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Microsoft says the kernel version for Windows 10 will jump from 6.4 to 10.0

Microsoft is letting software developers know ahead of time of a major change in the kernel version number for Windows 10, which will soon jump from the current 6.4 to 10.0. This change could affect older Windows applications running on the OS.

Earlier this week, online reports claimed that an unreleased version of Windows 10 showed a change in the kernel version to 10.0. The current public build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, 9879, still has the 6.4 version number. However, a page on Microsoft's MSDN website for Internet Explorer developers does indeed mention the upcoming change to 10.0:

"Developers preparing for Windows 10 should note that the Windows NT value in the UA string will change from 6.4 to 10.0 with the new release. If you have code that depends on the version number, we advise that you update to allow for the new value."

This is the first major change in the kernel version number for Windows in several years, and while the regular user of Windows 10 will likely not notice any direct changes, it might cause some problems for older Windows programs that were coded with the older kernel number in mind.

Microsoft won't change the kernel number on the public build of Windows 10 to 10.0 until early 2015, when the consumer preview of the operating system is likely to be released.

Source: MSDN (opens in new tab) via WinBeta

153 Comments
  • Leap number.
  • 2015 is the leap year for MS... ;)
  • Now, poorly coded drivers will likely not work in Windows 10! Some drivers doesn't even work on 8, need some serious research and hack to install, now this?
  • Why on earth would you use poorly coded drivers? Are you self-loathing?...
  • Because hardware manufacturers doesn't create drivers of the competitor's hardware, they're the only one who create a driver for their own hardware. And most of it is not forward-compatible, e.g. Embedding the kernel version on their codes!
  • Microsoft includes tons of its own drivers for various OEM hardware. They also might develop a way to fool drivers coded for the old driver value. Don't freak out just yet. Still plenty of time.
  • Hope that will come true. But I personally think radically changing the kernel version is a bad move on MS. No one really cares about it so why unify it with the OS version? What's next? Changing the . NET version to 10?!
  • hope!!
  • If that were true, hardware people would not be in business very long. You always build for those selling your product.
     
  • So you'd prefer hacked solutions to continue rather than getting a new kernel and proper coding?
  • Wouldn't they still have an issue going from 6.3 to 6.4? Or are they coded to work with a range of values up to a certain number, e.g.; 6.4?
  • If they're coded badly they may have a similar issue as IE10, where sites were checking the first digit of the version to see if it was larger than a certain threshold. Because they only checked the first digit, 1 is the lowest.
  • Does that mean that Windows Phone's kernel will be jump to 10 as well?
  • Yes.
  • Yes because there will be no more Windows Phone. It's one OS for all Devices. So you have the same OS on your phone like on the PC, it just changes its behavior and style.
  • Cool... Can't wait for next year :)
  • Bia betik?
  • really papaya?
  • Lie mango !
  • Le coconut
  • le tamatar
  • Lol
  • Betik la baq ang
  • Betik la papaya
  • Batida de papaya. Muy buena. Posted from The Dark Side.
  • Shits happen...
  • Yes, sometimes in plural!
  • Punny!
  • lola
  • Especially after a bad burrito...
  • Hahaha
  • Ahem, burrito is sacred. Lol
  • Finaly new improved kernel.A real change in OS afterall.Nice:)
  • What's the Kernel?
  • The part of the OS which directly communicates with the hardware, I guess.
  • Yeep, That's true. The kernel is the base code that all of the OS components rely on to make use of each part of your hardware.
  • Copy/paste your comment into Google/Bing and you'll get the answer.
  • A heart of operation system.What is Fahmi Bassem?
  • A human name.
  • The heart of the OS.
  • Sorry.English is not my native language...But you know what I mean...
  • Nha, 6.2 was also a major change to the kernel. 6.1 was smaller, but was a good change too. Keep in mind that Windows 7 has been developed in its first stage with NT 7.0 instead of 6.1.
  • What no 9
  • 7 eight 9
  • Die
  • Try it.
  • The bad brother of 6
  • It was about time to do that, finally!
