Windows 7 RTM Confusion


Windows 7 RTM Confusion

Confusion is Understandable

With the Windows 7 RTM (Release To Manufacturing) on the horizon, or wait, did it already happen, some people say yes, or wait the RTM build has leaked… or wait, Microsoft says it hasn’t RTMed Windows 7 yet… Oh wait the transcript of microsoft’s press conference says that “this morning we will release windows seven to manufacturing” oh wait, he really said “this month” but the transcript did stated “this morning”, oh wait.. it was ammended to say “this month”..
You can see that things are getting pretty out of hand especially with all the forum chatter and buzz.

I don’t intend to give the answers to the RTM confusion that is going on, but maybe clarify what it is that we do know.

First of all we have all seen speculation that the RTM will be built on July 10th, and will be released on July 13th. Those dates have come and gone, and meanwhile Windows 7 x64 Build 7600.16384 was leaked, making a huge jump from the 72xx level to the 76xx level. Many are saying that this build is definitely Windows 7 RTM. While indeed the build is real microsoft stuff, and yes the watermarks are gone, but it doesn’t mean it is necessarily the version that will be “RTM”. Indeed there is speculation that a build 7600.16385 has been built on July 13th, which is newer than the July 10th built version that was leaked. In fact hashes and names have been identified:

SHA1: 326327CC2FF9F05379F5058C41BE6BC5E004BAA7

SHA1: 5395DC4B38F7BDB1E005FF414DEEDFDB16DBF610

What Does RTM Really Mean?

The main confusion that many on the internet tubes are experiencing when trying to figure out which build is RTM, is the fact that nothing makes any build of windows 7 RTM unless it is actually chosen as the RTM build. I know this sounds like a massive paradox… and it kind of is! The fact is that until microsoft specifically says that a particular version is “RTM” then any build could be RTM, if microsoft suddenly said that build 7137 of Windows 7 would be the RTM, then it would be the RTM (this is incredibly unlikely), but it shows the point that nothing is RTM until microsoft says it is. That doesn’t mean that 7600.16384 that was leaked will not be chosen as the RTM build, it just means that it is not “chosen as the RTM build”.

Maybe the Windows 7 Development team blog says it best:
“Another thing to keep in mind is that when we do a specific build internally of Windows 7 we have an extensive step-by-step validation process to ensure quality. This process takes time. Just because a single build may have “leaked” it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM.”

My Take:

So there we go, basically, if you want to play with something that is most likely incredibly close to the RTM, get the 7600.16384 build and have fun. Maybe you will get lucky and it will be chosen as the RTM build. My guess is that like Vista before it, there will be a few more revision builds 16385, and possibly 16386. However what is almost definite is that whichever build is chosen as the RTM build is most likely already compiled. In fact Paul Thurrott, who seems to have a lot of internal contact with Microsoft stated:
“(My sources tell me that Microsoft has indeed finalized Windows 7–and its sister product Windows Server 2008 R2–but that it will take several days, or perhaps a few weeks before they sign off on it.)”

In Conclusion

I hope this sheds a little bit of light on the RTM confusion fever that is spreading around all the Windows 7 enthusiasts out there, my recommendation is to go ahead and install the 16384 build only if you are able/willing to install a new version of Windows 7 if the 16384 ends up not being chosen. Personally, I am going to wait for confirmation, but my bet is that 16385 (which will be leaked soon I am sure.) will end up being the real build that is chosen as RTM. (I’m sure there is a reason that the new build was compiled three days later.)


P.S. Visit the Forums for Windows 7 Discussion:

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