Windows 7 is finished and has been released to manufacturing
Microsoft today announced that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 have hit the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) milestone. The software giant still has a lot of work to do, but the bigger responsibility now falls to OEMs that must get PCs ready, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that are testing their new apps, and Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) that are preparing their new hardware.
The RTM build is 7600, but it is not the same one that leaked less than two weeks ago (7600.16384). We speculated that Microsoft may end up recompiling build 7600 until it is satisfied, but it only took the company one more shot to get it right: 7600.16385 is the final build number. Microsoft refused to share the full build string, but if you trust leaks from a few days ago, it’s “6.1.7600.16385.090713-1255,” which indicates that the final build was compiled over a week ago: July 13, 2009, at 12:55pm. This would be in line with the rumored RTM date but it is also the day Microsoft stated that Windows 7 had not yet hit RTM. Although the final build had been compiled, Microsoft still had to put it through testing before christening it as RTM.
Who gets it when?
OEMs will be the first to get their mitts on the final Windows 7 code, with the English-language version being sent out on July 24 and remaining languages on July 28. They’re first in line as they need to prepare Windows 7 for new PCs. Next up are ISVs and IHVs, who can grab the RTM build from Microsoft Connect and MSDN on August 6, as can MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Volume License customers with Software Assurance are next, with the English-language version available to them on August 7 and other languages shortly thereafter.
Partner Program Gold/Certified members gain access on August 16 and Action Pack subscribers on August 23 with access to the other languages to come by October 1. Last up are consumers, who can purchase Windows 7 on October 22.
Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 7 testers will not be getting a free copy of the new operating system, as Windows Vista testers received the Ultimate edition for sending in at least one bug. The company suggested that this might happen back when invites to test the operating system were sent in December 2008. Therefore, unless they fall into one of the other categories above, beta testers will have to wait like all other consumers until October 22.
Family Pack for Windows 7
On the Windows 7 Team Blog Microsoft confirmed rumors from earlier last month about a three-computer “Family Pack” deal for Windows 7 Home Premium: “I’m happy to confirm that we will indeed be offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium (in select markets) which will allow installation on up to three PCs.” Microsoft refused, however, to disclose when the pack would become available or how much it would go for, though many are expecting the price tag to be $150.
Microsoft started work on Windows 7 with partners much earlier than it did with Windows Vista, and beta testers are reporting that the decision has paid off thus far. Whether that is true or not will become evident in the coming months. Today’s major announcement follows pricing details made in June 2009 and edition details made in February 2009.