Microsoft's Windows Blue looks to be named Windows 8.1

Microsoft's Windows Blue looks to be named Windows 8.1

Summary: The Windows Blue operating system update is likely to be named "Windows 8.1" when it hits later this summer, according to sources.


Microsoft officials supposedly have decided on the final name for Windows Blue. The final decision, one of my sources told me, is that it will be Windows 8.1.


The client version of Blue, codenamed Windows Blue, is a refresh of Windows 8. It is expected to be released to manufacturing around August of this year. As I've blogged a few times, Microsoft is planning to position Blue as part of the Windows 8 wave, not as Windows 9.

On Twitter this morning Roman L. (a k a @AngelWZR) tweeted a link to a screen shot, which I've embedded in this post, above, of what appears to be a build of Windows Blue that postdates the one that leaked a week ago. The week-ago leak was build 9364; the new one is 9375. It is labeled in AngelWZR's screen shot as "Windows 8.1 Pro." The original source of this screen shot is

"Well, maybe that's not an April Fools' joke," AngelWZR tweeted.

My Blue source said that the top-level branding will be "Windows 8" when Microsoft releases the 8.1 update — similar to the way that Microsoft's Windows Phone officials talked about the "Mango" (Windows Phone 7.5) release as part of the Windows Phone 7 family.

My tipster also says that Microsoft plans to refer to the Blue update for Windows RT as "Windows RT 8.1."

There's no word as to what, if anything, Microsoft plans to charge existing Windows 8 and Windows RT customers for Blue. 

Microsoft executives like Windows Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller have said repeatedly that Microsoft envisions Windows 8 as something more than a one-season wonder. Reller has said Microsoft considers Windows 8 a product "of multiple selling seasons." So it makes sense that Blue would be christened Windows 8.x, not Windows 9.

If it pans out that Microsoft has, indeed, opted for Blue to be named 8.1 — rather than 8.5 or 8.7 — I wouldn't be suprised to see the expected next couple of annual Windows client refreshes to also have an 8.X name when they roll out over the next few years.

Microsoft officials are not commenting about Blue, beyond acknowledging that the codename refers to the next wave of products from the company.

Topics: Windows 8, Tablets, PCs, Microsoft Surface


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Windows RT 8.1?

    Now that's a catchy name if ever I've heard one.
    Thomas Elliott
    • Hell of alot better than

      Oreo cookie, Gummy bear or Bengal Tiger IMO. (rolleyes)
      • Or every variety of kitty cats.

        Talk about non-imaginative.
        Curvă Țigani
    • Remember Windows NT 3.1

      The old days are back again. :)
      • Windows NT 4.1?

        Here's hoping it's more in the Windows NT 4.x line - those things were tanks as servers, and only needed to be shut down to replace had drive (if you lacked a hot-swap RAID). We set one up as our Windows Server and Exchange Server in 1996/97 and it ran like a top for nearly ten years...oh the "good old days"
        • As noted in the imbedded graphic ...

          ... Windows 8.1 is the equivalent of Windows NT 6.3. (Windows 2000 was officially "Windows NT 5.0" and Windows XP was "Windows NT 5.1". Vista was "Windows NT 6.0" and Windows 7 was "Windows NT 6.1". Windows 8 is officially "Windows NT 6.2" and, the above graphic defines Windows 8.1 as "Version 6.3"

          Frankly, I find it very confusing to use two different numbers to describe the same thing.
          M Wagner
          • Somewhat Agree

            Windows 8 actually was in the 6.1 version bracket till Microsoft had released the previews. When you're talking about Windows NT 5.x - 6.x you are actually referring to the NT Kernel whose version number changes with both service pack or update to the kernel. So while they technically refer to Windows "8.x" as 6.3 onward, it's still the same system but with a significantly updated kernel revision.
        • Windoze Blue is a non-starter

          Without the NATIVE ability to bring back the Start menu and disable the touch-tone Metro screen, this is a non-starter.

          You can only put so much lipstick on a pig.
          • You do realize...

            That as soon as anyone reads the first word of your comment - "Windoze" - your comment IMMEDIATELY loses any credibility, no matter what "brilliant insights" you may have embedded in there?
            Ehsan Irani
          • He knows that

            Since he can't offer brilliant insights, he just trolls for his masters.
            William Farrel
          • You do realize Iranian...

            That I really don't care about credibility. The fact that you noticed that means that I will continue to use it.

            I know it get's on Wilie's nerves, eh Wilie?

        • MS compromised NT4

          NT4 was nowhere as good as NT 3.5x when it came to stability. NT4 moved user and gdi into kernel space for performance gains but sacrificed stability and security.
      • Wow!!! You're right.....

        Closest prior experience, Win 3.0 was @#$@#$@# compared to Win 3.1....are we both ready to write our epitaths???? Sorry, gotta go buy some crutches......
    • Longer yet: Windows for Workgroups 3.11

      I'm showing my age with this one, but maybe we can hope for: Windows for Webgroups 8.11. Between bloated code, obnoxiously long shortcut names (remember those Word, Excel, Outlook etc. shortcuts which all started with "Microsoft Office..."?), and needlessly wordy messages, MS never has been particularly concise. To this day, every time I see "Windows Is Starting Up" I want to edit it to say "Starting Windows".
      • Don't call it age - its experience

        Now if you start talking about parking your hard drive, then we move into the realms of age.
        • Slight correction

          Back in those days we referred to it as 'Parking the Winchester'
          Dale Robins
      • But you're a computer professional.....

        They do have to consider what the "average Joe" understands since they sell to the public, not just us back off!!!!
    • It's still Win RT

      We don't call today's version Windows RT 8.0 so why would we call this one Windows RT 8.1?
      • Most likely to give Windows8 and WindowsRT more distinction

        I'm not saying it is a good choice.
      • I agree

        No one will care about the name/number. Everyone will just update and keep going on with their life...