What was the code name for Windows 7?

Raymond Chen

A retrospective on Windows code names gave Blackcomb as the code name for Windows 7. That’s not quite correct.

The code name for Windows 7 was… Windows 7.

Windows XP was code named Whistler, which was the name of a city in British Columbia best known for its ski resort, also commonly referred to as Whistler. During this time, the code name given to “The version of Windows to come after Whistler” was Blackcomb, which is the name of a second mountain in the same resort, slightly further down the road.

However, so much work had been pushed into the Blackcomb release that it was clear that it couldn’t all be done in one release cycle, so selected portions were extracted into an interim release code named Longhorn, which is the name of a bar situated between the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

Longhorn was the code name for Windows Vista.

You might conclude, therefore, that Blackcomb was the code name for Windows 7.

But you’d be wrong.

So much work had been postponed into the Blackcomb project that it wasn’t so much a project as a wish list.

  • Whistler: Learn to play Für Elise.
  • Longhorn: Learn to play Träumerei.
  • Blackcomb: Learn to play all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, both of Brahms’s piano concerti, and while you’re at it, Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit.

The scope of work that was marked as “Blackcomb” was so large that it was effectively meaningless.

So it was all thrown out, and a new project started from scratch.

That project was code named Windows 7, based on the fact that Windows Vista’s programmatic version number was 6.0, and since this was the version to come next, the natural choice would be to call the next version 7.0. (Though that’s not what it ultimately shipped as.)

It was generally understood that this was just a code name, and the marketing department would give it a splashy name when the time came.

And when that time came, the marketing department decided that the splashy name was just the code name we’d been using all along.

How anticlimactic.

Windows 7 released to manufacturing ten years ago today.