Microsoft talks about the road to Windows 8 RTM

Today, Microsoft launched the Windows 8 Release Preview build, which will likely be the last free version of the operating system before Microsoft signs off on the final version. As expected, the official Windows 8 blog has also been updated today as Windows head man Steven Sinofsky talks a bit about the Release Preview launch

However, Sinofsky doesn't focus on the Release Preview in the blog but rather the Windows team's road from that build to the "final" shipping version of Windows 8, also known as Release to Manufacturing (RTM). Sinofsky states:

Our focus from now until RTM is on continuing to maintain a quality level higher than Windows 7 in all the measures we focus on, including reliability over time; security to the core; PC, software, and peripheral compatibility; and resource utilization. We will rely heavily on the telemetry built into the product from setup through usage to inform us of the real world experience over time of the Release Preview. In addition, we carefully monitor our forums for reproducible reports relative to PC, software, and peripheral compatibility.

Some of the topics that the team will look into improving for Windows 8 RTM include installation, security, software compatibility, and servicing. On that topic, Sinofsky states:

We will continue to test the servicing of Windows 8 so everyone should expect updates to be made available via Windows Update. This will include new drivers and updates to Windows 8, some arriving very soon as part of a planned rollout. Test updates will be labeled as such. We might also fix any significant issue with new code. All of this effort serves to validate the servicing pipeline, and to maintain the quality of the Release Preview.

Sinofsky adds that the Windows 8 team is being "very deliberate" with regards to changes in the operating system and the company is trying to make sure that the quality of the software is where they want it to be ultimately, Sinofsky says that if everything stays on schedule as expected, the Windows 8 RTM build should be in its "final phases" in about two months, or the end of July. If that happens, PCs installed with both Windows 8 and WindowsRT (also known as Windows 8 ARM) should be "available for the holidays."

Source: Windows 8 blog | Image via Microsoft

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21 Comments

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It's unusual for a release preview / release candidate not to represent the final product, which seems to be the case based upon what they've suggested here. The biggest omission is that Microsoft showed a screenshot of the final theme which is without transparency yet transparency is still enabled by default in the RP. I'd be surprised to see any major changes being pushed through WU, though I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Windows 8 doesn't seem as polished as Vista or Win7 were at the RC stage. Performance is fine - no issues there - but there are still a lot of usability issues that just shouldn't be present for so late in development. The multi-monitor changes are simply bad and clearly weren't thought through.

theyarecomingforyou said,
It's unusual for a release preview / release candidate not to represent the final product, which seems to be the case based upon what they've suggested here. The biggest omission is that Microsoft showed a screenshot of the final theme which is without transparency yet transparency is still enabled by default in the RP. I'd be surprised to see any major changes being pushed through WU, though I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Windows 8 doesn't seem as polished as Vista or Win7 were at the RC stage. Performance is fine - no issues there - but there are still a lot of usability issues that just shouldn't be present for so late in development. The multi-monitor changes are simply bad and clearly weren't thought through.

Of course they are thought through, the changes are very welcomed indeed, and makes working with multiple monitors a real joy, especially compared to CP and previous Windows versions.

The only problem I found so far is the omission of the metro RDP app and desktop gadgets (sidebar.exe) which crashes on my system.

Edit: the metro RDP app is available in the store, oeps.

sjaak327 said,
Of course they are thought through, the changes are very welcomed indeed, and makes working with multiple monitors a real joy, especially compared to CP and previous Windows versions.
Have you even used it? If you move a Metro app off the main screen it automatically snaps to the next screen, even though you're still holding the button down - this is especially annoying when you're trying to snap it to the side and miss the tiny corner-catch. Further, if you open a Metro app on one screen then open the Start screen on another then it moves all apps to that screen - this means you cannot run Metro apps on multiple monitors. It just doesn't make any sense.

It's certainly not a "real joy".

I've just tested what you said, and it is a pity that only a max of 2 metro apps are able to be ran at the same time.

