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First Win10 RTM Candidate Hits

As reported on lots of Windows watching sites — WinBeta and betanews, for example — a first Windows 10 build numbered 10176, labeled as a release candidate, has made its debut.  Most of these stories originate from which tracks Windows 10 builds as a kind of public service. WinBeta speculates further that “if all goes well, Microsoft could have an RTM build of Windows 10 ready by the end of the week…”

That same story also provides an interesting “rough consensus model” for how the latest RTM process will work at Microsoft, which reminds me of how things work at IETF with draft specifications:

If you are unaware how the sign off process works, Microsoft will compile a number of builds they consider ‘worthy’ of RTM, these are called RTM candidates. These builds will be tested, and if the builds are found to have no bugs or issues, will be then voted on by employees. The build which is voted for the most is then selected as the RTM build, and recompiled into the winmain branch. The build number then usually jumps to a number which is divisible by 16 and 100, like 10400.

Needless to say, this is a major departure from the more buttoned-down approach to RTM that MS has employed in the past, even with the RTM for Windows 8.1. This points to the new facts of Windows OS release life, in which the target keeps moving and always remains a work in progress (for a fascinating discussion of what this means for OEMs who must track and release systems to run this stuff, see Paul Thurrott’s story “Dell + Windows 10” which dives into some of the elements of making all of this work for customers who buy new Dell PCs for Windows 10, or who seek to upgrade existing systems to Windows 10).

On the face of it, Win10 system requirements are modest, but the Devil lurks in the driver details.

As for myself, I’m particularly curious about how older but still viable systems released with Windows 7 will fare in the brave new Windows 10 world. For example, I have two pretty thoroughly tricked out Sandy Bridge i7 Lenovo notebooks — an X220 Tablet and a T520 notebook, each with 16 GB RAM, a fast mSATA 256 GB SDD, a second 256 GB SSD, and high capacity SDXC cards that remain pretty capable but face an uncertain Win10 future. I’m pretty sure my newer Haswell tablets will do just fine with Windows 10 (Surface Pro 3, i7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD; Dell Venue 11 Pro 7139, ditto). But it will be interesting to see how well those older systems take to the newest OS, when the upgrade becomes available. Not coincidentally, I’m also curious to see how well the release candidates that will start showing up over the next three weeks will fade into whatever emerges for RTM. Stay tuned: I’ll keep you posted as this all unfolds.