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Microsoft signs off on Windows 7

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Microsoft has signed off on Windows 7, closing a tightly controlled chapter in Microsoft product development.

On Wednesday, the company released the Windows 7 bits to manufacturing (RTM) at the same as code for the next update to its Windows Server 2008: Windows Server 2008 R2.

RTM means the code is considered finished from an engineering perspective and is ready to be pressed on CDs, installed on manufacturers' PCs, and put on Microsoft's servers for download.

Windows 7 is set for a consumer launch on October 22. Developers, partners, and Microsoft's volume customers on the company's various individual and organizational licenses and subscriptions will get Windows 7 ahead of that.

Meanwhile, Windows Server 2008 R2 will be generally available on of before October 22 date, the company said Wednesday afternoon.

Before then, Windows Server 2008 R2 will be released for evaluation in the first half of August with full product available to volume customers with a Software Assurance subscription in the second half of August.

The July RTM comes after Microsoft had hinted it was prepping for an August 6 RTM of Windows 7. So much for trying to fathom Microsoft hints. At least Windows 7 is done.

The company has run a streamlined operation getting Windows 7 out. The operating system qualified for a single beta and completion comes just nine months after the code first previewed.

Along the way, testers complained Microsoft was triaging bugs and potential problems to expedite the release Windows 7. The idea was to avoid a repeat of the delays that dogged Windows Vista and to finally have something fresh to offer the client operating-system market.

Two major problems for Windows Vista were hardware and software compatibly, which occurred despite the huge development cycle and code-base rewrite. Also, Windows Vista killed the performance of many PCs. The latter posed a real problem for netbooks, which the Microsoft camp has served using Windows XP instead of Windows Vista.

No doubt cognizant of this, Windows 7 evangelist Brandon LeBlanc blogged: "Our customers also told us that 'fundamentals' on both the hardware and software side was extremely important. Windows 7 today runs great on the broadest array of hardware types ranging from netbooks to high-end gaming machines. We worked closely with OEMs so that their PCs delight customers with the new features in Windows 7."

Now, about Windows 8... ®

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