It’s a Date: Windows 7 Available on October 22

It’s official — or at least semi-official. Windows 7 will be available for sale as of October 22, a Microsoft spokesperson told

Windows 7 has been in the final phase of testing — known as Release Candidate or RC — since May 5.

Still, the company has been cagey about disclosing nearly every important fact regarding Windows Vista’s — and, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) hopes, Windows XP’s — replacement. Now that the software is nearly done, it’s time to begin building excitement for the pending release.

Microsoft said last month that it will have Windows 7 available for sale in time for the holiday sales season.

At nearly the same time, an Acer executive apparently spoke out of turn and said it would have Windows 7 PCs for sale beginning October 23.

The actual General Availability (GA) date holds a certain amount of cachet because that’s the first day that customers can actually buy Windows 7 or a PC pre-installed with it.

In fact, a Microsoft executive is actually scheduled to formally announce the GA date tomorrow at a speech in Taiwan. At the same time, Microsoft will also announce its so-called “tech guarantee” program, which will enable users who buy a PC before Windows 7 is available to get an upgrade to the new system for free when it’s available.

“All of these things will be detailed in Steve Guggenheimer’s keynote at Computex in Taipei tomorrow,” the spokesperson said in an e-mail. Guggenheimer is corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Division.

Additionally, Malaysian tech enthusiast site TechArp, detailed much of Microsoft’s tech guarantee program in January. According to the Microsoft spokesperson, the tech guarantee program will be officially named Windows Upgrade Option.

According to TechArp’s site, customers who buy a new PC running Vista between June 28, 2009 and January 31, 2010 will be eligible for a free upgrade with Windows 7 when it ships.

Windows 7 is currently scheduled to “Release to Manufacturing” (RTM) in late July, the spokesperson said.

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