Microsoft denies holding up Win 7 tools for PC makers

Microsoft denies holding up Win 7 tools for PC makers

Summary: Microsoft is denying a DigiTimes report which claims the Redmond company has delayed delivery of key analysis and testing tools that PC makers need to get Windows 7 preloaded on new machines.


Microsoft is denying a DigiTimes report which claims the Redmond company has delayed delivery of key analysis and testing tools that PC makers need to get Windows 7 preloaded on new machines.

According to the DigiTimes August 3 report, some Taiwan-based OEMs said they are "awaiting performance testing and system preparation tools from Microsoft." And because they are lacking these tools -- and also because software vendors won't get the final bits until August 6  -- they can't start "rolling out PCs with Windows 7 off their production lines until September, instead of mid-August as projected previously."

I asked the Windows client team about the report. The ISV/IHV (independent software vendor/hardware vendor) delivery date of the final bits of August 6 has been known for a few weeks now. I have to say, even though there were a few changes between the near-final Release Candidate test build of Windows 7 and the final RTM (release to manufacturing) bits, Microsoft has been pretty up-front about any compatibility gotchas ISVs and driver providers might encounter.

But what about the claim the PC makers don't have the needed tools? I asked Microsoft for more on that part of the DigiTimes story. A company spokesperson sent back this statement via e-mail:

"Currently, Microsoft OEMs have all of the OPK (OEM Preinstallation Kit) tools they need for manufacturing. There is not a single tool that has not been released to them.

"We actually release the full set of required software (OS + Language Packs) within a few days of RTM, and not several weeks as we did for prior OS releases.

"The SDK (software developer kit) and WDK (Windows driver kit) is however not broadly available for IHVs and ISVs, yet but will be shortly as you mentioned."

Microsoft officials have been forthcoming for a month or so that they weren't going to get the Windows 7 code to OEMs in time for them to have back-to-school Windows 7 machines available on the market. (That's why Microsoft has been pushing the OEM Upgrade Option coupons so hard.) So I'm a little fuzzy as to what the unnamed Taiwanese PC makers are complaining about.

Any PC makers out there have more specifics to share as to what, if anything, you're still awaiting from Microsoft?

Update: I've heard back from a system builder, a ka "white box" PC maker. He said system builders definitely do not have the OPK and other necessary tools yet. But they also don't have the RTM Windows 7 bits yet, either. They have to wait until later this week or month (depending on which Microsoft licensing programs they are a part) to get the official final build of the operating system. The system builder said:

"I can tell you truthfully that there is ABSOLUTELY NO Windows 7 OPK released on the OEM System Builder website, which I have access to.  Major (royalty) OEM's may have the OPK, but System Builders don't.  There is a training module for preinstallation but it doesn't dwell on anything new in WinSIM and only lightly touches on the process of capturing images.  The training doesn't provide any link to an OPK download, and there is NO step-by-step documentation posted yet either."

I've asked Microsoft to respond to the system builders' claims. I am betting company officials will say that they consider OEMs and system builders to be two different kettles of fish and that I only asked whether OEMs had the necessary Windows 7 tools. If and when I get more from the Softies, I'll update this post again.

It took a couple of days. But it sounds like the system builder was correct. Microsoft may have gotten all the necessary tools to OEMs already, but system builders don't have them yet.  Bottom line: Microsoft's original statement was about OEMs and not system builders (even though system builders are a subset of OEMs). The last and final statement, delivered via a Microsoft spokesperson via e-mail:

"Microsoft communicates regularly with our valued System Builder community, including providing regular updates via

"Our System Builders have been active participants throughout the Windows 7 development effort. System Builders will receive Windows 7 and preinstall tools from their OEM Distributors that will enable them to assemble PCs, preinstall and test in time to have their systems ready for October 22 GA (general availability)."

Topics: Hardware, CXO, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, IT Employment, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Pirate's

    They're probably "unknown" or backroom OEMs that just want to pirate the official Windows 7 disc!!

