Windows 7 Beta Testers Will Get the RTM for Free After All
Article by George Norman
On 31 Jul 2009
When Microsoft was getting ready to roll out the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) version of the Windows 7 operating system, Windows Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc announced that when getting Windows 7 RTM depends on who you are – an OEM, an MSDN subscriber, or a regular user. The time when you will get the RTM also depends on who you are. The one category of Windows 7 users that was missing from the announcement was Windows 7 Beta testers.

They were missing in the “who can get Windows 7 RTM” part, but they were mentioned in the announcement – as in thanks for all your help, but we will not give you the RTM. “A special thank you to our beta testers is needed for their time and effort in helping make Windows 7 a solid release. Beta testers will not automatically receive a free copy of Windows 7,” I believe were LeBlanc’s exact words. Words that he had to take back!


Yes, it seems that he spoke out to soon. As it turns out, Microsoft will give you a free version of Windows 7 RTM as long as you were part of the Windows 7 Technical Beta Program. “Normally I hate to be wrong but in this case, I’m stoked that I am. To show our appreciation, members of the invitation-only Windows 7 Technical Beta Program will be eligible for a free, final copy of Windows 7 Ultimate,” explained LeBlanc in a brief post the other day.

So if Microsoft sent you an invitation to test the Beta, Microsoft will give you the RTM of Windows 7 as well, at no cost whatsoever. Only technical Beta testers, not all the other people that downloaded Windows 7 Beta and put it through its paces.

Additional details on Microsoft’s offer to technical Beta testers have been brought to light by an anonymous tester via ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley:

All current members of our English technical and international mini-beta programs are eligible.

• We are offering you a full (non-upgrade) copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition for your own personal use, not to be resold.

• You will be able to get access to your copy one of two ways:

A) To get up and running quickly you will be able to download your copy and get your product key via Microsoft Connect. English downloads will be available August 6th and other languages will follow as they become available.

B) Members of our English beta program have an alternative. We have reserved a limited amount of boxed retail copies that you can choose to receive instead. These are ‘first come, first served’. If you opt to have us ship you the boxed copy you should be aware that it will take much longer until you will be up and running on the final version. We will need time to manufacture and ship the copies to you. This means that you may not receive them until they are available on shelves October 22nd or later. Also, for people outside the United States you may be required to pay duties or other local taxes upon receipt.

Instructions and forms for choosing one of the above options will be available on Microsoft Connect on Monday August 3rd.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Windows 7 RTM, Technical Beta Program
About the author: George Norman
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Windows 7 Beta Testers Will Get the RTM for Free After All
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