Microsoft shows sneak peek of Win2000 Beta 3

Microsoft today previewed Windows 2000 beta 3, which it plans to release in April.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

At Local Media Day on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, company officials showed a recent build of Windows 2000 beta 3 and discussed enhancements that customers can expect in the coming months. At the same time, Microsoft officials admitted that application compatibility has been a problem with Windows 2000 (formerly NT 5.0) betas to date. "Application compatibility is one of our top issues," said Yusuf Mehdi, director of Windows marketing. "We are breaking compatibility today with lots of applications. Our goal is to maximise for reliability." He added that application compatibility is of secondary concern, a change in pace from Windows 95, when compatibility could be assumed.

Mehdi showed improvements in the Internet Explorer 5.0 search capability, which will be incorporated into beta 3. He also said beta 3 will include improved set up/supportability, in terms of Safe Mode enhancements. He also committed to Active Directory set-up wizards, meant to make Microsoft's forthcoming directory service far easier to install than it is currently, as well as fully integrated Com+ and Terminal Server features.

Mehdi reiterated that Microsoft is on track to ship beta 3 in April and said 40 enterprise customers are expected to deploy beta 3 in production. Translation: Microsoft continues to push ahead with its Joint Development Program (JDP) and Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) for Windows 2000. JDP and RDP participants have said that Microsoft told them they need to deploy more than one thousand copies of Windows 2000 Professional beta 3 in order to continue to receive the programs' benefits (such as increased support and regular code builds reserved for program participants).

Mehdi told Local Media Day participants that Windows 2000 Professional currently stands at 23 million lines of code, with the server version being slightly larger. He acknowledged the "larger memory footprints" of Windows 2000 server has not been well received by beta testers. When asked about Microsoft's plans for NT in the consumer space, Mehdi said Microsoft plans to rev the Windows 9X code base at least one more time in the forth coming OEM Service Release (OSR). He said Microsoft is considering when and if it will do further Windows releases based on the 9X kernel beyond the OSR build.

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