Windows 7 Build 6.1.7600.16385 is RTM. Steven Sinofsky, president, Windows Division, and Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer announced the release to manufacturing of Windows Vista's successor on July 22nd, 2009. In just three months, on October 22nd, 2009, Windows 7 will hit the shelves, general availability for both the OEM and retail channels. But by October, Microsoft will serve the RTM bits of the platform to a variety of audiences. OEMs are the first in line, and are already getting the gold release of Windows 7.
“Windows 7 is a product not just of Microsoft, but of a whole industry of partners of all kinds. Throughout the development of Windows 7 we’ve seen an incredible engagement from so many people that have contributed to making the Windows 7 engineering project one we, collectively, feel good about. The feedback and collaboration throughout the development of Windows 7 has been outstanding and valuable beyond measure. This work has created the kind of experience so many of you have talked about in this blog—the ability to use a broad range of PC hardware and peripherals with a great setup and out of box experience. On behalf of the Windows team and all of the successful installations and device connections, please let me extend an incredible “thank you” to all of our hardware partners who have done such excellent work,” Sinofsky revealed.
On August 6th Microsoft will start offering Windows 7 to MSDN and TechNet subscribers along with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHV) and Independent Software Vendors (ISV). But the fact of the matter is that Windows 7 RTM Build 7600.16385 has been already leaked and made available for download in the wild. Although it only announced the RTM of Windows 7 on July 22nd, 2009, Microsoft compiled the gold development milestone of the operating system as early as July 13th.
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600.16385 was preceded by 7600.16384, compiled just three days earlier, and leaked just as Microsoft was gearing up to RTM the Windows client. After RTM was announced the first builds of 7600.16385 started popping up in the wild. However, the ISO images available initially were “home brewed,” as the authors got hold of the original files from Microsoft and put together their own releases. As the company started serving Build 7600.16385 to OEMs, the original ISO images of Windows 7 RTM also made it on torrent trackers and warez websites.
The best way to check whether a Windows 7 RTM download is what it claims to be is to check the values of SHA-1 and MD5 Checksum Hash. Thanks to Daniel Melanchthon, technical evangelist for Security and Messaging in the Developer & Platform Strategy Group at Microsoft Germany, the official SHA-1 and MD5 information associated with Windows 7 RTM is already available. In order for Windows 7 copies in the wild to be genuine and untampered with the SHA-1 and MD5 values of the downloaded files need to correspond with those of the original ISO images from Microsoft.
“Windows 7 has also been one of the most broadly and deeply tested releases of software we have ever had,” Sinofsky said. “Starting with a pre-beta in October of 2008 with a few thousand developers using Windows 7 at the earliest stages, through the Beta, and then the Release Candidate in May when we have had millions of people successfully running the product (and many on multiple PCs). As we have discussed in this forum, the ongoing depth usage of Windows 7 along with the breadth and variety of hardware and software configurations has provided (and will continue to provide) the key tools to make sure we continue to deliver ever-improving Operating System quality.”
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600.16385 installation
The Release Candidate is a critical milestone for the development of Windows 7. In a sense, at RC, Windows 7 was already complete. Testers and early adopters of the platform wave witnessed first hand that Microsoft introduced only minor tweaks and under-the-hood optimizations to Windows 7 as the operating system evolved from RC to RTM.
This is another way to say that there's almost nothing new to see when it comes down to the installation process of Windows 7 RTM. The only noticeable difference is the fact that the installer no longer delivers the Ultimate edition of the Windows client automatically. As it was the case with Vista RTM, Windows 7 RTM lets users choose the edition they want to install, between the Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate SKUs.
Windows 7 RTM Build 7600.16385 in all its splendor
“We worked closely with OEMs so that their PCs delight customers with the new features in Windows 7,” stated Brandon LeBlanc, Windows communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team.” “Of course, [the] release is also the result of the amazing amount of feedback we received from the millions of people who tested Windows 7 – from Beta to RC. We actually had over 10 million people opt-in to the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). That’s a lot of people opting in to help us make Windows 7 a solid release. Through CEIP, our engineers were guided by customer feedback all the way to RTM. We also have had a great group of beta testers who have dedicated a great deal of their time to testing Windows 7 too. A special thank you goes out to all the people who helped test Windows 7.”
“Nothing new to see here” also applies to the actual Windows 7 RTM Build 7600.16385 bits. The release is identical to Build 7600.16384 and a few earlier builds closer to RTM, at least to the naked eye. Undoubtedly Microsoft has worked to soften all the rough edges of the operating system, but the changes do not reverberate in visible modifications to the surface of the OS. But don't take my word for it. Take a look at the images included below and judge for yourselves.
RTM is so yesterday, what now?
“While we have reached our RTM Milestone, no software project is ever really “done”. We will continue to monitor and act on the real world experience with Windows 7—we’ve used the Beta and RC process to test out our servicing and we have every intent of doing a great job on this important aspect of the product,” Sinofsky explained. “Hardware partners will continue to provide new devices and improve support for existing devices. PC makers no doubt have quite a bit in store for all of us as they begin to show off PCs specifically designed for Windows 7’s new APIs and features. Software developers will have lots of new software to show off as well. All of this is yet to come and is very exciting.”
Just as for Vista, Microsoft will continue to work on Windows 7. It will not be uncommon, after the first boot of the new iteration of the Windows client, for users to be asked to update the OS, even if the installation is brand new. Moving forward, expect the Redmond company to rely increasingly on Windows Update in order to enhance Windows. Until October 22nd, and well after that date, the software giant will focus entirely on Windows 7. With RTM and General Availability (GA) out of the way work will debut on the first service pack. At the same time, Microsoft will start to shift its focus to the next version of its operating system, Windows 8, which is already in the planning phase. But Windows 8 is another story altogether; it's Windows 7's time! And it will be for a very long time. In fact, don't expect Windows 8 to start taking contour until well into 2010.
“Software projects on the scale of Windows are pretty rare and our team has a lot of pride, and as we have said so many times, is humbled by the responsibility,” Sinofsky noted. “We are going to continue to learn and continue to improve how we engineer our products, with the aim of being the very best engineers we can be and delivering the very best OS for the world’s varied customers. Being an engineer is about learning and that learning comes from the experience gained in designing and delivering each release. Together we’ve learned and together we’ve engineered a wonderful product.”