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Windows 7 Launch Schedule

Microsoft will be launching Windows 7 in seven "language waves". We have no idea if the choice of 7 language waves is merely a coincidence or intentionally chosen to match the name. The actual date for Windows 7's release to manufacturing (RTM) has yet to be determined, so the schedule below is based on the final RTM date.

Update @ February 5 : Microsoft is targeting an April '09 release of their Release Candidate (RC) build. If tests of the RC build proceeds according to plan, Microsoft is confident of launching Windows 7 before the December '09 holiday season. In short, we can expect Windows 7 to RTM by September or October '09.

Update @ February 12 : Microsoft just added the Traditional Chinese (Taiwan) and Swedish languages to the launch schedule.

Update @ February 25 : NVIDIA let it slipped in a conference call today that Windows 7 will be out this year. Well, the latest you can get this year is December, so our source is on target with the November-December launch window that we announced on February 5 (see above).

Update @ April 25 : We have confirmation that Microsoft will release the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) build to MSDN and TechNet on Thursday, April 30, 2009. The Windows 7 Release Candidate will have the 7077-0-90404-1255 build number. Broader, public availability of the RC build will begin the following week (week of May 4).

Update @ May 5 : Microsoft has confirmed that they are building their Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 business plans and marketing around a holiday 2009 season. That ties in with our February 5 report (see above) of a December 2009 launch. In addition, Microsoft is planning to depart from the original release schedule and release ALL language waves within 4 weeks after RTM. If Microsoft is able to implement this change, then the new schedule will shave approximately 73 days off the original schedule. Microsoft expects to finalize the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 release schedule in May 2009.

Update @ May 20 : We received news that Microsoft will be talking to top volume OEMs worldwide today about their operational readiness for the launch of Windows 7. It is expected that Microsoft will finalize their launch plans after these discussions.

Update @ June 3 : Microsoft has officially announced to their OEMs that Windows 7 General Availability (GA) will begin on October 22, 2009. Microsoft anticipates that they will be able to release the Windows 7 RTM code to OEMs in the second half of July, 2009. In addition, Microsoft will compress the delivery of Windows 7 language waves, with all 36 languages set to be released within RTM plus 15 days. Originally, Microsoft planned to release the 7 additional language waves over a rather protracted period of 101 days after the RTM of the first wave. Microsoft also changed the prioritization of languages to be released in each wave.

Update @ June 19 : Microsoft has announced the compressed schedule of release of the Windows 7 language waves. Originally, they planned to release all 36 languages in a rather protracted period of 102 days. Now, they have compressed it to just 4 days!

Update @ June 27 : The latest RTM date for Windows 7 is now July 13, still within the mid-July timeframe announced by Microsoft. We also adjusted the wave release dates from the original RTM-based dates to proper dates.

Update @ July 9 : Although there have been rumours that Microsoft might not make the earlier July 13 deadline for the RTM of Windows 7, our source indicates that Microsoft is firmly on track for the July 13 release date.

Update @ July 24 : Microsoft officially announced the RTM of Windows 7 on July 22. It looks like they missed the original July 13 deadline, but if the RTM build number is actually 6.1.7600.16385.090713-1255 as rumoured, then the RTM build was compiled on July 13, as expected earlier. If so, then the official announcement was nothing more than a formality after a final test of the RTM build. Even with the slight delay, Windows 7 is on track for an October 22 launch.

Key Events

Release Date



April 30, 2009

English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish

Release To

July 22, 2009

Brazilian, Chinese Simplified,
Chinese Traditional (Hong Kong),
Chinese Traditional (Taiwan), Czech,
Dutch, English, French, German, Italian,
Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese,
Russian, Spanish, Turkish

Windows 7 GA
(Wave 0)

October 22, 2009

Brazilian, Chinese Simplified,
Chinese Traditional (Hong Kong),
Chinese Traditional (Taiwan), Czech,
Dutch, English, French, German, Italian,
Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese,
Russian, Spanish, Turkish

Wave 1 Release

October 23, 2009

Danish, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Swedish

Wave 2 Release

October 24, 2009

Arabic, Bulgarian, Estonian, Greek,
Hebrew, Lithuanian, Romanian, Slovak,
Slovenian, Thai, Ukrainian

Wave 3 Release

October 25, 2009

Croatian, Latvian, Serbian Latin

Do note that Release To Manufacturing (RTM) dates are different from actual public release dates. As mentioned in our report on Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 3, the release to manufacturing (RTM) means exactly that - Microsoft Windows 7 has been finalized and is now released for manufacturing, and to the OEMs for integration with their systems. The public launch and end-user availability of Windows 7 will come later. See above for the actual release dates of each Windows 7 language wave.


Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU)

Windows 7 will provide end users with a quick and easy upgrade process. End users who wish to upgrade to a "more premium" version of Windows 7 can purchase an upgrade key to unlock additional features. Additional details will be forthcoming in the November update.

Update @ December 15, 2008 : Microsoft's OEM partners have chosen not to support WAU. Therefore, Microsoft will directly provide WAU to end-users by :

  • Supporting the end user through the upgrade process and digital upgrade key delivery, and
  • Supporting the end user after the upgrade. In other words, Microsoft will assume the responsibility of supporting Windows 7 after end user upgrades.
  • Redirecting support calls from end users who have upgraded through WAU to Microsoft.

Note : All future updates regarding Windows Anytime Upgrade will be posted in the Windows Anytime Upgrade For Windows 7 Revealed article.


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