Microsoft announced today that its next Windows milestone has been released to manufacturing (RTM), hitting its previously announced "first week of August" schedule.
The software is now available for Microsoft's OEM partners to start installing on systems in time for the wider public launch of the operating system on 26 October. Developers participating in the MSDN program will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 on 15 August. Microsoft also announced that Internet Explorer 10, Windows Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2012 have also moved to the RTM phase of development.
Moving the software to RTM status is the final step that Microsoft will take before its retail availability. This has followed several consumer testing stages: a release candidate and a consumer preview, both of which occurred earlier in the year. In a post on its MSDN blog, Microsoft reported that 16 million PCs had one or both of the beta builds of Windows 8 installed.
If you'd like to test drive Windows 8 before October, the release preview build is still available to download.