Microsoft hits RTM milestone with Windows 8

Microsoft hits RTM milestone with Windows 8

Summary: Windows 8 development is done. Some users will be able to get the final bits within days.


Microsoft announced on August 1 that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM'd). (The final build number is 9200.)


At the same time, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10, Windows Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012 also have reached the RTM milestone, given all of these products have been developed in lockstep with Windows 8. I am not 100 percent sure if Windows RT also RTM'd simultaneously and do not believe Microsoft officials ever promised this would be the case.

Update: When I asked today whether Windows RT had RTM'd, I received a no comment from Microsoft. Also still getting a no comment as to when IE 10 on Windows 7 will be available. It's IE 10 for Windows 8 that RTM'd today.

Microsoft officials said earlier this month to expect Windows 8 to RTM in the first week of August. (I modified this wording in my coverage to "by the first week of August," knowing the propensity of Windows execs to pad their dates a bit in order to never be late.) As those same execs also noted previously, Windows 8 will be generally available via retail and preloaded on new PCs and tablets on October 26.

However, some will be able to get their hands on the Windows 8 RTM bits a lot sooner. MSDN and TechNet subscribers get the bits on August 15. Volume licensees with Software Assurance will get Windows 8 final bits on August 16; volume licensees without SA will get the bits September 1, according to a Windows Team blog post today.

Volume licensees can get get the Windows Server 2012 final bits on September 4. And developers can get the final Visual Studio 2012 bits on August 15 via MSDN and TechNet.

Last week, Microsoft went public with details about its next big Windows developer conference. Build 2012 will be held October 30 to November 2 in Redmond, Wash.

Microsoft execs said in September 2011 that there would be one public developer test build of Windows 8 (which came to be known as the Developer Preview), one public "beta" (the Consumer Preview) and one public Release Candidate (the Release Preview). There were additional private builds of Windows 8 that went to a select few outside the company. But after the Release Candidate -- which Microsoft made available at the end of May 2012 -- there were no more public test  builds of Windows 8 scheduled before the product is released to manufacturing (RTM). Recent private builds included a number of user interface modifications, the removal of the "Aero" glass interface, as well as some under-the-hood programming interface tweaks.

Now that Microsoft has completed work on Windows 8, the product goes to PC makers (which also includes Microsoft itself). The PC makers do testing, finish any kind of compatibility work they need to achieve and preload images the operating system on new PCs. The Microsoft Surface team is one of these OEMs and will be delivering the first of two Surface designs (the Surface RT, based on an ARM processor) at the same time as Windows 8 is generally available, October 26.

What's next for Windows? Microsoft is expected by some to speed up delivery of its next operating system releases, going forward. In other words, "Windows Next" -- or whatever Microsoft calls the successor to Windows 8 -- isn't expected to be three years away. It could be a lot sooner.

Update: Microsoft has scheduled "virtual" online launches of Windows Server 2012 for September 4 and Visual Studio 2012 for September 12. There's still no official word where or how Microsoft will "launch" Windows 8 -- and whether this will happen on general availability day, which is October 26.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems


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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  • Soooo... what about IE10 for W7? If IE10 is RTM shouldn't it be out for W7

    now? What's the word on that? Also really too bad that MS isn't letting oems GA before October 26th. I mean presumably these oems have been getting the latest bits, including post release preview, and keeping their hw finely tuned and optimized for each build all along the way. You'd think they'd want to send out their shiny new toys in August to partake in the back to school tablet/ultrabook buying spree.
    Johnny Vegas
    • IE 10 for Windows 7

      I keep asking. I keep getting no comment.
      I hear IE 10 is still coming for Windows 7. But no one from MS will say when.
      I'll keep asking :)

      Mary Jo Foley
      • Compatibility Issues, Maybe

        It could be compatibility issues. Some parts of IE10 (like the current Chakra JS engine) seem to be deeply integrated into the OS, making use of features only available on Windows 8 (this is also a good explaination why no more Platform Previews after PP2 were made available for Windows 7). My guess is that they have to kind of "backport" it to make it work on Windows 7 again and that this is one of the reasons for the delay. And maybe some features won't be available on Windows 7.
    • Some supply chains are long

      If you build a cut-rate PC somewhere in China, ship it by ground to the coast and then put it on a boat (to keep the cost down), it takes a while to get it into the channel in the US, Europe and other major markets.

