IT Pros to get Windows 7 on 6 August

If you're a TechNet or MSDN subscriber you could be seeing Windows 7 as soon as early August - but there's no free copy for beta testers.

windows 7 boxes

Microsoft subscribers and vendors will be the first to see the Windows 7 RTM, with the release to market version due on 6 August.

In a blog post, Windows communications manager Brandon LeBlanc explained the release to market for Windows 7, saying when you get it depends who you are in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Hardware and software partner vendors can download the Windows 7 RTM from Microsoft Connect or MSDN on 6 August.

"If you are a partner who has been working on Windows 7 for a while, now is the time to complete your testing with final version of Windows 7," LeBlanc said. "For partners that haven't gotten started yet with Windows 7, now is the time to get involved."

On that day, IT pros with TechNet or MSDN subscriptions will also get the RTM version. See below for the full schedule.

Subscribers to the Microsoft Partner Network will be able to download the RTM - in English only - on 16 August. A week later, on 23 August, Microsoft Action Pack Subscribers will be about to download Windows 7 RTM in English, too. For all sets of subscribers, the rest of languages will be available on 1 October.

Microsoft also said that businesses with volume licences will get the OS on 7 August. LeBlanc explained this is only for customers with a Software Assurance licence; any without one must wait until 1 September.

Beta testers

While LeBlanc offered a "special thank you" to beta testers, Microsoft is not offering a free copy of Windows 7 to those who helped iron out the bugs in the OS beta. "Beta testers will not automatically receive a free copy of Windows 7," he said.

"Many beta testers are already subscribers to TechNet; those of you who fit that description will be able to download Windows 7 RTM shortly after RTM happens for free as part of your subscription," he said.

For those who aren't, he said that the discounted pre-order offer was the software giant's way of saying thank you.

"The special pre-order offer we did offering Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional at almost 50 per cent discount was done with our beta testers in mind," LeBlanc added.

Demand for the cut price editions took down Microsoft's store, and sold out quickly across online retailers.

Family pack

Microsoft also confirmed there will be a "family pack" for the Windows 7 Home Premium version, which will allow installation on three PCs.

Windows 7 will be available for consumers on 22 October, and LeBlanc said customers can keep using the release candidate until 1 June 2010 - although you will start facing frequent reboots from March of that year to encourage you to pay up.

The Windows 7 RTM schedule:

6 August - TechNet and MSDN subscribers, as well as software and hardware vendors (English only versions)

7 August - Volume licence customers with Software Assurance

16 August - Microsoft Partner Network

23 August - Microsoft Action Pack Subscribers

1 September - All other volume licences, as well as all other languages for the above

22 October - Full consumer release

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