In a blog posting to the Windows Team blog, LeBlanc admits "there have been many rumors surrounding RTM" over the past week and notes "we are close, but have not yet signed off on Windows 7. When we RTM you will most certainly hear it here. As we've said all along, we will RTM Windows 7 when it's ready. As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July."
Earlier this month Shaz3e confirmed Windows 7 would RTM on July 13. This was the date, internally, that Microsoft were aiming for. Yesterday the company put out a Press Release confirming Windows 7 had hit RTM. Quoting Microsoft Senior Vice President, Windows Business, Bill Veghte as saying "this morning we will release Windows 7 to manufacturing, and we write that next chapter". The statement is incorrect, Veghte didn't actually state this in his keynote but claimed it would RTM "this month." Clearly the press release is incorrect and is likely a draft that Microsoft had prepared and not correctly altered. However, this shows the company was committed to a July 13 RTM.
LeBlanc also confirmed that Microsoft has an extensive step-by-step validation process to ensure a quality release of Windows 7. According to LeBlanc "this process takes time. Just because a single build may have "leaked" it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM". In recent days build 7600 has leaked with the build tag 7.7600.16384.090710-1945. The 16384 part is significant as it's the "minor part" which indicates it is a build Microsoft may be ready to release. If a minor change is made the build becomes 16385, 16386 etc.
Microsoft also provided some timings around when people will be able to get the final code:
- MSDN & TechNet Subscribers: Subscribers will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 a few weeks after RTM is announced.
- Volume License (VL) Customers: Windows 7 will be available to Volume License customers on September 1st.
- Consumers, Enthusiasts, & Beta Testers (Everyone else): The retail version of Windows 7 will be available in stores October 22nd. If you pre-ordered Windows 7, it should be delivered sometime around the October 22nd timeframe (depends on the retailer).
- On New PCs: OEMs are expected to start shipping new PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed on them around October 22nd.
Update: Just got word from several sources that 7600.16385.090713-1255 has been compiled but it's not yet clear if this is just the Windows 7 WDK only or client too.