Aw snap, one of the final hurdles on the way to October 22nd has been passed: Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2008 R2, too) has been released to manufacturing. A post over on The Windows Blog explains that this build (7600) underwent tons of scrutiny and tweaking before being deemed sufficient for release, and considering that we know you're anxious for details on dates, hear this:
"The RTM code will be delivered to our partners within the next few days who will then start preparing to deliver some amazing new products timed to hit at General Availability (GA) of Windows 7 on October 22nd. As always, current Windows Volume License customers, MSDN subscribers and TechNet subscribers will get first customer access, getting Windows 7 on August 6 (MSDN/TechNet) and August 7 (VL), and Windows Server 2008 R2 the second half of August."
So, there you have it -- now, are you prepared to wait until early August to get your download on? Nah, we thought not. The full announcement is posted after the break.

Update: Looks like some Microsoft employees were so excited by the RTM sign-off that they made a celebratory video. See it for yourself just after the break!



Title: Windows 7 Has Been Released to Manufacturing

Steven Sinofsky, President of the Windows Division, has just announced on the Engineering Windows 7 Blog that Windows 7 has reached the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) milestone.

As I mentioned previously, RTM officially happens only after sign-off occurs. What happens is a build gets designated as a RTM contender after going through significant testing and meeting our quality bar for RTM. Then, it goes though all the validation checks required for RTM including having all languages of that build completed. If all the validation checks have passed – sign-off for RTM can occur. Today after all the validation checks were met, we signed off and declared build 7600.16385 as RTM.

Also happening very shortly, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will get on stage for his keynote address to the Microsoft field community at MGX in Atlanta. MGX is an internal Microsoft event held every year. This is where we bring in our folks in the field from around the world and talk about selling Microsoft's latest products. We're a global company and this event is super important to us. As you can imagine, Windows 7 is a hot topic at this year's MGX and we're anxious to hear what Steve has to say, and I will update that here.

Not only is RTM an important milestone for us – it's also an important milestone for our partners. Today's release is the result of hard work and collaboration with our partners in the industry to make Windows 7 a success. We delivered Windows 7 with predictable feature set on a predictable timetable that allowed OEMs to focus on value and differentiation for their customers.

Our customers told us what they want (and expect) and we defined those specific experiences and then built features to support them (like HomeGroup and the Windows Taskbar enhancements). Our customers also told us that "fundamentals" on both the hardware and software side was extremely important. Windows 7 today runs great on the broadest array of hardware types ranging from netbooks to the high end gaming machines. We worked closely with OEMs so that their PCs ignite features in Windows 7 to excite their customers.

Of course, today's release is also the result of the amazing amount of feedback we received from the millions of people who tested Windows 7 – from Beta to RC. We actually had over 10 million people opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). That's a lot of people opting in to help us make Windows 7 a solid release. Through CEIP, our engineers were guided by customer feedback all the way to RTM. We also have had a great group of beta testers who have dedicated a great deal of their time to testing Windows 7 too. A special thank you goes out to all the people who helped test Windows 7.

I'd also like to give a shout-out to my friends over on the Windows Server Team. Today they are also announcing that Windows Server 2008 R2 has RTM'd. Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 together can help businesses cut costs and increase productivity. Click here to read their blog post on Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM.

The RTM code will be delivered to our partners within the next few days who will then start preparing to deliver some amazing new products timed to hit at General Availability (GA) of Windows 7. And going forward, I expect to be showcasing MANY of these new products here on The Windows Blog.

We continue to be overwhelmed at the community's response to Windows 7 and it has been an extremely rewarding experience to witness. We hope the enthusiasm will continue to grow even more as our partners build amazing experiences with their products and Windows 7.

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