  • Maybe because of the one Windows strategy
  • Apdina enathu -_-
  • Adhan meka potrukangala padinga g
  • Tamizhan da naanum thaan yaa
  • Namba aalunga yella edathulaum irupanga ;);)
  • OS udaya core da! Bing la thedi paaru.
  • Wikbangathu formayan gu pork haha ;)
  • ^ this guy gets it ;)
  • Compatibility mode would resolve those issues... Or like a Windows 7/8.x mode which has a VM.
  • Maybe its a way to also kill off non active legacy applications that have been around forever. If you have to recode your app it might as well be ported to windows store lol.
  • +920 But I don't think they'll have to recode the entire application. Just replace the parts which still have 6.X in it with 10.0
  • Hopefully not! One of Windows' greatest strengths is that older software tends to still work as expected. If this changes, Windows won't be Windows anymore.
  • Uh oh. This made me nervous. I hope i won't need to uprgrade my hardware for Win10
  • That's what I'm worried about with wp... As its gunna run the same OS when win10 comes out on both computer and wp... Hopefully the current wp's will still get it like they said we would... :|
  • Did you not see the article saying that all WP 8.x hardware will work with 10?
  • Still running a 386 with white labeled boards?
  • It is just a number...and the kernel does not require more powerful hardware. Inform yourself about what a kernel is ...
  • I think the worst is warranted. If the small change affects hardware and the manufacturer of that hardware doesn't update, then what?
  • I think HTC users need to be worried. Lumia users not so much, Microsoft is giving all Lumia owners Windows 10
  • They won't make you have a hardware upgrade for 10. Unless your computer is like 10 years old. Think about this, Windows 8.1 runs on computers Vista wouldn't run on. This is a corporate friendly update. They're going to make sure it's compatible with current hardware. Otherwise corporations wouldn't touch it.
  • Makes sense to have the same kernel version as the os version...but will it cause serious compatibility issues?? If Microsoft can pull this off with minimum issues will be a great achievement...Just hope they don't screw this thing up...Because the fate of Windows 10 largely depends on the kernel that will be somewhat common for all..
  • Why does it "make sense?" There is absolutely no precedent for it on any platform.
  • 6 to 10? Will Windows phone 8.1 survive?
  • I think their plan is to switch to win 10 completly,so my answer would be "no".
  • They already said all windows phone 8 devices will get windows 10.
  • Has there actually been conformation aside from the tweet from the UK support agent?
    I.e., has Belfiore or anyone senior actually confirmed that all our WP8.1 phones will update to 10?
  • Yeah definitely, coz WP doesn't have to do anything with windows at least for now...and later on when windows 10 is launched it'll be launched for all windows phone's running WP 8.1...so the ans is "Yes". WP will survive
  • WP will definetly survive,but not WP 8.1:)
  • Nope it will be just windows 10 it will work on phone tablet and PC I dont understand what you don't understand about Microsoft saying it will be a unified OS across all devices or the fact that they are dropping the phone from windows phone. So yes its dead replaced by the better more capable windows 10
  • It's similar to folks being confuse for no reason with RT which Microsoft define  long before it came to market is for ARMS chips.
  • This is why they specifically said all Lumia devices will run windows 10, rather than all windows phone devices because Microsoft can rewrite the drivers for Lumia devices but the other manufacturers will have to rewrite the drivers for their own devices which Microsoft can't guarantee will happen.
  • Um, aren't drivers for mobile devices firmware? I think it only requires firmware then... No? =[
  • Yeah, and ms doesn't want to have to task their programmers with making every WP device work with 10. Its HTC, Samsung, etc, etc, who should have to pay to update their firmware. In the meantime the people who are forward thinking will only buy lumias. Win-win.
  • "6 to 10? Will Windows phone 8.1 survive?"   Everyone surely understands this has ZERO impact on Windows Phone software?   Also the kernel in Windows Phone 8.1 is actually 6.3 - you just never see it.    
  • Cosmetic changes. That's what Microsoft is all about lately.
