Windows 7: not done yet, but close

Microsoft sets the record straight and gives an update on a Windows 7 timeline

Microsoft gave an update on Windows 7 this week, outlining a timeline for the release of the upcoming operating system to manufacturers. The company noted that you shouldn't "believe everything you read on the Internet" and proceeded to set the record straight.

Microsoft's Windows Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc yesterday took to the official Windows 7 blog, in an attempt to quell rumors that the company has already sent off the finished Windows 7 code to its manufacturing team.

Release to Manufacturing, or RTM, means that the code is oh-so-close to being finished for product release and moves on to the next step - which includes testing and building images for new PCs, according to LeBlanc. "RTM is essentially the final 'stage' of engineering for Windows 7 before it hits the market at General Availability (GA)," he wrote.

While RTM hasn't happened yet, Microsoft is getting very close to manufacturing and packing millions of its highly anticipated Windows 7 disks for shipment to stores near you, where it will land on October 22.

So what's next as Windows 7 approaches?

One other key step to be completed is getting Windows 7 ready for use in nations around the globe by finishing its availability in many other languages besides English.

For the RTM to move to the next step, Microsoft wants to have those other versions that support different languages completely finished, LeBlanc said.

Another stepping stone to RTM, according to the blog, is getting all of its business partners up to speed, or what LeBlanc calls "global readiness," before the official launch of Windows 7 happens.

That way computer makers, retailers, IT consultants and the rest are all ready with what they need to know to sell, install, service and support computers with the new operating system.

Also still to come is the point where the last stage of final testing and step-by-step validation can be done before the actual Windows 7 DVD installation disks and images are readied for shipment to retailers and PC makers before October 22's release date.

When an earlier pre-release version of Windows 7 was recently leaked online, many tech-watchers thought that meant that Windows 7 was already at the RTM stage, LeBlanc wrote. But that's not the case, he explains.

"This process takes time," LeBlanc wrote. "Just because a single build may have 'leaked' it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM. As always, don't believe everything that you read on the Internet - except this post ;-)."

When Windows 7 does finally reach the RTM stage, that milestone will be announced on the Windows 7 blog right away, LeBlanc wrote. "Until that happens, any builds you are likely to see on the Web are either not the final bits or are laced with malicious code."

You have been warned.

So are you ready?

While you're waiting, there's plenty for you to do.

You can check out the look of the new Windows 7 packaging that will be on store shelves Oct. 22, and you can start going over your PCs with Microsoft's online tools to check if your PC hardware is up to the task of the new Windows 7.

Can't wait to see more?

Then take the online Microsoft tour of Windows 7 to see many of the new features that you'll soon be using.

In the meantime, relax, go out for a walk, hear the birds and visit with your friends and families.

Because when Oct. 22 rolls around, you'll likely be sitting for hours in front of your PC, backing up data files, cleaning out the crud, upgrading some hardware, then installing Windows 7 and all of your applications.

Take advantage of the free time you have today and enjoy it. It's going to be a long few months of upgrading!

Tags upgradesMicrosoftWindows 7

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Todd R. Weiss

PC World (US online)

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