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Operating Systems

Windows 10 may head to PC makers in July

So says Russian leaker Wzor. If that's the case, the consumer version will have to be finalized quickly to accord with Microsoft's promise of a summer release.

Windows 10 may be released to manufacturers by July. screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft may have to work overtime to launch the consumer-ready version of Windows 10 before the summer winds down.

The software giant has already announced that the next generation of its operating system will roll out sometime this summer -- in other words, by mid-September -- but no specific date or month has been revealed. In April, Lisa Su, the CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, accidentally spilled the beans when she said that Windows 10 would debut in late July. The assumption was that she was referring to the final consumer version.

In a tweet on Wednesday, known Russian leaker Wzor said that the release of Windows 10 RTM has been confirmed for July 2015. RTM, or release to manufacturing, is the version of operating system software sent to PC makers and other manufacturers to test and install on their devices before it officially rolls out. The final consumer release typically doesn't appear until months later, after manufacturers have had time to put the RTM version through its paces, scouring for last-minute bugs.

Here's the challenge. Assuming Wzor is right -- and though he didn't cite any sources for his comment, he does have a good track record -- Microsoft won't have much time between Windows 10 RTM and the final version to make any necessary changes. In 2012, Microsoft's RTM of Windows 8 arrived in August, with the final version then following in October. In 2009, Windows 7 RTM popped up in July, and the consumer version came in October. So if Microsoft plans to stick to its plans for a summer release of Windows 10, it may have only a few weeks at most between RTM and the final version.

Microsoft is counting on Windows 10 to erase the bad karma of Windows 8, which turned off many PC users with its touch-screen and tablet-focused environment, among other factors. Toward that end, the company has been asking people to test the Windows 10 Technical Preview and offer comments and suggestions. Based on some of the feedback, Microsoft has been tweaking and enhancing Windows 10 for the past several months with the aim of getting it just right. But could the company end up rushing Windows 10 out the door just to meet the summer deadline?

The Windows 10 Technical Preview has been out since last September. During that time, users who've signed up for the Windows Insider Program have already been giving the operating system a good workout. As a result, Microsoft has released new builds of Windows 10 at least once a month. And each new build has shown off not just new features but improvements and refinements from the previous one. Still, there is more work to be done.

Released last week, the latest build, numbered 10122, shows a Windows 10 with a sleek interface, enhancements to the Start menu/Start screen and tweaks to the new Microsoft Edge browser. But there's still a certain roughness to the overall OS with certain features not yet working as expected. So Microsoft will certainly continue to create and issue more builds until the OS is as rock solid as possible.

Here's a good question: Why doesn't Microsoft just wait until October to release Windows 10, as it has with prior versions of Windows? The company is likely eager to move people away from Windows 8 as soon as possible. Windows 10 is also Microsoft's attempt to offer a more unified experience among desktop and mobile devices, the goal being to attract more consumers to Windows PCs, tablets and phones.

Microsoft must believe that with further refinements, Windows 10 will be ready quickly. It had better be. The company can't afford another misstep in the wake of Windows 8.

Responding to a request for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson sent CNET the following statement: "Microsoft has said Windows 10 will launch this summer. We have nothing additional to share."