I wanted to give you an update on the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 release timelines.

The following dates are 99% firm, but please remember the Windows product teams always reserve the right to make last minute changes.

Finally, the prescriptive guidance has been updated on TechNet and IT Springboard, so mark these dates on your calendar and start making your deployment plans!

windows7

August 7, 2009

Volume License customers with an existing Software Assurance license will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English via the Microsoft Volume License Service (MVLS) website. Specifically look for the Windows 7 Enterprise Edition image in the “Software Assurance” benefits section of the site. For more information checkout the Windows Team blog posting.

August 11, 2009

Windows Server 2003 KMS Update & New KMS Host Key will need to be installed on the existing KMS host for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 to activate. Once activated, the KMS host will be able to activate all products (depending on the KMS key that is used).

Microsoft Support Article 968915 has detailed information on installing the Key Management Service (KMS) 1.2 for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and for later versions of Windows Server 2003. KMS 1.2 provides support for the following KMS client installations:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2)

According to the Volume Activation Planning Guide, the KMS service does not require a dedicated server. The KMS service can be co-hosted with other services, such as Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain controllers and read-only domain controllers (RODCs). KMS hosts can also run on physical computers or virtual machines that are running any supported Windows operating system, including Windows Server 2003. Although a KMS host that is running Windows Server 2008 R2 can activate any Windows operating system that supports Volume Activation, a KMS host that is running Windows 7 can activate only computers running Windows 7 and Windows Vista clients. A single KMS host can support unlimited numbers of KMS clients; however, Microsoft recommends deploying a minimum of two KMS hosts for failover. Most organizations can use as few as two KMS hosts for their entire infrastructure. Each KMS key can be installed on up to six KMS hosts, which can be physical computers or virtual machines. After activating a KMS host, the same host can be reactivated up to nine more times with the same key.

Additionally, the following KMS updates are available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:

Download the Update for Windows Server 2003 x86 Edition package now.

Download the Update for Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition package now.

August 14, 2009

IT Professionals with TechNet Subscriptions and Developers with MSDN Subscriptions will be able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM in English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish. For more information you should checkout the Windows Server blog posting.

August 19, 2009

Volume License customers, with an existing Software Assurance license, can download Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM via the Volume License Service Center.

August 25, 2009

KMS Update for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 is expected to be available via Windows Update and Windows Server Update Services.  Service Pack 2 will need to be installed on the KMS host systems as a prerequisite. KB968912 will eventually cover this release, and it will be published on or before the release of this update.

September 1, 2009

Volume License customers without a SA license will be able to purchase Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 through Volume Licensing as we announced last week at the Worldwide Partner Conference.