And yes, it sucks that it minimizes the metro apps when you launch a new one...

theyarecomingforyou said,
Have you even used it? If you move a Metro app off the main screen it automatically snaps to the next screen, even though you're still holding the button down - this is especially annoying when you're trying to snap it to the side and miss the tiny corner-catch. Further, if you open a Metro app on one screen then open the Start screen on another then it moves all apps to that screen - this means you cannot run Metro apps on multiple monitors. It just doesn't make any sense.

It's certainly not a "real joy".

Of course I used it, I don't have a havit of posting about stuff I have never used.. And now it does not move all metro apps to the screen where you invoked the start menu, use the upper right corner and mouse down, and you will see it remembered where metro apps resided. The only restriction I found is that indeed you cannot run metro apps on both monitors simultaneously, you can however move them two diffferent screens, and therefore is certainly is a joy compared to the CP or DP where you could not.

Well, not sure if this is a general issue.

I used the CP on three computers exclusively, including my main desktop at home and my laptop at work, not once has I seen this issue, EXCEPT AFTER I installed a dodgy language pack on one of them

I just really hope the RTM is able to handle start screen crashes. On CP each time the Start Screen froze I wasn't able to do anything at all

Jose_49 said,
I just really hope the RTM is able to handle start screen crashes. On CP each time the Start Screen froze I wasn't able to do anything at all

Didn't even Ctrl+Alt+Delete work?

Abhinav Kumar said,

Didn't even Ctrl+Alt+Delete work?


Nope .
Tried everything Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Even locking the system, but nothing.
I know they should have something figured out by now...

Jose_49 said,

Nope .
Tried everything Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Even locking the system, but nothing.
I know they should have something figured out by now...

Sounds like a hardware issue. Boot into Safe Mode, if you get it, you may have to play around with hardware.

ccoltmanm said,

Sounds like a hardware issue. Boot into Safe Mode, if you get it, you may have to play around with hardware.


It's definitely not a hardware issue. Other friends experienced the same issue, leaving only a forced shut down the available option.

Jose_49 said,

It's definitely not a hardware issue. Other friends experienced the same issue, leaving only a forced shut down the available option.
I've yet to have any problem like that on a Series 7 Slate, Odd.

Jose_49 said,
I just really hope the RTM is able to handle start screen crashes. On CP each time the Start Screen froze I wasn't able to do anything at all

I think it is a problem with graphics cards. Are you on NVIDIA? I have problems like that with my desktop (NVIDIA) but not with my laptop that has ATI graphics. Try to download the Windows 8 edition of your graphics drivers. Worked for me!

Enron said,

What if you don't have a keyboard?


then I suppose the only option is force shutdown and reboot. unless you still have virtual keyboard accessible from taskbar, then ctrl+shift+esc can help restart explorer and other processes or at least sign off from account.
also, if I remember correctly in my experience when Metro froze it wouldn't react on "hot corners", but as soon as I press Win key, it would restart the Metro UI without touching desktop.

butilikethecookie said,

I think it is a problem with graphics cards. Are you on NVIDIA? I have problems like that with my desktop (NVIDIA) but not with my laptop that has ATI graphics. Try to download the Windows 8 edition of your graphics drivers. Worked for me!


I already have, but will download newer one when RP finishes downloading!

Aside from that, I think MS really needs to figure out a way to handle Start Screen crashes efficiently.

I'm not saying that happens to me all the time, but when it does (occasionally) there's no way back...

Jose_49 said,
I just really hope the RTM is able to handle start screen crashes. On CP each time the Start Screen froze I wasn't able to do anything at all

That's an interesting problem. The Start Screen didn't ever freeze for me. I hope the Release Preview or RTM build sorts this problem for you.

Enron said,

What if you don't have a keyboard?

Golly gee! MS didn't think of that with Windows-8 and its obsessive focus on non keyboard devices.

TsarNikky said,

Golly gee! MS didn't think of that with Windows-8 and its obsessive focus on non keyboard devices.


Not so fast. If MS does copy cat correctly its competitors, then the sleep + win key should at least force a restart, as iOS and Android.

Enron said,

What if you don't have a keyboard?


The Samsung Series 7 Slate supports pressing the hardware Windows Key + Power Button as the Windows Security method and can be used to bring up Task Manager