  • Yup... :/
  • Reminds me of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3L4EZwmRrA&feature=player_detailpage#t=222
  • You mean that's all Windows is about, because they've pulled some drastic moves... Changing availability, opening software, offloading computing, uh, massive changeover, what else? It's not just pillow talk, baby. O_O
  • Look at what they are doing. Mostly busy in changing names (Nokia to Lumia, Bing to MSN, Link to Skype etc)
    What performance boost or any such sort is gonna be achieved by changing effing kernel number? It's not that I do not like it.
    But they seems too busy in looks (which is important) and not much in functionality. Numerous examples exist.
    4 years and they can't implement an effing printing capability in their phones? what development are you talking about?!
    I can go on and on..
  • Did it occur to you that maybe there are some improvements in the kernel?
  • Important post for developers
  • So If the kernel changes what's the difference?
  • It would be a big difference, but the kernel isn't changing, just the number so really it's no big deal. If the code you wrote looked for kernel 6.4 so it could do something different than say 6.2, essentially you just need to change your code to look for 10.0 instead of 6.4.
  • Cool, another new kernel, another reason to not upgrade their current phone to Windows 10.
  • Lol. Still based on NT. No worries
  • Lol hope they don't use it as an excuse, cuz I'm heading for a new Lumia right now
  • Not a new kernel at all. It's just the good old NT with a new numbering.
  • That you completely made up for yourself because you clearly hate and fear technology... What are you even talking about? It's people like you that spread rumors that are unfounded in any reality, yet it becomes the popular story. Like when people said ET was the worst game, AS IF! U_U
  • Just wait until THEY tell you this. Just one more year to go! Or who knows!
  • They already stated that all Lumia (WP8) devices will get upgraded to WP10.   You are worrying about nothing, as this is only a change in the number they are using. They could call it version 5000 and it would still be the same NT kernel they were using last week. Ok?  
  • Windows going for a perfect 10!
  • I guess they will release Win10 on October 10 2015. Noooo! No please.. ;(
  • Microsoft is poor in mathematics.. :P
  • Backwards compatibility? Or is this going to be another Vista scenario?
  • I don't see why Microsoft would rid itself of the Software Compatibility Troubleshooter. It has been with us since Vista for that very reason, so it should still be there...don't quote me though.
  • Back then some programs refused to work no matter what.
  • "Back then some programs refused to work no matter what."   Yes, but it wasn't because of a version number change. It was core incompatibility with the new stacks, specifically the audio and network stack changes that did away with the older inefficient models.   These types of changes are NOT happening with Windows 10. The changes from XP to Vista are on a level that in theory should not be neccessary on Windows ever again.    
  • Whoa!! It will ACTUALLY be a Windows 10 now! That's so cool!!
  • Why didn't this article end with "Will you have to make changes to your code because of the new version number?" :p
  • More apt title for the article.
  • It doesn't end with that because only dumb people would introduce version hacks into a program…
  • For phones or PC? Uhhh????
  • For any device this kernel runs on. Presumably both PC and phone.
  • So... What happens if they update it?? :/
  • The kernel number is typically referenced when making drivers for windows and some porgrams.  A program checks the kernel version, and if there is a match, then it installs.  If there is not a match then you get the 'this is not made for this version of Windows' error.  Whenever there are major changes to the kernel then a change of the revision number is a tool to prevent older software which may not play nice with the new way of doign things from installing and screwing everything up.  That is why the number is there, and it is a good and useful tool. Win10 is a major departure from Windows 8 in the way of the interface, and some of the tools that will be available, but the way things work behind the scenes most things are the same as win7, which is reflected by the kernel number not changing much.  By changing this to 10 it will artificially break things that are not broken, and that is annoying to both the programmers who write and maintain software, as well as the end users who use said software and cannot because it will no longer install. Not an 'end of the world' kind of big deal... but still a pretty major annoyance for MS partners, and seeing arbitrary changes like this occuring probably means that other bone-headed decisions are being made which does not bode well.
  • I'm excited about windows 10 for phone Microsoft should already tell us what's new in it. They should show us the glimpse what it would be like on phone!!
  • Doubtful, seems like marketing is driving here. Going from 6.x to 6.(x+1) just doesn't seem that impressive (to them) any more.
