Late Friday, Microsoft made the Windows Server 2003 "gold," or release to manufacturing (RTM), code available to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers and beta testers. MSDN Universal and Professional subscribers can now download Windows 2003, Web Edition; Windows 2003, Standard Edition; Windows 2003, Enterprise Edition; and Enterprise 64-Bit editions, as well as Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM) and a customer-support and diagnostic toolset. Windows 2003 beta testers received access to 180-day time-limited versions of the final code; the editions they received depended on which editions they tested during the beta. Interestingly, Microsoft said that beta testers won't receive a retail copy of the final code, which is typically the case with the company's server beta programs.

"The Windows Server Product Development Team is pleased to announce the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (Build 3790)!" the company wrote in an email message to beta testers late Friday. "Microsoft officially signed off on this version March 28, 2003, and released the master media to our product manufacturing vendors."

Although Microsoft previously touted the Release Candidate 2 (RC2)-to-RTM upgrade path, the company alerted testers Friday that it no longer recommends that users perform this upgrade. "While upgrading from RC1 or RC2 to RTM is possible, it is not a supported scenario unless you have a pre-existing agreement with Microsoft to support your upgrades from beta to RTM," Microsoft told testers. "Note that Techbeta agreements do not include support for that upgrade path. Microsoft strongly recommends that you clean install \[the final\] build."