The Windows Team have announced, via The Windows Blog, more information on the various availability dates for Windows 7. Whilst the consumer product launches on 22nd October, it will actually be available earlier for customers using our ‘volume licensing’ schemes – like the School Agreement and Select Licensing.

The very good news in their blog post is that customers who have bought their existing Windows licences with Software Assurance – which includes every school with a School Agreement – will be able to get the full released version on 7th August.

This ‘thank you’ to School Agreement customers means that some schools can roll out Windows 7 this summer, whilst the rest will have to wait until Christmas or beyond, when the classrooms are quiet enough.

Full details of all of the dates are on the Windows 7 team blog

It may seem adventurous for a school to roll out a brand new operating system very early, but this time things are very different – over 2m downloads of the Windows 7 beta, and millions of people running it means that we’re releasing a pretty mature product which has already had significant amounts of real-life testing. The old adage of “Wait for Service Pack 1” doesn’t seem to apply in the new release model, where the Beta and the Release Candidate are both widely available for public use.