    All "known" OEMs have what they need and they've had it for quite some time - except for the final RTM code. The tools they use for building PC images has not changed.
    • Too late ....

      It was release to the wild last month.
    • Are you talking about...

      Pirates? <= more than one pirate

      Pirate's => a pirate owns something

      Pirate's loot.

      anything plus an apostrophe doesn't make it plural. <sigh>

      Here's the easy question for Microsoft:

      "If you were delaying, would you admit it?"

      I have yet to hear/see someone from the media pose this question ("If you did do <x>, would you admit it?") when something doesn't seem to add up. In politics, we hear someone deny, deny, deny and when the dust settles...

      Mihi Nomen Est
  • Royalty OEM's get preferential treatment

    They have their own portal site for support and technical resources, and they deal directly with Microsoft for licensing, completely bypassing the channel.
  • RE: Microsoft denies holding up Win 7 tools for PC makers

    George Wells
  • RE: Microsoft denies holding up Win 7 tools for PC makers

    1. they lie as always, the "softies".
    2. i greatly appreciate this article and its author.
    first class investigative journalism. equidistant! bravo! thumbs up!
    George Wells
  • You are better off with XP

    You are better off with XP, at least until vista 7 SP1 or SP2
    are out.

      Must be something in the water up there, they release these OS to the public long before all of the known issues are solved and let the consumers beta test their software by default.
      More windows 2000, ME, and this bloatware Vista masquerading as something "New and Improved" on its way??? XP is the only OS they have EVER released that has a more than respectable and yet not quite stellar performance record. I hope this ONE (7)finally delivers what's been promised in the past, but am not going to hold my breath.---JED
      • Have you used 7 yet?

        If you had used Windows 7 RC you would know that it is stable, I honestly can not fault it, I use it at home and work now and the reason I still have XP on my laptop is because my work PC does not have hardware assisted virtualization.

        Windows 7 is far superior to Vista and is far more stable.

        Once you've actually used it for a while come back and make a fair comment and don't just troll over the same stuff people have been regurgitating since Vista came out. If it doesn't run on your PC, it means your PC is out of date, it's not bloatware. Oh and Win7 runs FASTER on my home and work PC's than XP ever did.
        • Hmmmm.. Stability

          isn't really a feature someone should boast about in this era. And i don't understand the whole virtualisation thing neither.. Why emulate XP while instead you could just use the Real McCoy?

          And the PC is not out of date, there haven't been any groundbreaking new technologies that have radically changed how you do text/email/browse/etc.

          To a lot of folks, participating in the upgrade frenzy to be able to run the latest Operating System, which isn't much more then a platform you launch applications from, makes them feel like brainnumb lemmings.
  • Another Bob

    Another Bob
  • Another Windows ME

  • Another Zune

  • Another Vista

  • Another Plays-for-sure

  • Another Windows Media

  • Another Windows Mobile!

    • Please don't spam here...

      @comp_indiana..Please come up with something sensible. You suck :). Please sleep well until you wake up and realize, OMG, I can think. Take Care.
  • Is it intentional, or an inability to deliver on time???

    Microsoft has a 100% proven history of NOT meeting delivery dates. So acting like there is a conspiracy conserning delivery of tools may be a little too paranoid.

    The facts show that Microsoft either is incapable of meeting deadlines, or intentionally gives false estimates for some unknown marketing reason. My guess is that it that management asks for delivery dates and is told what they want to hear rather than the truth. Also it is extremely likely that those managing the tactical operation of product development actually believe their "deadlines" are real.

    There are ways to avoid this problem, but Microsoft management has spurned using the tools that would deliver product on the promised date. Frankly, they don't have a corporate reward system to deliver the motivation to make the psychological investment of learning how to do it right. Nobody is fired when the deadlines are missed.
    • MS Marketing and MS Technology departments

      have always been out of synch.. and nobody really cares about it.