While there are people out there who couldn’t give two hoots about what Microsoft is doing, preferring instead different operating systems and other non-Microsoft software, there’s no denying that Windows 7 has so far been Microsoft’s most successful unreleased operating system yet.
The world is yet to see just how much this early success translates into rapidly growing Windows 7 market share, at the expense of Vista and XP, but so far it’s looking good, and we’re still not officially at RTM.
This week or next, that will change, and finally, official RTM copies of Windows 7 will start firing up all over the place, replacing the Win 7 7100 RC and all those pre-RTM builds, whether with officially or unofficially sourced RTM code.
Microsoft’s Windows Team Blog brings the news that OEMs will get access to RTM code “approximately 2 days” after RTM code goes gold, so they can start testing PC configurations in preparation for the October 22 general availability timeline.
ISV, IHV, TechNet, Connect and MSDN members can officially start downloading Windows 7 RTM from August 6th, just a little over two weeks from today, although this is the English-language RTM only, other languages will come October 1st.
Volume License (VL) customers with an existing Software Assurance (SA) license can download RTM code a day later on August 7th, but those VL customers without an SA license will have to wait until September 1 before they can get access.
Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members can use the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal to download RTM on August 16th.
Microsoft Action Pack Subscribers need to wait until August 23rd before they can officially start downloading.
So, what about beta testers, enthusiasts and consumers? Please read on to page 2.