Windows 7 is gearing up for its final RTM (release to manufacturing), despite many people around the world still waiting to get a hand on beta build version of Windows 7. Microsoft has published and distributed an updated Windows 7 release roadmap to OEM partners. However, the most important information – the actual release date – is still unknown.

Windows 7 Localized Languages Editions Release Waves

Release Date

Language Edition

Wave 0

RTM

English, Spanish, Japanese, German, French

Wave 1

RTM + 14 Days

Italian, Dutch, Russian, Simplified Chinese

Wave 2

RTM + 28 Days

Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Korean

Wave 3

RTM + 45 Days

Traditional Chinese, Czech, Portuguese, Hungarian

Wave 4

RTM + 59 Days

Danish, Norwegian, Finnish

Wave 5

RTM + 73 Days

Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Ukrainian

Wave 6

RTM + 87 Days

Thai, Romanian, Lithuanian, Slovak, Bulgarian

Wave 7

RTM + 101 Days

Estonian, Croatian, Serbian, Latvian, Slovenian

Update: Windows 7 RTM Release Schedule has been updated.

The release of various language editions of Windows 7 will be separated into 8 waves, which spanning across 4 months from the first wave release upon Windows 7 RTM. Since the schedule is meant for OEM manufacturers, which normally get the code bits earlier. So the general public and retail channels will likely see a date which is later from OEM release.

Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU)

Similar to Windows Vista Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU) program, Windows 7 customers can also enjoy the Windows Anytime Upgrade service (only apply to consumers who bought Windows 7 editions lesser than Ultimate). End users who wish to upgrade to a “more premium” version of Windows 7 can purchase an upgrade key to unlock additional features. For example, Windows 7 Home Premium edition can pay to purchase an upgrade product key to instantly upgrade to Windows 7 Business or Ultimate edition.

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.
  • 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.

Other than upgrade from cheaper Windows 7 editions, Windows Vista users will also have chance to upgrade to Windows 7, although the program will likely to start at a later date after Windows 7 is RTMed. Only Windows Vista Home Premium, Business and Ultimate edition are qualified to upgrade to Windows 7, and the language versions supported are only the languages listed in the first 4 waves. Beside, the upgraded Windows 7 edition has to be corresponding to the Windows Vista edition, for example, Windows Vista Home Premium can upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium.

There is no pricing info yet.

Update: Windows 7 Upgrade Options technology guarantee program officially launched, and pricing details of Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade.

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