Windows 8 is finally inching towards its official release. According to Microsoft, it has released the OS to manufacturing. This essentially means that hardware vendors finally have the OS and the next thing they have to do is to load it into their machines and ship it out to the customers.
Windows 8 is not the only Microsoft product to have hit the RTM milestone. Side by side, Windows Server 2012, Internet Explorer 10 and Visual Studio 2012 have also hit the RTM milestone. This is not surprising since Microsoft has been developing these software alongside Windows 8 and is expected to release them together with the OS.
Earlier, Microsoft officials had stated that Windows 8 is expected to achieve RTM by the first week of August. They have been quite accurate in their estimations, it seems. These officials had also stated that we can expect Windows 8 to be available for retail purchase as well as pre-loaded on PCs and tablets by October 26.
However, some would be lucky enough to lay their hands on Windows 8 RTM bit a lot sooner. For instance, subscribers of MSDN and TechNet will get them on August 15 whereas volume licensees with Software Assurance will get the bits on August 16.
Now that Microsoft has handed over the final build of Windows 8 to the hardware vendors, they will do some additional testing and make sure all compatibility issues have been taken care of. The next thing would be to preload images of the OS onto the PCs and then make them available by the official release date.
The company claims that Windows 8 is one of the most extensively tested products. A total of 16 million PCs participated in the testing phase of the OS, giving Microsoft elaborate feedback on the new interface and features of Windows 8. Naturally, such extensive testing lends a lot of hope to the company. According to the official blog post, “Over 16 million PCs actively participated in these programs, including approximately 7 million on the Release Preview that started 8 weeks ago. The depth and breadth of testing validate the readiness of Windows 8 for the market.”