Windows 2000 Release Candidate 1 Announced

Nine weeks after releasing beta 3, Microsoft Corp. took another step forward with Windows 2000 by announcing that Release Candidate 1 is available for the nearly half-million beta testers currently evaluating beta 3 of the forthcoming operating system.

The software giant has maintained since beta 3 was released that no new features would be added between the third beta and the final version. As expected, though, existing features have been tweaked and enhanced for this release candidate.

In Windows 2000 Server, the Configure Your Server tool, and Server Administrator snap-ins have been edited for clarity, and layout changes have been made to improve usability of the MMC snap-ins.

DNS enhancements enable the administrator of a DNS server to track whether a record is being used, to periodically scavenge and delete stale records.

DNS Aging can improve DNS performance by tracking whether a client fails to deregister its records. When that happens, the records may stay in the DNS database for an unlimited period of time, increasing the database size and decreasing DNS server performance.

Windows NT 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, which became part of the base operating system in the third beta, has also been enhanced. Terminal Services setup now offers two modes of installation, Remote Administration (RA) or Application Server (AS). In RA mode, two connections only are made available for administrative purposes. Setting the server for AS mode enables application installation and sharing.

Naturally, Windows 2000 Advanced Server includes all those enhancements, as well as improvements to Cluster Service. Setup of Cluster Service has been simplified and no longer requires a reboot of the server. Also, cluster logging is now enabled by default, and the NetBios SMB protocol is now supported.

Windows 2000 Professional has broader hardware and software support, including DirectX 7 compatibility, as well as many new drivers for video cards such as Voodoo3 and ATI Rage 128, over 40 new drivers for Wireless LAN support, and more than 25 new printer drivers.

Several dialog boxes have been rearranged and reworded for clarity, according to customer request.

Microsoft plans to incorporate customer feedback into release candidates every 5 to 9 weeks until the final version is launched later this calendar year. --Thomas Sullivan

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.