think Windows 7 is not fully new Windows. But i like it.


no sir since 68** or close we had new GUI, and 7077 is the most less buggy build. unless u wanted to say little bugs

are u sure 68**... just research at google u will find the early build :P
7077 i try it..yes admit it little bugs..more to perfection...

Seems a little odd to me they'd would suddently change Win7 to NT7.0 My guess is this could be in relation to Win8, MS are working on it and this could be in relation to that, maybe.

Last I checked Windows was Microsoft's product. I'm pretty sure that they can says its whatever version they like, they could have called it Kernel 21.5 for all that it really matters, why?, because they make it, they can version it however they like.

honestly who cares, will having it 6.1 or 7.0 make me a coffee in the morning? will it resolve world peace? will it cause idiotic discussions on websites...

hardgiant said,
They should have used 6.9 or would that have broken compatibility as well?

That would likely have been okay, but would still have ended up confusing.

Um... no. They used 6.1 for obvious reasons.... that seem to have escaped you. So let me clue you in.

Developers ALWAYS increment their version numbers by the lowest stepping they can. For example, one would not ordinarily label the next version as "1.2" when "1.1" is still unused. The reason? There's only so many numerals in a decimal place. Ten of them, in fact. I know that's a big shock to those of you who live in a non-linear binary existence.

Anyways, what happens if Microsoft decides to make Windows 7 Second Edition, or Windows 7 R2. Or Windows 7 Server? What the ruck do then do them? Report the kernel as 6.9.1? No, they report it as 6.2 because (and I know it's hard to believe, but...) they actually know what they're doing.

This has all got a bit out of hand but I'll chime in for fun.
Nero has shown with the magic of version number 6.10 > 6.9 so it's not limited by 10.

Windows 7 was clearly kept as the retail name for marketing reasons IMHO. Windows 7 is just trying to sound like it's not related to Vista because of the bad name it managed to pick up after trying to replace the much beloved XP.
The reason they are distracting people from the 6.1 part is so people don't link it to Vista even though it's very much a refined Vista, not a fresh start.
The users said "we loved XP, what is this new Vista thing that is different?! I haven't tried it but this guy said it sucks so I hate it!".
Microsoft replied with "sorry our bad. Here is a new Windows, Windows 7!".

Its just a spit and polish to Vista just don't tell the users. The second time round I bet they'll accept it without even realizing how stupid it makes them look. The exact same applications that failed on Vista will fail the EXACT same way on 7. I think the net increase in compatibility for old applications from Vista to 7 is exactly zero. Not a thing has changed, because there was never a problem to solve. Other than from time to time you need to update programs and developers will need to update their coding styles to suite fancy new things like:
-multiple users; programs written correctly for this under Windows 95 would have worked already.
-default to limited users; the reason this was so delayed is how scared Microsoft was at breaking everything. It HAD to happen, Vista started it. Had applications since Windows 95 been written to MSDN guidelines they would have been 99% fit for Vista.

These 2 problems plagued Windows forever with security "problems" and at some point Microsoft had to bite the bullet and forcefully break all the ****ty applications lame developers had written and users had purchased. Microsoft had to enforce the guidelines that had already been given because noone was following them.

Windows 7 just gets to enjoy that applications have been updated for Vista already so magically everything will work in Windows 7. Hooray!

"Windows 7, theres nothing that new here, just users don't realize it's what they blindly rejected last time"

Oh btw, Windows XP enjoyed remotely decent compatibility because it was the 5th version of NT and Windows 2000 was so similar to it. But even still loads of people moaned about compatibility with their old lame crap they tried to run on their brand new OS. Just perhaps because that was a decade ago they forgot?
Most applications that fail from Windows version to Windows version are poorly written and not following MSDN guidelines. Programming things using your own weird hack at system hooks is stupid.
If an application can run on NT6 but not NT7 because of a different number the application was poorly written, or was written to do this for time bomb reasons to force users into upgrades during system upgrades. So next time Microsoft will do Windows 8 as NT 6.1.1 so apps written to not run at .1 points can run? Think about it, it's not the version number that breaks it! The program purposely checks the version and by it's own choice picks to not run on the next version of Windows. Windows 9 NT 6.1.1.0.0.0.0.0.0.1 because once apps cotton on to the pattern, they'll fix it and Microsoft to make these apps run will make the version to work around.

Bahahahaha what a joke all of this is. Microsoft did 6.1 for compatibility ahahaha. Man honestly I'm laughing that some of you guys accept that.

Owenw said,

Windows 7 has most of MinWin integrated in it. If you didn't see the article, it's here: http://www.neowin.net/news/main/08/12/03/windows-7-is-minwin

MinWin is essentially just the Kernel tidied up.

IIRC MinWin is more than just the kernel; it is the complete stack being componentised - it is a large a complex project and it isn't finished. There is still more work that apparently has to be done.

Jim Achlin was interviewed as to how Windows got to the situation it did.

rakeshishere said,
Ok.. i partly agree with what Brandon Live says... but wont this break the apps,drivers etc ?? OR will it still be reported v6.1 internally

I think you need to read what he said again. It will be reported as 6.1.

