Windows 10 Approaches RTM Candidate Status As Build 10176 Tip-Toes Onto Web

Microsoft has been busy kicking out Windows 10 Technical Preview builds at a furious pace as of late (three releases in a week, including two that came on subsequent days), but what we haven't seen is a Release To Manufacturing (RTM) candidate. Until now, that is. It appears that Build 10176 is the first RTM of Windows 10, though it may not represent the final product that ships July 29.

Traditionally speaking, RTM releases are those with finished code in need of a bit of last minute testing before going gold. However, there are still two weeks left before Windows 10 is set to ship to the public, so we're likely to see at least one more RTM build in the interim, especially with how rapidly Microsoft has been releasing preview builds to Windows Insiders.

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In this case, build tracking site BuildFeed tipped the release of Build 10176 from the "th1" branch, which is a reference to Threshold, the original codename for Windows 10. While it may not end up being the final code for Windows 10, it's expected to be stable (assuming it really is an RTM build).

Bear in mind that Windows 10 represents a new direction for Microsoft. Rather than continuing to release new major builds every few years, Windows 10 is the first release as part of a Windows as a Service model, meaning it's a constant work in progress. Hence why an RTM release this time around is different compared to prior Windows versions.

That said, the version of Windows 10 that ships to consumers is nearly ready and will deploy on July 29. It will roll out in waves, so you may not see an upgrade until sometime after. If you're not a Windows Insider, the best thing you can do is reserve your upgrade via the Windows icon in your taskbar (if you're using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1).