      Yes, for some models and some channels, an OEM could get the bits, fit them to their boxes, test them and get them to market in perhaps a month, but the general case takes longer. Microsoft sets the GA date to accomodate all of their major OEMs.
    • While

      supplies last. Just like the digital download version of the Windows 7 family pack when it shipped :)
  • Kudos to Microsoft

    Nice to see today what OS X and Linux will look like in 3-5 years.
    • Wrong.

      When this tanks Linux and OS X will keep marching on.

      And I also suggest a course in history. The OS X dock which heavily influenced the Vista taskbar predated Vista by a long period of time. And even in Windows 7 it's a poor copy.
      • Wrong.

        The Vista taskbar was the same as XP's. The Superbar came with Windows 7, and even then it was influenced by an earlier Windows feature way back in Windows 1.0.

        -> h t t p : / /
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Wrong

        The OS X dock was heavily influenced by Windows 95 taskbar. And even in Mountain Lion it's a poor copy.
        • Don't see how that works.

          Win95 had the start menu where you launch programs then that program will show that program running with its name on the taskbar.. OSX has a dock where you can add/remove applications and it shows the icon of the program running.. not the same..

          Where Windows 7 had pin tabs where you can move your fav program to the windows taskbar (almost like a dock) to launch programs like the quick bar on windows xp...

          But oems have incorporated there own version of a dock (hp & Dell) and came with other providers like nexus to have the OSX dock feel to windows 7. So windows 7 have some features from OSX and if you type windows 7 dock into any search (can't comment on bing.. Never liked it) engine it will bring you to dock applications that work like OSX dock.
          Anthony E
          • Apple would have been sued if they copied Windows 95

            Never said they copied it, only said they were heavily influenced by it. That much is undeniable. Look at the bottom of the Mac OS desktop before Windows 95 and after. Before 95, nothing at the bottom. After 95, icons representing programs (hope you see the similarity of this argument to Apple's pre/post iPhone smartphone design).

            But, let's take your argument as "correct". If so, you've just completely destroyed baggins' post where he wrote:
            "The OS X dock which heavily influenced the Vista taskbar predated Vista by a long period of time"

            But since Vista and Windows 7 task bars weren't EXACTLY like OS X's, according to YOU, there was no influence there.
          • are you just going by the representation of icons on the bottom.

            Which was represented by NeXT OS (Steve jobs owned) before windows 95 was released.. Which is what OS X is based off.. So there was still prior art which still has its roots in Apple..
            Anthony E
          • Which was copied from Windows 1

            See Cylon above.

            As I wrote in another post, everyone copies from everyone else and in most cases, it is just fine. Windows 1 had the first dock. NeXSTEP improved on it. Windows 95 improved on that. OS X improved on that. And now we have the best implementation of the dock so far in Windows 7.

            The sad thing is that Apple has given up trying with OS X, instead putting all their efforts into iOS. There isn't anything new in the last 2 releases of OS X.
          • After looking into it.

            Windows had the first dock.. Static but it was a dock (windows 1.0)

            Windows get a point.. for creating a dock.
            Anthony E
          • I believe X Window had the first dock

            Back around 1985.
          • Yeah yeah

            "Never said they copied it, only said they were heavily influenced by it. That much is undeniable. Look at the bottom of the Mac OS desktop before Windows 95 and after. Before 95, nothing at the bottom. After 95, icons representing programs (hope you see the similarity of this argument to Apple's pre/post iPhone smartphone design)."

            Have you heard desktop system called

          • Correct..

            Looked and noted that but windows 1.0 had a static dock/program bar.. I would comment on Desqview (dos) but it didn't have a stationary location for minimized (still running applications)
            Anthony E
          • One word:

            Quick launch.
          • corrected

            i called it quick launch
            Anthony E
          • err

            Quick bar.. They need to bring edit back
            Anthony E