(Disagreeing with him would be a little foolish, as he works for MS)

I do not disagree with your subject matter Kirk, but unless it is Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer, and even then, no one knows EVERYTHING. I don't think they go to every MS employee and tell them every last thing that has happened in the past, present, and what will happen in the future.

Steven77 said,
I do not disagree with your subject matter Kirk, but unless it is Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer, and even then, no one knows EVERYTHING. I don't think they go to every MS employee and tell them every last thing that has happened in the past, present, and what will happen in the future.

I would think that when you're about to go into RC stage, you don't suddenly pull the rug from under your own employees.

Msft.NT.7.0

This sounds like something else than the kernel build string though. :)

I have never seen anything quite like it; it could be how it identifies itself to various drivers? Hmm, a driver dev could probably clear this up.

I thought the driver-devs learned their lesson with the Vista release.
DO NOT CHECK FOR VERSION NUMBER, CHECK FOR CAPABILITIES!
The version number should be removed completly imo.

I don't know how many times i've had to bypass the version-check on installers and still be able to complete the installation without any problems at all.

Yeah, this doesn't make any sense. Almost since Vista Microsoft has been saying that the compatibility issues were due to devs tieing the application to the windows kernal version. So in order to avoid this causing compatibility problems (They they said a number of times that this was a bad programming practice), Microsoft was just going to use a minor revision. Not sure what happens when they do have to make a major revision...

7.0 but it will report itself as 6.1

As Brandon said, there is no kernel version. The OS name is Windows 7, and it will identify itself as 6.1, and that's that.

Name: en_windows_driver_kit_release_7_0_7000_1_dvd_x86_x64_ia64_x15-29102.iso Date Posted (UTC): 12/30/2008 7:17:15 PM

On MSDN Subscriber downloads page

ThE kernal wudnt change anything else in the OS itself just compatibility issues... I wish they wud change some of the Visual styles and the themes and some new features maybe wud do the job!!

That's what actually would make sense. So Windows 8 would be version 7.0? This is insane.
Call it version 7.0. Everybody that matters know the OS is a medium kernel evolution over Vista. Not a big one, like from XP to Vista.

That's what actually would make sense. So Windows 8 would be version 7.0? This is insane.

I think rather 6.2, again to not break compatibility with Vista.

Look at the "parent" page "Combining Platform Extensions with Operating System Versions" :

OSMajorVersion
A number that represents the major version number for the operating system. The following table defines the major version for the Windows operating systems.Windows version Major version
Windows 7 6
Windows Server 2008 6
Windows Vista 6
Windows Server 2003 5
Windows XP 5

OSMinorVersion
A number that represents the minor version number for the operating system. The following table defines the minor version for the Windows operating systems.Windows version Minor version
Windows 7 1
Windows Server 2008 1
Windows Vista 0
Windows Server 2003 2
Windows XP 1

winkento said,
Look at the "parent" page "Combining Platform Extensions with Operating System Versions" :

OSMajorVersion
A number that represents the major version number for the operating system. The following table defines the major version for the Windows operating systems.Windows version Major version
Windows 7 6
Windows Server 2008 6
Windows Vista 6
Windows Server 2003 5
Windows XP 5

OSMinorVersion
A number that represents the minor version number for the operating system. The following table defines the minor version for the Windows operating systems.Windows version Minor version
Windows 7 1
Windows Server 2008 1
Windows Vista 0
Windows Server 2003 2
Windows XP 1


You would be correct, sir, if Windows 7 and Windows Server 08R2 were minor versions.

....but they aren't.

From what I read. 7.0 is used for drivers SOLELY for windows 7. It doesn't mean that it wont be using 6.1 to improve compatibility.

I highly doubt they'll bump the kernel version of their new OS right before it hits release candidate. That would send OEMS that are busy building PCs for Windows 7 scurrying for months making sure the software and drivers they've probably already staged work properly. I think that article is old.

I have my doubt the kernel will be bumped up from 6.1 to 7.0. Not only would this affect compatibility, nothing has been confirmed from Microsoft yet.

Kevin. said,
I have my doubt the kernel will be bumped up from 6.1 to 7.0. Not only would this affect compatibility, nothing has been confirmed from Microsoft yet.


The kernel version number is always bumped up isn't it?

Xp was 5.0
Vista was 6.0
7 is 7.0 or should be anyways

Unless of course I'm wrong

Well yes, but your numbers are wrong:

2000 was 5.0, XP was 5.1, Vista was 6.0 and Windows 7 is 6.1.

Every MAJOR release gets a major revision number, all the MINOR releases get a minor revision number. XP was a refinement of 2000, so only got a .1 increase and Windows 7 is a refinement of Vista, so also has only got a .1 increase.

I'd be very surprised if MS bumped the revision from 6.1 to 7.0 at this stage, personally.

/- Razorfold said,
The kernel version number is always bumped up isn't it?

Xp was 5.0
Vista was 6.0
7 is 7.0 or should be anyways

Unless of course I'm wrong

2000 = 5.0
XP = 5.1
Server 2003 = 5.2
Vista/2008 = 6.0
7 Beta/2008 R2 Beta = 6.1

Kevin. said,
I have my doubt the kernel will be bumped up from 6.1 to 7.0. Not only would this affect compatibility, nothing has been confirmed from Microsoft yet.


