Yesterday saw the much-debated (in the blogosphere at least) milestone of RTM (release to manufacturing) for Windows 7. I like to think of it as a big green button with the word “Go!” on it. More likely it’s a length document requiring sign-off from a dozen different stakeholders. Any-which-ways, what this means is one giant tick in a box on the way to getting Windows 7 onto the streets, into the hands of the likes of you and me, customers, partners and OEMs to get it shipping with new PCs.
So, a logical question might be, what are the timeframes? When will I get access to Windows 7 RTM?
If you want to buy it in a shop, the date is October 22nd. That’s when FPP (full, packaged product) will be available in retail outlets. Same goes if you’ve pre-ordered – you should receive your copy around this time.
For those with MSDN or TechNet subscriptions, you will be able to download the English version from August 6th and other languages by October 1st.
OEMs start receiving Windows 7 RTM images a couple of days after RTM so they can prepare their Win7 images and get new PCs shipping with Windows 7 as soon as possible.
If you’re a partner or volume license customer and want to know when you can get access to Windows 7 RTM, take a look at the very detailed post When will you get Windows 7 RTM? on the Windows 7 blog (also the source of my summary above).
Windows 7 RC expires on 1st June 2010. You can continue to use it until then but practically speaking, most people will want to have moved by 1st March 2010 – that’s when bi-hourly shutdowns kick-in.