Today, Microsoft signed off on Windows 8 by making the RTM (release to manufacturing) version available to hardware partners to put final code on their machines.\n\tStarting on Friday, October 26, 2012 Windows 8 will be generally available.\n\tThe Windows 8 consumer and release preview versions, released earlier this year, delivered new and enhanced features such as Windows To Go for mobility and Trusted Boot for security. The RTM version did usher in a note-worthy new feature for developers: the launch of Windows Store commerce platform. Companies can now register with the Windows Store and submit Metro style apps. Also, the Windows Store is now accepting paid apps.\n\tBetween now and the Oct. 26 Windows 8 release, there are a handful of dates that developers and IT pros should keep an eye on. Here's a rundown.\n\tAugust 15:\n\t\n\t\tDevelopers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via MSDN subscriptions.\n\t\n\t\tIT pros testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through TechNet subscriptions.\n\n\tAugust 16:\n\t\n\t\tCustomers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), where they can test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within their organizations.\n\t\n\t\tMicrosoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.\n\n\tAugust 20:\n\t\n\t\tMicrosoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) will receive access to Windows 8.\n\n\tSeptember 1:\n\t\n\t\tVolume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.\n\n\tOctober 26:\n\t\n\t\tWindows 8 will be available to consumers either by upgrading or buying a new PC. Eligible Windows 7 PCs purchased now are good for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.\n\n\tThe Windows 8 Release Preview is still available for download.