Windows 7 will hit store shelves on October 22, Microsoft confirmed today.
The successor to Windows Vista was originally slated for a 2010 roll-out, but last month, Redmond admitted that the OS would arrive in time for the crucial holiday shopping season.
Microsoft said Tuesday that Windows 7 code will be finalized and sent out to manufacturing in the second half of July. The OS will then be made generally available October 22.
Coinciding with the release date announcement, Microsoft affirmed its launching an upgrade program to help keep PC sales pumping as the operating system's ship date nears. Details on the program haven't been disclosed yet, but a leaked briefing paper for OEM vendors suggests Windows Vista machines will qualify for a free upgrade beginning July 1. The paper didn't mention when eligibility would end.
Microsoft will ship six versions of Windows 7; Starter Edition, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate, and Home Basic for developing markets. Prices haven't yet been set for the SKUs. ®