Windows Software Versions

Nick Scott of Tech Republic updated his informal version history of Windows products. This is good information to have. Here is the PDF version.

Below is a legend with comments.

  • Release date. This is the month and the year in which a particular release was made available. Bear in mind that there can be multiple release dates. For example, was Windows 7 released in August 2009 or October 2009? Well, it depends on how you look at it. The RTM bits were available starting August 6, 2009, but general availability didn’t hit until October 22, 2009.
  • Software title/version. For example, Windows XP, Exchange Server 2003
  • Revision level. RTM, SP1, etc.
    • CU stands for Cumulative Update.
    • CH stands for Cumulative Hotfix.
    • HF stands for Hot Fix.
    • UR stands for Update Rollup.
    • RTM stands for Release to Manufacturing. He uses RTM to describe the initial release of a product. Technically, every release has an RTM period, but RTM is commonly used in the manner in which I’ve described.
  • Build number. The internal build number often causes confusion because it doesn’t always match the product name. For example, Windows 7 RTM has a build number of 6.1.7600.16385, thereby proving to some that Windows 7 is a minor release. The build number is simply an interval versioning mechanism. He only included release versions of products; no beta versions are included.
  • Mainstream. This is the date Microsoft ended or will end mainstream support for the currently supported version of the product.
  • Extended. This is the date Microsoft ended or will end extended support for the currently supported version of the product.
  • SP retired. This is the date the service pack was or will be retired from support.

Note: Some date and build information is missing because he could not find a resource that outlined that particular data point. Also, there are a lot of missing pieces in the new columns: mainstream, extended, and SP retired.