Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 7 will retain its name when it is made publicly available.

General manager Mike Nash said in a blog: "Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore 'Windows 7' just makes sense".

"Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows. We've used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or 'aspirational' monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista.

"Since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense. Likewise, coming up with an all-new 'aspirational' name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows."

The first pre-beta version of Windows 7 is expected to be in the hands of developers this month, with a public release as soon as January 2010.

"In a few weeks we are going to be talking about the details of this release at the PDC and at WinHEC. We will be sharing a pre-beta 'developer-only release' with attendees of both shows and giving them the first broad in-depth look at what we've been up to."

See also:

Windows 7 preview: what we know so far

Microsoft goes back to basics with Windows 7