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What is the difference between Windows 8 RTM that was released in August and Windows 8 final release that will be released on 26th October?

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closed as too localized by soandos, 8088, ChrisF, BBlake, CharlieRB Oct 24 '12 at 13:04

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You'll never know for sure until the 26th! – AbhishekGirish Oct 24 '12 at 2:34
If I wouldn't know the answer, I'd guess it stands for Read The Manual... :) – TC1 Oct 24 '12 at 8:42

RTM means release to manufacturing. This is usually the code/binaries that is officially released and fully supported (Unlike RC, release candidate). Future bug fixes and service packs will be based of the RTM binaries.

After RTM, Microsoft provides the build to its software, hardware partners and OEMs to test out / create WHQL drivers and add support for legacy and new software/hardware. This leads to some changes/enhancements to the OS which is (until now) released as a hotfix or service pack 1.

With Windows 8, the official release will have in addition to RTM binaries, an additional 170 MB patch which contains all this enhancement and OEMs will install this enhanced Windows on new PCs. The blog mentioning this is here.

With every release of Windows we have had approximately 8-12 weeks from when we released the code to OEMs and manufacturing and when the product was available on new PCs and for retail customers. This time has historically been used to match newly developed PCs, which can include a variety of new or enhanced components, drivers, and companion software, with the final code for Windows. Because these hardware and software components are brand new, it could be the case that they uncover the need for changes and improvements to Windows in the areas of fundamentals.

We would often create dozens of changes for each OEM for these new PCs. Those changes would be deployed during manufacturing of those PCs and thus would be invisible to customers. While those changes could potentially apply to a broader range of PCs, we did not have in place the testing and certification to broadly distribute these updates. As a result, customers would have to wait until the first service pack to see these enhancements. We know many folks would spend time working to uncover these OEM enhancements in a desire to have the most up to date Windows.

During the final months of Windows 8 we challenged ourselves to create the tools and processes to be able to deliver these “post-RTM” updates sooner than a service pack.

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RTM(release to market) is basically(almost) the final version. There are changes from the RP(release preview). But who knows what are the exact difference between the RTM and Final version, because still MS has not provide any official information.

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