  • 0.1% of the population even knew that this version number existed. Hardly marketing driven.
  • This could actually be a good thing. Could weed out some high security risk apps.
  • I only hope the apps used in at my job are not too old for the new kernal. This part has to be done right.
  • Why didn't they changed it in the *technical" preview? Would've made more sense and gave developers time to test for the upcoming consumer preview.
  • It's a preview, not a RC
  • Off topic is anyone having issues with IE on w10??
  • Almost everyone, it's basically broken so far. That's why it's a preview, after all!
  • I don't mind but I must have missed the article, thanks.
  • http://windowscentral.com/commenting-guidelines
  • Why do think I'm asking here!
  • There is a whole Forum where you can discuss things in specifically targeted areas as you well know. The future kernel deployment and the new kernel number that is forthcoming did not break your IE as you well know.
  • Can you please tell me about this forum I've searched various was but never found what I was looking for.
  • Bull Snot... You've been posting there for 9 months out of the 1 year 11 months you've been a member. http://forums.windowscentral.com/   More on point, here is the Windows 10 preview area: http://forums.windowscentral.com/windows-10-technical-preview/
  • There's nothing there on Internet explorer. That's why I'm asking and I searched manually and nothing.
  • Teh interwebz... Yer doin' it wrong.
  • Great!!! ms presents their excuse in advance so they don't have to explain the lack of features in the phone 's version of Windows 10 come 2015. if people complain of crappy email attachment and crappy browser and multitasking and pathetic Xbox music, then ms will just say "sorry but we already told you that we were too busy upgrading the kernel".... Smart move by ms to appease the gullible WP users.
  • Well, they have waited long enough. I am just waiting for those who will be comparing it as strings :D
  • If tho happens it'll be Windows Vista all over again. Changing kernel versions like this can cause serious problems for older programs, games and drivers for older PCs. This is what happened with Vista, they went from NT 5.1 to 6.0 and hardly anything worked with it when it came out. While it may be better for the future of Windows (just like hoe NT 6.x was), it might hurt Windows 10 at launch just like what happened with Vista. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​
  • To be fair, merely changing the number is not what broke Vista.  Implimenting wide sweeping changes agross the OS architecture broke things.  Requiring 4GB of ram when the typical PC still shipped with 256MB broke things.  Running a rather intense UI on a flood of single core CPUs without a GPU off-load opiton broke things.  Forcing lazy device programmers to make their first ever 64bit drivers broke things.  When there are legitimate changes to the kernel, then the revision number SHOULD change to prevent potentially harmful dated drivers from being installed.  In the case of Vista it was real change that broke things, not an arbitrary number. Windows 10 however is a minor kernel change from win8/8.1.  It will essentially be Windows 8 with a new UI and a few power tools tossed back in that we have been missing from the old winNT/2K days.  Drivers have been, and largely will be, compatible between 8.x and 10 because behind the scenes not much is changing (don't mess with a good thing!).  Arbitrarilly changing the number without need will cause needless issues and require already annoyed OEM partners to become even more distant.  This is a dumb and stupid move.
  • End of the world? All my client's websites are ruined by the change of mvc version number. What do you want Microsoft?! Hell?!
  • That isn't even remotely related to the change in the Windows kernel version number.
  • Why would websites care about the OS version? They should only care about the browser version if anything.
  • So let me get this right... We are skipping Windows 9 mostly due to the windows 9x compatibility issue, but then we are going to go ahead and screw compatability by changing a meaningless NT kernel number that nobody except for developers will ever see or care about... Sometimes MS makes it very difficult to be a fan...  The person who made this decision likely makes similar BS decisions.  Find them, and fire them before they do any real damage.
