Although Microsoft isn't naming a release date for its Windows 8 operating system, the company dropped the strongest hints yet today that it will be ready for a possible October release. Windows chief Steven Sinofsky took to the company's Building Windows 8 blog to describe the process towards a Release to Manufacturing (RTM) for Windows 8.

"The changes we make to the product from RP to RTM are all carefully considered and deliberate," says Sinofsky, including some user experience changes around the Aero desktop theme. Microsoft says its partners will determine when Windows 8 PCs hit the market but that the company "will enter the final phases of the RTM process in about 2 months." For comparison purposes, Windows 7 hit RTM on July 22nd, 2009 and a retail version was made available three months later on October 22nd, 2009. If Windows 8 hits the RTM milestone in late July then it looks set to follow an October release date just like Windows 7.