Countdown: Windows 7 to RTM in the next two weeks

As of today Windows 7 is exactly three months away from its October 22nd launch – and at most 14 days away from the code being signed sealed and sent out into the world.

Microsoft’s timetable for distributing the OS revealed today on the company’s official Windows 7 Team Blog begins with the members-only MSDN TechNet and Microsoft Connect online services where the oven-fresh OS will be available for download on August 6th.

Windows 7 could conceivably ‘go gold’ any time before then but August 6th is clearly the last possible date on the calendar if Microsoft is stick to its game plan – a task at which newly-minted Windows supremo Steven Sinofsky has proven exceptionally good.

Businesses with a volume license and software assurance are up the following day on August 7th (companies which haven’t inked a software assurance contract will drum their fingers until September 1st).

OEMs will receive their final Windows 7 software images on DVD “approximately two days after we officially RTM” says Windows 7 blogger Brandon LeBlanc “as a little time is required to release and distribute these images”.

This will allow OEMs to roll their own bespoke versions of the OS with branding customised help screens drivers utilities and assorted crapware.

Gold and ‘certified’ members of Microsoft’s Partner Program will have access to Windows 7 RTM through the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal on August 16th with Microsoft Action Pack Subscribers to follow on August 23rd.

If you don’t have Windows 7 by then you’re obviously Not Important Enough and will have to cool your heels with the rest of the plebs until the official launch some two months later (or grab it from BitTorrent on August 7th).