For subscribers to Microsoft’s TechNet and MSDN sites, the wait for Windows 7 is over.
As promised, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) released the final “golden” bits of Windows 7 for download to paying members of two technical programs Thursday morning.
Despite the pent up demand for the new system, users report some slowness from the download servers but nothing like the traffic jams that accompanied the beginning of beta testing in January, when servers froze due to high demand.
Microsoft officials signed off on the final code — a step called “Released to Manufacturing” or RTM — two weeks ago.
That set in motion steps to deliver Windows 7 RTM code to various customer groups who will get access to the system before the general public does on October 22, the date of Windows 7’s commercial debut.
Major PC manufacturers received the final versions, sometimes referred to as “gold code,” in the days following official RTM.
The release comes on the heels of last minute questions this week as to whether or not Windows 7 has a so-called “showstopper” bug that would cause Microsoft to push back the launch date. Finally, Steven Sinofsky, the newly-appointed president of the Windows Division, publicly stated the bug does not constitute a showstopper and that Windows 7 remains on track for October 22 release.
Thursday’s release underlined that conviction and there’s no sign of the company suddenly reversing direction — at least so far.
Beginning Friday, Microsoft Volume License members with Software Assurance contracts will be able to download the code as well.
There is one minor “gotcha” for those who receive the code early, however. Only the English version will be available to start with — other languages will be available for download on October 1, according to a post on the Windows 7 team blog by Microsoft spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc.
Others will be able to get the code in a few weeks as well.
“If you are a Volume License customer without a Software Assurance license, you will be able to purchase Windows 7 through Volume Licensing on September 1,” LeBlanc’s post added.
There are other groups to service as well. Also on August 6, independent software vendors and independent hardware vendors received access to the code through MSDN and TechNet.
As of August 16, the doors will also open for Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified members, and on August 23 that will be expanded to accept Microsoft Action Pack subscribers.
The same caveat regarding the English language editions and other languages apply.