RealTime IT News

Windows 7: Three Months Until 'RTM?'

With the final public test of Windows 7 well underway, and a promise on Monday that the "new" Windows will be on sale in time for the holidays, a Microsoft official went a little bit further this week.

"If the telemetry we receive from the Windows 7 RC ("Release Candidate") meets our expectations in terms of quality, then we expect to hit RTM ("Release to Manufacturing") in three months or so," Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows 7 blogger Brandon LeBlanc said in a post on the Windows 7 Team blog.

RTM is the final set of steps before Windows 7 actually reaches retailers' shelves.

LeBlanc's bosses, in a further post on Microsoft's Engineering Windows 7 blog, described the process from here to RTM, starting with the RC -- the last test version of the system, which went out to end users last week.

"The RTM milestone is not a date, but a process," Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering group, and Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the Windows Core Operating System Division, said in a joint blog post.

Once the RC testing process concludes, sometime in the next few weeks, Microsoft will evaluate all the feedback it's received from users and hardware and software vendors, and make any necessary changes as fixes.

"Once we have entered the RTM phase, our partners will begin to make their final images and manufacture PCs, and hardware and software vendors will ready their Windows 7 support and new products. We will also begin to manufacture retail boxes for shipment around the world. We will continue to work with our enterprise customers as well and based on the RTM process the volume license products will be available as well," Sinofsky and DeVaan said.

Despite all the time and effort that's gone into Windows 7 to date, this means the RTM is still a ways from being over and done with. Then, once RTM has begun, it will take a few weeks for Windows 7 to permeate the sales channels and reach "General Availability" or GA, as Microsoft refers to it.

Monday, Microsoft announced it is now confident it will have Windows 7 out in time for the holiday sales season.

"We got over a million downloads of the RC so I'm pleased to announced that we're going for [General Availability in time for] the holidays, and we're tracking very well," Bill Veghte, senior vice president of Windows, told attendees at the Microsoft's TechEd technical developers conference in Los Angeles Monday.

That's a less aggressive schedule than what the company had hoped last summer. InternetNews.com reported in September that Microsoft was shooting for a June RTM. However, after the company received more than half a million bug reports and other feedback, that schedule appeared to slip in March.

The current date for Windows 7 GA appears to be closer to October 23, the date that Acer officials said last month they would begin selling PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed. Microsoft officials have declined to comment on GA dates so far.