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October 30, 2006

Spring forward, Fall back, RTM Nov. 7?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 3:32 PM

I was over on Microsoft's campus today and I poked my head into Building 9 just to see if the Vista "countdown clock" had been taken down, or perhaps reset at the end of daylight savings time Sunday morning.

It was still there and, in fact, it had a new message: "0008 Days Until Vista RTM!!!" (Two weeks ago it said "0009 Days Until Vista RTM!!!")

Release to manufacturing is the point in the development process when Microsoft hands over the final code for Windows Vista to be pressed onto disks and installed on computer hard drives for sale. Microsoft is aiming to get Vista to its large-volume customers, such as businesses, in November. Broader availability to consumers is scheduled for January.

Remember, the clock's been wrong before, so take its tantalizing message with a grain of salt. (By the way, it's not actually a clock, but rather a simple, one-line electronic reader board that scrolls other messages and trivia questions about Windows.)

If the clock's reading today is correct, that would put RTM -- essentially the end of Microsoft's years of work on the operating system code -- on Nov. 7. Earlier sources had pointed to Nov. 8. And before that, Paul Thurrott had suggested the target was between Oct. 25 (the date indicated when I first saw the clock two weeks ago) and Nov. 8.

In another development making the approach of Windows Vista and Office 2007 more tangible, Microsoft's PR firm said the company is posting images of its new product packaging here.

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