Microsoft has compiled the gold bits of Windows 8 after going through significant testing and meeting quality bar for RTM (Release to Manufacturing). At this stage,  the product is considered finished and ready to distribute to OEM partners. Within the next few days, hardware manufacturers will start testing to ensure the perfect compatibility of drivers and software with the Windows 8.1, and we will see some amazing new products from them while Windows 8 users will get Windows 8.1 as an update for absolutely free on October 18th.

Paul Thurrott, an author and blogger of has shared Windows 8.1 RTM build string via his Twitter account, which reads “9600.16384.130821-1623.” It explains the Build 9600 with revision 16384 has been compiled on August 21, 2013 at 4:23PM.

The RTM build is not usually change until the General Availability or GA. However, the software maker will continue to fix small bugs in between this version and the general availability in October, which will be distributed via the updates from Windows Update a few days after the public availability.

Windows 8.1, internally known as “Blue” will be a profound upgrade for Windows 8. In addition to increasing the overall reliability of the operating system, the update will also bring changes on the interface and functionalities. Windows 8.1 adds the Start button, albeit with different features from the classic version introduced in Windows 95 for the first time. There will be an option to go to the desktop interface instead of Start screen, and few more alterations in order to make less drastic differences between Windows 8 and older version of Windows.

See also: A leaked pre-RTM build of Windows 8.1 reveals a number of improvement over the Windows 8.1 Preview.

The official announcement of the RTM version of Windows 8.1 could take place at the beginning of next week.

Source: Paul Thurrott