I’d like to offer up a little insight into the “Release to Manufacturing” (RTM) for Windows 7.
Over the past week, there have been many rumors surrounding RTM.
We are close, but have not yet signed off on Windows 7. When we RTM you will most certainly hear it here. As we’ve said all along, we will RTM Windows 7 when it’s ready. As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July.
Windows 7 will be available in many languages from around the world. For us to consider RTM “done”, it requires that all languages be completely finished. So there is a lot of work that needs to take place for us to finalize all languages of Windows 7. We also need to get to a point of “global readiness” with our partners. Our partners being ready for Windows 7 is extremely important to RTM. As Steven Sinofsky mentions in this blog post in May, RTM isn’t a single point in time. It’s the beginning of the next “process” for Windows 7. At RTM our partners begin their final preparations for Windows 7, including testing and building images for new PCs. RTM is essentially the final “stage” of engineering for Windows 7 before it hits the market at General Availability (GA). As Steven notes, engineering continues on Windows 7 from RTM until GA on October 22nd.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when we do a specific build internally of Windows 7 we have an extensive step-by-step validation process to ensure quality. This process takes time. Just because a single build may have “leaked” it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM. As always, don’t believe everything that you read on the Internet – except this post ;-).
Everyone is super excited about this version of Windows. I continue to get a ton of questions about some of the things that happen after we RTM. I would like to answer some of those questions:
Once Windows 7 is complete, how do I get it?
The answer depends on who you are:
- MSDN & TechNet Subscribers: Subscribers will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 a few weeks after we announce RTM.
- Volume License (VL) Customers: Customers with Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 Enterprise a few weeks after we announce RTM. As announced today by Bill Veghte during his WPC09 keynote, customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 7 through Volume Licensing on September 1st.
- Consumers, Enthusiasts, & Beta Testers (Everyone else): The retail version of Windows 7 will be available in stores October 22nd. If you pre-ordered Windows 7, it should be delivered sometime around the October 22nd timeframe (depends on the retailer). You can pre-order Windows 7 today through many online retailers like the Microsoft Store.
- On New PCs: OEMs are expected to start shipping new PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed on them around October 22nd.
Can I continue to use the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) until I receive the RTM version?
Yes, you can continue to use the RC until it expires on June 1st, 2010 (expiration starts March 1, 2010 – this is when the reboots start – final expiration on June 1). Please note that “in-place” (or direct) upgrades from the Windows 7 RC to RTM will not be supported. You will be required to do a Custom installation (aka “clean install”).
I am a TechNet or MSDN subscriber. Will I get a product key?
MSDN and TechNet subscribers, as well as Volume License customers will have access to product keys (PIDs) when Windows 7 is made available to them. Product keys for Windows 7 RTM will be different than the product keys used for Windows 7 Beta and the release candidate. Windows 7 Beta or RC product keys *will not* work with Windows 7 RTM.
I am using one of the so-called “leaked” builds of Windows 7, how will I know if it is the real deal?
As always, beware of what you download. There are many bogus copies of Windows 7 floating around the Internet. More often than not, they contain a rather nice malware payload. And don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. When Windows 7 hits RTM, it will be announced here. Until that happens, any builds you are likely to see on the web are either not the final bits or are laced with malicious code.
How do I get a 64-bit copy of Windows 7?
The Upgrade and Full packaged retail product of Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Ultimate will come with both 32-bit and 64-bit DVDs. With Windows Vista, the 64-bit version was only available with Windows Vista Ultimate. Due to the incredible adoption of 64-bit today and customer feedback, we decided to change this for Windows 7. Now all copies of Windows 7 in developed markets will ship with both 32-bit and 64-bit DVDs.
I want to emphasize that delivering Windows 7 at the highest quality possible is the biggest criteria we have for hitting RTM. Our top focus is a super high quality release of Windows first and foremost.
Thanks, and check back soon for more Windows 7 news.
Still have questions about Windows 7? Leave your questions below as I have several colleagues here in Redmond waiting to answer any question Windows 7 related you might have.
UPDATE 7/14: Updated information for Volume Licensing.