It’s official, Windows 7 is in the bag and the first boxed copies have gone out the door. OEM’s arrived in droves on Friday to pickup large bundles containing all the code and supporting documentation they will need to begin integrating Windows 7 into their upcoming hardware designs. OEM’s are typically the first Microsoft customers to receive RTM code as it often takes months to properly tweak their drivers and software to ensure maximum compatibility.
The Official Windows Blog posted pictures of the event for those who are interested. Pictures included representatives from HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, Sony, and Siemens all posing with their debut copies. Officially the focus of the OEM’s at this point is to ensure hardware / software compatibility, but we all know a certain amount of trialware will inevitably be tested and slipped into new machines as well. Microsoft kicked off a new initiative last year in the hopes of educating OEM’s on the danger of over bundling trialware with a new PC, lets just hope they listen.Just in case they don’t, check out our Clean Start Guide on How to decrapify any new machine.
Have you purchased a new OEM build machine recently? Have things gotten any better? Let us know what you think.
If you're like us, you've been patiently awaiting official word on when Microsoft will make available Windows 7 RTM (Release To Manufacturing). We're not the only ones pressuring Microsoft for an answer, and thanks to a blog post by Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, we now have some concrete dates to play with.
According to LeBlanc, ISV (Independent software vendor) and IHV (Independent hardware vendor) Partners will be able to download Windows 7 RTM from Microsoft Connect or MSDN starting on August 6th. Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members can snag the RTM in English through the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal a little later beginning August 16th (all remaining languages will be available on October 1st). If you're a Microsoft Action Pack Subscriber, you can grab your copy in English starting August 23rd, and again October 1st for all remaining languages. OEMs will receive Windows 7 RTM software images beginning about 2 days after Microsoft makes the RTM official.
Other availability dates include:
Volume License (VL) customers with an existing Software Assurance (SA) license: August 7th
IT Professionals with a TechNet Subscription: August 6th
Developers with a MSDN Subscription: August 6th
LeBlanc also went on to confirm the availability of a "Family Pack" for Windows 7, which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs, but did not say how much the package will cost.
It's official - Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing (RTM), meaning the code is finished and ready to be pressed on CDs. After significant testing, build 7600 met all the validation checks required for RTM, which also includes having all languages of that build completed, says Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communication Manager at Microsoft.
"Today's release is the result of hard work and collaboration with our partners in the industry to make Windows 7 a success," LeBlanc wrote in a blog post. "We delivered Windows 7 with a predictable feature set on a predictable timetable that allowed OEMs to focus on value and differentiation for their customers."
LeBlanc went on to give credit to the "million of people who tested Windows 7," noting that over 10 million people chose to opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).
According to LeBlanc's previous blog post, OEMs can expect to receive Windows 7 RTM software images in just a couple of days now that build 7600 has gone RTM. LeBlanc also listed a bunch of other dates detailing when specific segments can get their hands on a copy, which can be viewed here.
Thanks to a recent posting on the Windows 7 Team Blog, we finally have a confirmation on a family pack, and plenty of detailed information on just how everyone will get their copy of the new OS.
Those of us that are run of the mill consumers will be able to get our hands on Windows 7 starting October 22nd, for both retail and pre-order. And, if you beta tested it, let it be known that you “will not automatically receive a free copy of Windows 7. Many beta testers are already subscribers to TechNet; those of you who fit that description will be able to download Windows 7 RTM shortly after RTM happens for free as part of your subscription.”
And, giving in to the swirling rumors, solid information on the family pack is finally available. “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 3 PCs,” wrote Brandon LeBlanc on the blog.
If you’re looking for any additional information, be sure to check it out here.
Despite what you might have read, Windows 7 has not yet hit RTM (Release to Manufacturing), although it is getting very close, Microsoft says.
"As we've said all along, we will RTM Windows 7 when it's ready," Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. "As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July."
LeBlanc's statement would seem to contradict the Windows 7 7600 build that has been running rampant on torrent sites, but LeBlanc insists that "just because a single build may have 'leaked' it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM." Before Windows 7 reaches that stage, all languages must be completely finished and Microsoft needs to get to a point of "global readiness," LeBlanc added.
Once Windows 7 is complete, there are a few ways you can get your hands on a copy, depending on which category you fall into. MSDN and TechNet subscribers will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 a few weeks after Microsoft announces RTM, Volume License (VL) customers can get a copy starting September 1st, and everyone else will have to either wait until October 22nd, or trust that the inevitable torrent downloads are legit.
Up until July 11 (that's this Saturday, folks), you can preorder upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional at reduced rates, but just because you can already buy the next-gen OS doesn't mean it's finished yet. It is, however, getting very close.
Several sources are reporting that Microsoft has confirmed Windows 7 will reach RTM (release to manufacturing) on July 13, two days after the preorder pricing ends. This is significant because once Windows 7 goes RTM, Microsoft can then distribute final versions to computer manufacturers in anticipation of the October 22nd release date.
In the meantime, you can still download the polished Windows 7 RC (release candidate) and run the OS until March 1, 2010. Once March 1st of next year rolls around, PCs running the RC will shut down every two hours before completely expiring on June 1, 2010.
Should you be worried about the July 1, 2010 "drop dead" date for the Windows 7 RC released today? Not according to Acer. In an interview with Pocket-Lint's Chris Hall, Bobby Watkins, Acer UK's Marketing Director, says that October 23, 2009 will be the day that Windows 7 will be available.
Believable? One comment from a US-based reader points out that October 23
...comes at the end of the major U.S. back-to-school selling season and could postpone buying by thousands of people in order to get into the 30-day free upgrade cycle [Acer says that purchases 30 days or less before the Windows 7 release qualify for a free upgrade]. The Microsoft OEM's will absolutely hate this date because it will cost them money.
On the other hand, the date falls comfortably before the holiday season (Microsoft missed the 2006 holiday season with Windows Vista).
For your chance to sound off about how close Windows 7 RC is to being ready to roll, join us after the jump.