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July 9, 2013

Windows 8.1 RTM Ready by August, OEMs Get it First

Microsoft will be ready with an RTM (release to market) version of Windows 8.1 as early as by August, according to the company. In a recent company blog, it stated that OEMs (pre-built desktop and notebook manufacturers) will begin receiving the software in August, so their products running the software could reach markets by October, when the operating system is expected to formally launch.

OEMs typically get a disc image for Windows 8.1, and reels of certificates of authenticity (COA) to stick on each of their products that ship with the software pre-installed. The companies then modify the image to include device drivers and settings specific to their products, and deploy them en-masse. When a customer purchases a notebook or desktop, the software key on the (COA) sticker has to be used to activate Windows. Given that Windows 8.1 RTM will be given to OEMs this early, customers can expect a slew of day-one software updates when they unbox their PCs in October.

Windows 8.1 is currently given out as a free "Release Preview" for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. Users coming from Windows 7 will get an option to purchase Windows 8.1 in October, update to Windows 8.1 RTM without changing files or settings, and continue using the software; whereas users coming from Windows 8 get a free upgrade to Windows 8.1.