  • This will affect me. I do imaging work and rely on MDT, so this will affect Microsoft own teams as well. I'm going to have update my scripts that check for windows versions based on the kernel number. Honestly though, it's not a big deal since I'd have had to enter in logic for 6.4 anyway, I'll just replace 6.4 with 10.0
  • It's November 2014 if Windows 10 is not ready till june 2015 like i suspect it will be because OEM's want to be selling new devices that are running Windows 10 before the 2015 Chrisitmas shopping season begins there may be enugh time for Microsoft to mount a really massive drive to get ot drivers for devices to run on Windows 10 OS devices. Microsoft has to make sure Windows 10 is Enterprise ready as well  as ready for the average Citizens of the world. I like windows 10 I surly hope Microsoft has learned it's lessons from dealing with Windows "Vista" and Early "Windows 8"  and makes a goog launch of the New MS Windows 10 OS. my Hind ite view is that over 2  years ago when Windows 8 was launched the Tiles interface should have only been on Tablets and touch screen devices and that Windows 7 should have been upgrade and renamed Windows 8 "mouse and keyboard edition" folks Microsoft would have gotten loads of partise for the tile interface on tablets and trusty old Desktop fans would have had their cvake and eat it too. If MS CEO Ndella is sharp he will have a version of Windows 7 updated and remamed Wiondows 10 "Mouse and Keyboard edition" to sell to the public Microsoft would make "TONS" of money and MS CEO Nadella would not get the scorn EX MS CEO Ballmer got when Windows 8 was was launched "
  • Woohoo! Driver problems!
  • Great...now I'll have to go check every single program I use to make sure it's compatible with the new Kernel or if it will give me any problems.   For Microsoft's sake, I hope none of them are incompatible or give problems. Though I can very well imagine developers putting problems on purpose just to get people to buy a newer version of the exact same software they already have.
  • accept it, you have no idea what this kernel change does or doesn't do.  if you don't know, go and do some  your head, because changing from 6.1 to 6.2 to 6.3 like happened in recent versions of Windows, can have the same effect going from 6.4 to 10.... and why didn't you worry about it? also Windows have many ways of compatibility, and then lie about it. like a program not being for WIndows 8.1, thinking you are running Windows 8.0. only bad developed apps should suffer from this, and I am sure developers if they are not too lazy, will fix it easily.
  • Windows 10 should be released on Christmas. so we can be happy and finally have an unifed experience with our Microsoft products ^____^ it sucks we have to wait still many months for that! but I am sure it will be a really great windows version.
  • Yea, even though I cant wait for the final, I would rather have them take their time here. I would rather see a polished OS, than somthing that was rushed out the door to meet a dedline.. Do you remember Vista ? Yea, Microsoft RUSHED it out the door, no drivers were ready and the ones that were there were buggy. And it caused Vista to be one of the worst OS's MS has ever made (after Sp1, it was actually really good). Most reviews were based off the release and everyone gave it a poor review..
  • Know what this actually means in the real world ? Old apps, a lot that are needed for the corporate world and I have a few that I NEED (no updated replacements) will not run on even Windows 10 x32 (already runing into a few apps that dont run in Win 10). This means that we can never rully get rid of Windows 7.. as these apps ran on XP and Windows 7....VMs will life for ever... This coudl also damange corporate acceptance of Windows 10....This is what MS is going after with Windows 10 because Windows 8 as a business sales aspect was a total flop. Oh, well, maybe I'll get lucky but, so far with Windows 10, I have found 2 key apps that I need, that will not even load up on x32/x64 (tried them both) of Windows 10...so I still have to use Windows 7...
  • How many people works on the windows 10 development team, tens, hundreds, thousends of people?. I'm curious about that, and why they change the kernel number from 6.x to 10, what is the logic behind that decision?
  • It's to facilitate the "one Windows for everything" strategy. Historically, Windows Phone 7.x has had a 7.x kernel version and 8.x has had an 8.x kernel version. With Windows 10, the kernel version is going to be consistent across platforms. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • It might make sense for end users, but developer should take care of this change to keep their apps optimize for different Windows versions, and here is why http://goo.gl/h1cjni
  • As if that somehow improved the code. Pathetic.
  • Alright so this means losing the ability to work on dos in windows 10... Now I think I'll switch to mac... Because they are dead with every uniqueness in them
  • Can anybody tell me what this kernel change from 6.4-10.0 means? I mean, is there some extra stuff added to the kernel? O.o