Windows 8 reached a significant milestone on its path to being released later this year. Microsoft announced that it had released its final build of Windows 8 to manufacturers. Called the ‘RTM’ stage of development (Released To Manufacturers), this allows Microsoft’s hardware partners to start optimizing their devices for release later this year.
Over the next few months, hardware manufacturers will be scrambling to optimize their devices for use on Windows 8. Companies like HP and Dell will be tweaking their tablets and Windows 8 PCs to take full advantage of the operating system in time for its release on October 26, 2012.
The RTM build of Windows 8 will not be its final copy. However, it does signal that Microsoft has performed enough optimization and ironed out enough glitches to be satisfied with the final build.
Sometimes, the RTM stage of development can lead to leaks. Keep an eye on software sharing websites for any Windows 8 files within the next couple months. If you’re lucky, you might be able to snag a free (but completely illegal) copy for yourself. Just don’t leave it installed for long: Microsoft catches on to such shenanigans pretty quickly.

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