Bumped?

Windows 7 is Windows 7.0. It has always been "kernel 7.0" if that even means anything. The 6.1 version number, as has been explained many many times, is returned by the versioning APIs for compatibility purposes.

It does mean A LOT Brandon. Windows 7 was supposed to be Windows 6.1 and 7 was just a marketing trick. Typically when MS changes the kernel a lot they select higher number for the major version part. In the most common case that means different driver acrhitecture which is not the case with Windows 7. Windows 5 (Windows 2000) was complete overhaul over the previous generation for example.

Philip Hristov said,
It does mean A LOT Brandon. Windows 7 was supposed to be Windows 6.1 and 7 was just a marketing trick. Typically when MS changes the kernel a lot they select higher number for the major version part. In the most common case that means different driver acrhitecture which is not the case with Windows 7. Windows 5 (Windows 2000) was complete overhaul over the previous generation for example.


What?!?

We named it Windows 7 from the beginning, it wasn't even marketing that originally chose that brand, it was our internal "code name." The builds were versioned at 7.0. It broke compatibility for too many apps/drivers, so we changed the versioning APIs to report 6.1 to reflect the level of compatibility that should be expected by pre-existing software.

I thought we'd been over this. Windows 7 is Windows 7.0. There are far more important things than driver architecture that change (and hell, there are driver architecture changes in Win7).

So no, there is no "Windows 6.1 kernel" and never was. There's just the Windows 7 kernel. This is how it's always been, this article is just silly.

Brandon Live said,
Bumped?

Windows 7 is Windows 7.0. It has always been "kernel 7.0" if that even means anything. The 6.1 version number, as has been explained many many times, is returned by the versioning APIs for compatibility purposes.


Well that explains it. Thank you for clearing things up.

I can understand why it was left at 6.1 - so that existing vista based installers will install under win7...

But
"The following example shows an INF Manufacturer section with various INF Models sections that will prevent Setup from installing a device on x86-based systems not running Windows Vista.

[Manufacturer]
%Msft% = Msft, NTx86.6.0, NT.7.0

;For Windows Vista only

[Msft.NTx86.6.0]
%NetVMini.DeviceDesc% = NetVMini.ndi, rootNetVMini ; Root enumerated
%NetVMini.DeviceDesc% = NetVMini.ndi, {b85b7c50-6a01-11d2-b841-00c04fad5171}NetVMini ; Toaster Bus enumerated

;For Windows 7 and later

[Msft.NT.7.0]"

Doesn't that thus allow different xp,vista, and windows 7 installs ? so if win 7 sees "Msft.NT.7.0" it will install that branch instead of the 6.0 branch?

Philip Hristov said,
It does mean A LOT Brandon. Windows 7 was supposed to be Windows 6.1 and 7 was just a marketing trick. Typically when MS changes the kernel a lot they select higher number for the major version part. In the most common case that means different driver acrhitecture which is not the case with Windows 7. Windows 5 (Windows 2000) was complete overhaul over the previous generation for example.

For the record, you're talking to an MS employee

Regardless of when the number 7 was decided I think we can be sure that it was chosen for marketing reasons. When you look at the history of the NT product line you see that any other of this level of would have been a point release; the 2000 to XP is a perfect example. Also, Windows Server 2008 is based on the same code base as Vista. Windows Server 2008 R2 is based on the Windows 7 code base. You can't tell me that an "R2" upgrade represents a major upgrade to the product line yet is the same code that on the client side they claim is a major upgrade. Regardless of what it actually is, the kernel version number should be 6.1, dispite what any 24 year old MS employee may tell you.

Brandon Live said,
What?!?

We named it Windows 7 from the beginning, it wasn't even marketing that originally chose that brand, it was our internal "code name." The builds were versioned at 7.0. It broke compatibility for too many apps/drivers, so we changed the versioning APIs to report 6.1 to reflect the level of compatibility that should be expected by pre-existing software.

I thought we'd been over this. Windows 7 is Windows 7.0. There are far more important things than driver architecture that change (and hell, there are driver architecture changes in Win7).

So no, there is no "Windows 6.1 kernel" and never was. There's just the Windows 7 kernel. This is how it's always been, this article is just silly.


Yeah, I would listen to Brandon Live. He's right, you know.

Isn't at this point in 2009 a way to just write windows to make it say 6.1 if the app HAS to have it and 7.0 by default? This is coming from someone who knows very little about writing code.

crazlunatic said,
For the record, you're talking to an MS employee

That doesn't necessarily mean much. Microsoft is so big, one hand doesn't know what the other does (This is something I have been told by a Microsoft employee, btw ;)) (not want to question Brandon's credibility, I don't know him, just want to comment on the being MS employee part)

Shouldn't compatibility mode take care of apps that need to see something like version 6.1 to run fine on Windows 7? Programs that rely on such version checks seem to be badly designed anyway. This argument seems to me more like marketing talk.

I can't imagine it breaking things that much unless they are doing some very specific things. That said, I can't see them changing it.