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Windows 7 completed, headed to PC makers

That's it, it's finished: Windows 7 has been signed off by Microsoft as complete. Now it gets sent to manufacturers and for boxing up, ahead of its official release in October

That's it, it's finished: Windows 7 has been signed off by Microsoft as complete. It now gets sent to PC manufacturers and to the poor suckers who package up DVDs in boxes, ahead of its official release in October.

'Ready to manufacture' (RTM) is the final stage in development. PC manufacturers are given the final code for installation on new computers, DVDs are pressed, boxed and packaged up, and stores can begin to prepare to offer machines with the new OS installed. The developers, meanwhile, collect their bedding from under their desks and head back to their parents' basement.

It's felt like a swift developmental ride, from the first beta release through to the recent release candidate -- the beta was impressive to say the least, and subsequent betas were dismissed in favour of a release candidate just a handful of months ago.

Windows 7 will hit stores in October this year.

Did you know there are six different versions of Windows 7? Did you also know about the enormous discounts for pre-orders? What about the crippled edition heading to a netbook near you?

Our series of Windows 7 guides, covering features, editions and FAQs, will tell you everything you need to know about Microsoft's new OS. Check it our on our Windows 7 landing page, here.